In a significant development for Singapore’s naval capabilities, ST Engineering has secured an estimated $1.2bn deal to build multirole combat vessels for the Singapore Navy. The new multirole combat vessels are expected to replace the Republic of Singapore Navy’s existing Victory-class missile corvettes (MCVs), which have served since 1989.

The deal will see the Singaporean engineering and technology group, ST Engineering, design, build, and deliver six vessels by 2028 for the Singaporean Ministry of Defence. The ships will be designed to perform a range of missions, including maritime security, search and rescue, and naval combat operations.

The group has a long history of working with the Singapore Navy, delivering several significant projects. Singapore Technologies Engineering is also looking to grow its passenger-to-freighter (P2F) business as a demand cargo capacity business.

Modernisation allowing Singapore to lead security efforts

According to GlobalData’s “Singapore Defense Market 2022-2027” report, Singapore’s efforts to modernise its military are expected to drive defence expenditure over the forecast period, as Singapore has plans to complete the modernisation of its armed forces by 2024. 

The military modernisation program aims to make the Singaporean forces more efficient and fully integrate them with modern military structures. The primary aim of the modernisation program is to safeguard the country’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against any threat. 

Akash Pratim Debbarma, defence analyst at GlobalData, said: “The ships are estimated to cost around $200m each. In addition to bolstering Singapore’s navy, the programme to build these MRCVs will also help the country’s local defence sector and gain potential for exports to numerous Asia-Pacific countries.”

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The Singapore Navy, for its part, is excited about the new vessels and what they will bring to its operations. Speaking about the deal, ST Engineering marine business president Ng Sing Chan said: “This contract affirms our capabilities to design and build large and complex naval vessels.

“The new MRCV will harness the ‘multiplier effect’ of digital technologies to meet the RSN’s requirements for faster, more efficient operations. It also demonstrates our commitment to support MINDEF in the areas of design, construction, operations and support.”

Debbharma continued: “While ST Engineering will be responsible for building the MRCVs, Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Sweden’s Saab will collaborate in designing the vessels by utilising technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics

With this partnership with Saab, the DSTA engineers and scholars will have the chance to enhance their technical knowledge, which will help in indigenously developing the capabilities in the industry to undertake the repair of composite structures for ships and radar overhaul.”

With the new vessels, Singapore will be better equipped to defend itself against potential threats and better positioned to lead regional security efforts.