2. Not only were naval helicopters operating with 1st floatilla frigates to hunt submarines, the Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft also provided wide area surveillance and over the horizon targeting, and this naval exercise in the South China Sea was also supported by F-16 fighters to provide air cover. It’s great to see the LMVs of 2nd floatilla employed for sea control missions in this exercise.
3. In comparison, slightly less effective
Singapore Army Facebook propaganda on unit readiness, when CORVID-19 has clearly affected training cycle.
4. Singapore’s forward defence strategy has now shifted focus to the maritime domain, which automatically means a focus on the Singapore Navy’s bilateral working relationships with the Australian navy, the Brunei navy and the TNI AL. The eventual acquisition of up to 12 F-35Bs in around 2026 to 2028 will enable the 21st Division and its 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade (7 SIB), as an infantry formation specializing in heliborne and amphibious operations, supported by the future Joint-Multi-Mission Ship (JMMS) to operate more like a mini Marine expeditionary brigade (MEB) of the US Marines with its aviation combat element. Details of the JMMS are currently sketchy, but they will reportedly have double the capacity of the current Endurance Class vessels. The 7 SIB comprises of the Army Deployment Force, 1st Guards, 3rd Guards Battalions and a specialist C4I battalion.
5. When Singaporean troops from 7SIB are deployed on the Endurance class LPDs or the near future Multi-Role Combat Vessels (MRCV) to conduct a HADR mission (eg. in Cambodia, the Southern Philippines, or Myanmar) or in an INTERFET style Chapter 7 multinational UN peacemaking operations (see: ‘Strength in Diversity: The Combined Naval Role in Operation STABILISE’) in the Southern Philippines (eg. the 2013 Zamboanga City crisis and the 2017 Battle of Marawi) or in Sabah (eg. the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion) — it is possible that there will be an influence battle for host nation stakeholder influence against possible third party hostility (eg. intra-ASEAN or external hostility), to an UN sanctioned intervention.
6. Supported by Singapore Navy ships from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd flotillas — it is likely that troops from 7SIB is the force of choice to be deployed in a coalition with foreign diplomats, a large contingent of policemen from different countries and international aid workers in a complex situation. The only issue is that the all professional side of the SAF is too small, in size, at only one evergreen battalion that is found in the Army Deployment Force.