The first of eight new littoral mission vessels (LMVs) has entered service in Singapore. The Independence-class LMVs, not to be confused with the U.S. Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ships, were custom designed and built in Singapore to fulfill its unique maritime requirements. The class is modular and reconfigurable, permitting a wide array of naval missions. Displacing 1,250 tons, Singapore’s Independence-class measures 262 feet long with a beam of 39 feet and operates with a crew of 23 personnel. The ships are fitted with a helicopter landing deck, short-range Mica surface-to-air missiles, a three-inch gun, and an array of nonlethal weapons, such as a long-range acoustic device and a water cannon system. All eight LMVs are due to enter service by the end of 2020. RSS Independence, commissioned in Singapore on 5 May 2017 and pictured here, is the first of the class. The second and third units were launched in 2016, and the fourth and fifth LMVs were launched in March and September 2017.
By Eric Wertheim