The Indian Navy and the Singapore Navy have concluded a week-long bilateral military exercise in the South China Sea, during which they conducted a series of advanced naval warfare drills, including air defence exercises and gunnery live-firings. The Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise 2017 (SIMBEX-17) that concluded yesterday also displayed the maiden participation of Singapore’s F-15SG fighter jets, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement here.
This year’s exercise is the 24th iteration of the annual bilateral exercise held since 1994. Hosted by Singapore, the exercise comprised a shore phase held at renamed ‘RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base’ and a sea phase in the South China Sea. The Singapore Navy deployed two frigates (RSS Formidable, equipped with an S-70B naval helicopter, and RSS Supreme) and a missile corvette (RSS Victory), while the Indian Navy participated with two frigates (INS Sahyadri and INS Shivalik), a corvette (INS Kamorta), an oiler (INS Jyoti) and a P8-I maritime patrol aircraft.
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The drills also saw the inaugural participation of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-15SG fighter aircraft. Aside from the two F-15SG fighter aircraft, the RSAF also deployed two F-16D+ fighter aircraft and a Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft for the exercise.
“During the exercise, the two navies conducted a series of advanced naval warfare serials, including air defence exercises and gunnery live-firings,” the statement said. “The sea phase culminated in a mission-oriented surface action group exercise wherein assets and personnel from the two navies worked together to plan and execute a series of warfare missions,” it added.
Over the years, SIMBEX has grown in scope and complexity, expanding beyond its traditional emphasis on anti-submarine warfare to incorporate elements of maritime security, anti-air and anti-surface warfare.
“SIMBEX has progressed both in scale and complexity over the years – from a serial-based exercise to today’s mission- based exercise incorporating scenarios with threats from surface, underwater and air,” said CO RSS Formidable, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Albert Khoo.
Apart from SIMBEX, the two navies also interact regularly through professional exchange programmes, staff talks and training courses.
Testament to the warm and long-standing defence ties between both countries, INS Sahyadri and INS Kamorta joined in the Singapore Navy’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, participating in both the inaugural Singapore International Maritime Review at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base on May 15, and the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) Asia from May 16 to 18.
Both navies are also exploring new and enhanced areas of cooperation in the maritime domain, the statement said.