Singapore's new class of super-frigates will boost the country's Navy tonnage by 70%

Singapore is, in many areas, the country of all superlatives, particularly in terms of defense. Indeed, despite a population of only 5,5 million inhabitants, and a country which only covers 733 km2, or 10% more than the surface area of ​​the Territory of Belfort, the Singaporean armies are among the most efficient and powerfully armed in the Indo-Pacific theater. Thus, with a budget of $17 billion per year, or 4% of GDP, the armed forces of the small republic are 71.000 strong, largely conscripts carrying out a 2-year military service, and have a powerful reserve force of more than 350.000 men and women, for a final format superior to that of the French armies and their reservists. In addition to mass, these forces are remarkably equipped, with more than 170 heavy tanks Leopard 2 currently upgraded to the A7 standard, more than 1000 infantry fighting and armored fighting vehicles, more than 2200 armored personnel carriers as well as about fifty Primus armored tracked 155 mm self-propelled guns and 24 Himars systems. The air forces, for their part, field a hundred F-16 and F-15 fighters (12 F-35B in acquisition), but also 4 Awacs G550 systems, 11 A330 MRTT and KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft, as well as around a hundred helicopters including 18 Apache, 26 CH-47 Chinook and 16 H225 Caracal.

The Singapore Navy is not left out, quite the contrary. Its 4000 sailors and officers implement a considerable combat fleet, with 4 Type 218SG attack submarines being delivered, 6 Formidable class frigates derived from the French FLF Lafayette but considerably better armed, 4 assault ships of 8500 tons in load of the Endurance class, 4 mine warfare vessels of the Bedok class, 8 OPV of the Independence class as well as 6 corvettes of the Victory class. It is precisely these last corvettes that the Multi-Role Combat Vessels or MRCV program must replace. But the ships that will enter service at the end of this decade will have nothing to do with the 63-meter, 600-ton light corvettes that they will replace.

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Indeed, the Singaporean MRCVs will be built by ST Engineering on the basis of the Iver Huitfeldt (in main illustration) and Absalon class frigates of the Danish Navy. But if the Danish Iver Huitfeldt air defense frigates are already remarkable with their 136 meters long, 6500 tons of displacement and 56 vertical silos for SM2 and ESSM anti-aircraft missiles, the MRCVs will be more imposing with an announced loaded tonnage of 10.000 tons, better armed and much more versatile than the Danish buildings. So, according to the Naval News website, the buildings will be equipped with the new Thales SeaFire flat-face AESA radar fitted to the Greek and French FDI, as well as Aster 30 and MICA VL surface-to-air missiles, like the Formidable class frigates. Based on the visual illustration provided by ST Engineering, we can see the presence of 8 SYLVER systems on the front deck behind the 127 mm gun, i.e. 64 silos, while the architecture of the Iver Huitfeldt also places vertical silos between the built-in mast and the funnels. In fact, the MRCVs will be very powerful air defense platforms, which are also perfectly interoperable with the 6 Formidable class frigates armed with the same missiles.

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