A submarine with a Lt. Col. for a CO? So the SAF has ranks similar to the all-service ranks the Canadian Armed Forces had in the first few years after the 1968 unification?
New Sub Enhances Stealth, Endurance Capabilities of the RSN
(Source: Singapore Ministry of Defence; issued June 17, 2009)
Two years of training and hard work paid off for 28 submariners from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) as they proudly witnessed the launch of their new vessel RSS Archer at K o c kums Shipyard in Karlsrona, Sweden, on 16 June.
The first of two Vaastagotland-class submarines acquired from the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) in 2005, the range and reach of the RSS Archer has been extended with a modern suite of combat and sensor systems, which allows it to detect and engage targets from greater distances.
In addition, the submarine is equipped with an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system which enables it to stay safely submerged for longer periods. Not only does this improve its endurance, the boat's stealth capabilities are also enhanced; the risk of detection is significantly reduced as it does not need to surface for air as frequently as compared to other conventional submarines.
The navy has also worked closely with the Defence Science & Technology Agency to refurbish and convert the Archer-class submarines for local operations in Singapore's tropical waters.
In his opening address at the launching ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean noted that the launch of the RSS Archer is a further development of the RSN's submarine capabilities, enhancing the navy's key mission in defending Singapore's sea lines of communication.
"The Archer-class submarines, integrated with our six stealth frigates and soon-to-be-delivered naval helicopters, will allow the navy to undertake more complex and sophisticated operations to help maintain regional peace and stability, and secure the vital sea routes through our region," he said.
Comprising a mix of personnel who are freshly-trained submariners as well as experienced ones who had previously served on the RSN's Challenger-class submarines, which are also of Swedish origin, the crew found themselves better prepared and able to adapt to this new class of submarines with greater speed and ease.
Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Jack Nyeo, Commanding Officer of RSS Archer, attributed this success to the quality of dedicated and professional sailors under him, as well as the strong rapport between the RSN and their Swedish counterparts.
The RSwN have more than 100 years of experience in submarine operations and also conducted training for the pioneer batches of submariners from Singapore in 1996.
In fact, due to the intensive training and sea sorties which the crew underwent back home with the Challenger-class submarines, their overseas training stint this time round was reduced from the previous time-span of three years to two, despite the higher training tempo and greater complexity of systems on board this new class of submarines.
"In the past, we had no prior knowledge of submarine systems, so we had to learn and understand the purpose and configuration of every system from scratch," explained Chief Engineer, Second Warrant Officer (2WO) Elangkanan Ramasamy.
"Now, having built up our fundamental skills and knowledge with the Challenger-class submarines, we were able to better focus on gaining more in-depth knowledge about these highly automated new class of submarines, which have more complicated and interconnected systems."
Commenting on the quick progress of the crew, Lieutenant Commander Per-Erik Nystrom, the project director of the submarine training programme, said: "All the students from Singapore are extremely motivated, and I think the Swedish instructors were very stimulated to work together with them."
"Many of the crew were already submariners when they arrived in Sweden, so they were able to pick things up faster," he added.
With the launch of the RSS Archer, the crew now looks forward to the future operationalisation of the submarine, which is expected to enter service at the end of 2010.
"Moving ahead, the challenge is to continue with the pace of progress, with the crew playing a more significant role getting the submarine ready for sea trials," said LTC Nyeo.
Chief Sonar Specialist, Master Sergeant (MSG) Eric Chua shared the same sentiments, saying: "To us, training is never over, even more so now that RSS Archer has been launched."
"We have to constantly keep ourselves in line with the changes and new upgrades, to ensure the smooth conduct and completion of sea trials so as to deliver the boat back to Singapore on time."
Fact Sheet: RSN's Archer-Class Submarines
The Archer-class submarines (ex-Royal Swedish Navy's Vaastergotland-class submarines) were designed and built by the Swedish company, K o c kums AB, as single-hull, double compartment submarines optimised to reduce noise and magnetic signature. The two pressure-tight compartments also enhance safety and survivability of the crew.
The submarines were designed to operate in the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea and are therefore also optimised for operation in Singapore waters, which have similar depth profiles. Working closely with the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), the RSN adapted the Archer-class submarines to suit local operating conditions and also upgraded them to include advanced combat and sensor systems.
The Archer-class submarines are equipped with an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which enables the submarines to have longer submerged endurance and lower noise signature. This enhances the submarines' stealth capability. The advanced sonar system allows the submarines to detect contacts at a further distance, while the torpedo system has a better target acquisition capability, which allows the submarines to engage contacts at a further range.
The crew of the Archer-class submarines has undergone two key phases of training with the RSwN. The first is the Key Personnel Training Phase, where they mastered individual vocational skills. This was followed by the Team Training Phase, where they operated as a composite crew (comprising RSwN submariners) to do mission-oriented training. To further hone their skills, submarine rescue exercises, comprising both sea training and simulator sessions, were also conducted for the crew.
RSS Archer will be undergoing sea trials following its launch and is expected to return to Singapore in 2010.
-- Length: 60.5 metres
-- Beam: 6.1 metres
-- Height: 11.8 metres
-- Draught: 5.6 metres
-- Displacement: 1,400 tonnes (surfaced); 1,500 tonnes (submerged)
-- Speed: 8 knots (surfaced); >15 knots (submerged)
-- Armament: 9 Torpedo Tubes
*Active and Passive Sonars
*Command and Weapon Control System
*Radar and Electronic Warfare Surveillance Measures
*Integrated Navigation System
*Air Independent Propulsion System
-- Complement: 28 crew
RSS Archer is one of two ex-Swedish Navy Vaastergotland-class submarines acquired by Singapore in 2005 and comprehensively upgraded, to include air-independent propulsion. (Singapore MoD photo)