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Military Capabilities

Australia, Singapore conduct inaugural MUM-T collaboration at bilateral naval drills

10 October 2018
HMAS Stuart and RSS Vigour at Exercise 'Singaroo' 2018 Source: Singapore Ministry of Defence

Key Points

  • The navies of Australia and Singapore have successfully conducted their first-ever combined manned-unmanned teaming operation involving a helicopter and a UAV
  • The operation underscores the strong level of interoperability and commonality between both services

In a sign of growing interoperability between the two services, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) have successfully carried out their first combined manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations.

The complex manoeuvres, which involved an Australian MH-60R helicopter and a Singaporean ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), were executed out as part of Exercise ‘Singaroo’, a long-running bilateral naval exercise between the two countries.

The MH-60R was deployed from the RAN’s ANZAC-class guided-missile frigate, HMAS Stuart (153), while the UAV was launched from the RSN’s Victory-class corvette, RSS Vigour (92).

Two other ships participating in the exercise were the replenishment tanker HMAS Sirius , and another Victory-class corvette, RSS Valiant (91). The exercise was conducted over several locations off the coast of Darwin in Australia, and in the southern reaches of the South China Sea.

As part of the exercise, Stuart and Vigour were placed against Sirius and Valiant in a simulated over-the-horizon (OTH) naval engagement. The MUM-T operations were conducted to validate Stuart and Vigour’s combined ability to provide localised maritime surveillance and threat identification to both ships.

Other engagements that were carried out during ‘Singaroo’ included naval surface warfare serials, anti-air gunnery firings, communication exercises, and personnel exchanges.

The RSN operates six Victory-class corvettes that have been in service since the early 1990s. The corvettes underwent a service-life extension programme (SLEP) from 2009 to 2014, and enhancements included installation of the Saab Sea Giraffe Agile Multiple Beam (AMB) radar, an improved combat management system, and a launch and recovery system for the ScanEagle.

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