Exercise Singaroo 2020

By Robbin Laird

The exercise is an important bilateral training event that aims to strengthen the relationship, build interoperability and enhance mutual cooperation and understanding between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

It takes place during the Royal Australian Navy’s Regional Presence Deployment 20 (RPD20), which includes multilateral exercises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, demonstrating Australia’s commitment to sustaining strong and positive defence relations with regional nations as well as the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

RPD20 set off in July as a Joint Task Group including more than 1500 personnel aboard five ships – HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Sirius and Arunta.

According to an article published by DEFPOST on September 28, 2020:

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) participated in the bilateral maritime exercise, Exercise Singaroo, from 26 to 28 September 2020.

Inaugurated in 1995, this year marked the 25th anniversary of the exercise.

The exercise was conducted in the waters off Singapore in the southern reaches of the South China Sea, with no physical interactions between the personnel from both navies due to the current COVID-19 situation.

The RSN participated in the exercise with one Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious (71), one Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) RSS Dauntless (21), as well as two Victory-class missile corvettes, RSS Valiant (91) and RSS Valour (89), both embarked with ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and a submarine.

The RAN deployed Hobart-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart (DDG 39) with an embarked MH-60R helicopter, supported by a replenishment oiler HMAS Sirius (O 266). The RAN vessels took part in the three-day exercise as part of the its Regional Presence Deployment (RPD) 2020 mission. The task group was on its way home after the successful completion of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 in Hawaii.

The exercise Singaroo was also be supported by a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and two F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.

During the exercise, both navies conducted various serials, including gunnery firing, manoeuvring drills, underway replenishment, air defence exercises, communication exercises and encounter exercises where the UAVs was deployed to provide surveillance and threat identification.

Highlighting the importance of the exercise in building interoperability between both navies, RSN’s Commander 8th Flotilla, Colonel Ho Jee Kien said, “Exercise Singaroo serves as a useful platform for the RSN and the RAN to carry out high-end training across the air, sea and underwater domains. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the exercise this year, we look forward to many more years of close cooperation and friendship between our two navies.”

Exercise Singaroo is one of many bilateral military interactions between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), underscoring the close and long-standing defence relations between Singapore and Australia. In addition to bilateral and multilateral exercises, both armed forces also interact frequently through high-level visits, regular dialogues, professional exchanges and the cross-attendance of courses.