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ST Engineering receives contract for Formidable-class mid-life upgrades

The Formidable-class frigate, RSS Steadfast , is seen here in the Singapore Strait. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Singapore's ST Engineering Marine has received a contract to undertake a part of the mid-life upgrade (MLU) work that will be carried out on the country's Formidable-class frigates.

ST Engineering Marine is a subsidiary of ST Engineering. Under the contract, the company will design and engineer the class' new marine and electrical systems. These include the frigate's ship management and power generation systems, ST Engineering said in a media release on 14 December.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) operates a fleet of six Formidable-class frigates that were commissioned between 2007 and 2009. The warship derives its design from the French Navy's La Fayette class and displaces about 3,200 tonnes each.

Singapore's intention to upgrade its Formidable-class frigates was first disclosed by the country's Minister of Defence, Ng Eng Hen, during a March 2022 parliamentary session. Scant details were provided then, but Ng described the MLU as one that would enhance the combat systems and maintenance processes.

Subsequently in an interview with Janes in May 2023, the RSN's Commander First Flotilla, Colonel Ng Kok Yeng Daniel, revealed that the MLU would focus on three key areas – combat capabilities, command-and-control (C2) systems, and engineering readiness.

A highlight of the MLU is the replacement of the frigates' Harpoon surface-to-surface missile (SSM) with the Blue Spear SSM. This upgrade would improve the Formidable class' overall strike capabilities, given the Blue Spear's longer range of 290 km and improved targeting capabilities.

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