Military Capabilities

Singapore enhances complexity of major maritime security exercise amid terror threat level

26 October 2017
Vessels from Singapore's Police Coast Guard interdicting a suspicious vessel while the Republic of Singapore Navy's first-of-class Littoral Mission Vessel provides support in the background at Exercise 'Highcrest' 2017. Source: IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat

Key Points

  • Singapore has enhanced the complexity of a major biennial maritime security exercise
  • Exercise tests ability of navy, coastguard to work with new land-based response elements in the event of a terror attack

Amid facing its highest terrorism threat level in recent years, Singapore has enhanced the complexity of an inter-agency maritime security exercise by including a land-based response element.

The biennial series of drills, which are known collectively as Exercise ‘Highcrest’, typically involves maritime security agencies such as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), and the Police Coast Guard (PCG). However, the 2017 iteration, a newly established PCG unit known as the Coastal Hardening Strike Force (CHSF) was included to test its interoperability with Singapore’s at-sea agencies.

Among scenarios tested at Exercise ‘Highcrest’ 2017 included a small craft infiltration operation, which was referenced after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which some of the perpetrators arrived by sea.

Working in co-ordination with the Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre (SMCC) and a network of coastal sensors, the RSN, the PCG, and its CHSF unit, were tested in their ability to collaboratively identify, interdict, and predict the perpetrator’s probable landing spots.

Deployed for these operations were the RSN’s first-of-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) RSS Independence , a PCG 19 m patrol interdiction boat (PIB), and a couple of 14 m interception craft.

Exercise ‘Highcrest’ 2017 took place from 19 to 26 October in the Strait of Singapore, involved about 300 personnel from 14 Singapore government agencies including the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Singapore Customs (SC), and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

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