During the late 1990s, the Singapore Navy began the process of selecting replacements for its oldest class of guided-missile patrol craft. Initially, there were to have been eight 1,000-ton trimaran-hulled craft built of glass-reinforced plastic and Kevlar, but the concept evolved into a sextet of 3,200-ton, steel-construction monohulls. Under a contract signed in March 2000, France's DCN launched the first unit, the Formidable, on 7 January 2004 at Lorient; the other five are being built locally by Singapore Technologies Marine at its Benoi yard. In keeping with the Singapore Navy's tradition of inspirational ship names, the other five are being named the Intrepid, Steadfast, Tenacious, Stalwart, and Supreme. All six are to enter operational service between 2007 and 2009. With a ship's company of 71 officers and enlisted and an air group of 15 for their still-to-be-selected shipboard helicopters, the 374-foot ships are powered by four 11,000-brake-horsepower MTU diesels for a maximum speed of 27 knots and a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 25 knots.
By A. D. Baker III, Editor, Combat Fleets of the World