SINGAPORE – The navies of Singapore and Indonesia worked together to tackle a simulated terrorist threat involving commercial ships in the Singapore Strait on Tuesday (July 23).

This scenario was played out as part of the 25th edition of the Singapore Armed Forces’ longest-running bilateral exercise with a foreign military, Exercise Eagle Indopura. It started on July 18 and will end on Thursday (July 25).

In addition to the maritime security drills, both navies also executed a series of advanced anti-surface and anti-air naval warfare manoeuvres, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday (July 24).

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exercise in Surabaya last Thursday (July 18), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Fleet Commander, Rear-Admiral Aaron Beng, said that both navies need to continue working together to protect the key maritime trade routes between Singapore and Indonesia.

He said that these waters are not just access points for terrorists, but also critical sea lines.

“The RSN and the TNI AL (Indonesian Navy) have a long and deep history of cooperation. I am sure that we will continue to grow and deepen these bilateral interactions in the years to come,” he said.

The exercise was conducted in three phases – the planning and coordination phase in Surabaya, Indonesia; the sea phase in the Java Sea, Karimata and Singapore Straits en route to Singapore and the closing ceremony held on shore in Singapore.

The RSN deployed the Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast, Victory-class missile corvette RSS Vigour, and Independence-class littoral mission vessel RSS Justice for the week-long exercise, which was first held in 1974.

The Indonesian navy participated with a Diponegoro-class frigate KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda, Fatahillah-class missile corvette KRI Fatahillah, and a CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft.

Both navies conduct regular professional exchanges, exercises and port calls, said Mindef. They also collaborate through the multilateral Malacca Straits Patrol, which also includes Thailand and Malaysia.

These regular interactions have enhanced the close ties and mutual understanding between the personnel of both navies, Mindef added.