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IMDEX 2023: Singapore to deploy Blue Spear missile on Formidable class

A model of the Blue Spear missile on display in Singapore. The weapon will soon be deployed on the country's Formidable-class frigates. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will replace the Harpoon surface-to-surface missile (SSM) on its Formidable-class frigates with the Blue Spear SSM.

The weapon will be incorporated as part of the Formidable class' mid-life upgrades (MLUs), said the RSN's Commander First Flotilla, Colonel Ng Kok Yeng Daniel, in a recent wider-ranging interview with Janes to discuss the programme. The interview was provided ahead of the IMDEX 2023 naval exhibition, which took place in Singapore from 3 to 5 May.

Singapore's Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen first disclosed in March 2022 that the RSN's fleet of six Formidable-class frigates, which were commissioned between 2007 and 2009, will undergo an MLU programme.

โ€œAfter the upgrade, the frigates' combat capabilities will increase and [they will] be equipped with better combat management and communications systems [and] upgraded weapon systems, along with improved maintenance processes. Basically, to use less to achieve more,โ€ Ng said then during a parliamentary address.

The Blue Spear SSM is derived from the Gabriel family of sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, which was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in the 1960s and deployed by the RSN in the 1970s.

The missile has a range of about 290 km and has beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) strike capabilities against targets at sea and on land. Its radar seeker, guidance system, and payload are incorporated within a hardened casing to improve its survivability against close-in weapon systems.

The missile is being marketed by Proteus Advanced Systems, the joint venture entity established between IAI and ST Engineering, as a fifth-generation missile that can be deployed in either land-based or naval configurations.

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