SINGAPORE – Off the coast of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, Singapore frigate RSS Formidable fired a surface-to-air missile to intercept a low, high-speed and observable aerial target flying at a distance.

The Aster missile was fired for the first time in Exercise Pacific Griffin, a bilateral exercise between the Singapore and US navies.

A Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement on Wednesday (Oct 2) said the bilateral exercise is being held in Guam Naval Base and in the waters off Guam. It began on Sept 24 and will end on Oct 11.

First conducted in 2017, Exercise Pacific Griffin highlights the strong navy-to-navy relations between Singapore and the US, as well as the excellent and longstanding bilateral defence relations between both countries, said Mindef.

During the exercise, another frigate, RSS Intrepid, fired a Harpoon anti-ship missile against a target, a decommissioned United States Navy (USN) warship. A Sikorsky Seahawk naval helicopter from the Republic of Singapore (RSN) will also be firing a torpedo to neutralise an underwater threat.

The exercise involves the two RSN frigates, and the United States Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords, destroyer USS Momsen, auxiliary ship USNS Amelia Earhart, and a Los Angeles-class submarine.

Supporting air assets from the USN include the P-8 Poseidon aircraft and Hawker Hunter fighter jets. Two Republic of Singapore Air Force Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopters embarked on the two Singapore frigates are also involved.


Colonel Lim Yu Chuan (left) of the Singapore navy and Captain Matthew J. Jerbi of the US navy at the opening ceremony of Exercise Pacific Griffin 2019. PHOTO: MINDEF

RSN’s Commander of First Flotilla, Colonel Lim Yu Chuan, said in the Mindef statement that the exercise is a valuable platform for the two navies to strengthen mutual cooperation and inter-operability.

“With the vast training space in the waters off Guam, the exercise also provides the RSN with the opportunity to conduct high-end exercises of substantial scope and complexity,” added the commanding officer of 185 Squadron.

Commodore of the USN’s Destroyer Squadron 7, Captain Matthew J. Jerbi, said that the exercise provides important opportunities for realistic at-sea training with live ordnance, conditions that cannot be duplicated otherwise.

“Training alongside our Singapore partners in a complex exercise like this is invaluable,” he added.

Mindef said that the vast training space in the waters off Guam provides the RSN with the opportunity to conduct exercises of substantial scope and complexity.

This includes the conduct of advanced naval warfare with the USN such as anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare.

Mindef added that apart from bilateral exercises, both navies also engage in a wide range of activities, including professional exchanges, cross-attendance of courses and participation in multilateral exercises.