The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has conducted the first integrated maritime helicopter missions onboard its frigates during a joint naval exercise with US Navy in waters off California.

During the exercise, the Sikorsky Seahawk helicopter, fully integrated with sonars and surveillance radars, was deployed to detect and destroy targets underwater as well as in the air, according to

Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said the helicopter enabled the ship-and-helicopter platform to dominate a much greater area of sea and air space, above and below the surface, than is possible with just a ship or aircraft.

The navy said it would establish a Seahawk squadron by the end of 2010.

The Seahawk helicopter cruises at a speed five times that of the frigate, enabling the ship to extend its range by approximately 200km.