Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine), part of Singapore Technologies Engineering, built 12 Fearless Class patrol vessels for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The RSN awarded the contract to ST Marine in February 1993 and the first of the Fearless Class patrol craft was commissioned in October 1996. The final vessel of the class was commissioned in August 1998.
In January 2003, the third vessel of the class, RSS Courageous, was badly damaged in a collision with a container ship in the Singapore Straits. Four crewmembers lost their lives when part of the aft section of the vessel was sheared off.
The first six vessels of the class: Fearless (94), Brave (95), Courageous (96), Gallant (97), Resilience (98) and Unity (99), are armed for anti-submarine warfare missions. The remaining six vessels: Resilience (82), Unity (83), Sovereignty (84), Justice (85), Freedom (86) and Independence (87) are patrol vessels.
The 55m patrol vessel has a steel monohull with a round bilge semi-displacement hull, incorporating very fine V-shaped frames in the forward sections. The superstructure is constructed in marine grade light alloy. The design of the vessel allows the layout to be reconfigured to accept a range of sensors and weapons systems to meet the evolving operational requirements of the armed forces of the customer countries.
The first six vessels are armed with triple tube 324mm B515 torpedoes launchers from Whitehead Alenia. The torpedoes are the A244S also supplied by Whitehead Alenia.
The air defence system is the Simbad twin missile launcher for the Mistral surface-to-air missile, supplied by MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics, France). The Simbad launcher is installed on the stern deck. Mistral provides short-range air defence against hostile fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and against incoming anti-ship missiles. The target range is from 0.5 to 5km. Mistral has an infrared seeker, a speed of Mach 2.6 and is armed with a 3kg warhead.
The second six vessels are configured for anti-surface warfare. They were to be fitted with the Gabriel II short to medium range anti-ship missile supplied by IAI, but this project was abandoned. Gabriel II uses dual-mode semi-active and active radar homing and is armed with a 100kg warhead. The range is from 6km to 36km and the missile velocity is Mach 0.6.
The patrol vessel’s main gun, installed on the bow deck, is the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapide. The gun fires 6kg shells to a range of 16km and is capable of a firing rate of 120 rounds a minute. The patrol vessels are also armed with four CIS 50 12.7mm general-purpose machine guns.
The Shield III decoy launchers, supplied by BAE Systems, carry three rocket modules fixed at an elevation angle of 30°. The launchers can be armed with a range of decoy rounds including P8 chaff rockets. The chaff is launched in distraction or seduction mode to ranges from 50m to 2km.
The vessel’s radar warning receiver is the NS 9010C, supplied by Elisra based in Bene Beraq, Israel. The NS 9010C radar warning receiver performs rapid detection and analysis of hostile radar transmissions and features instantaneous frequency measurement (IFM), instantaneous direction finding (IDF) and threat analysis.
The vessels are fitted with the MSIS optronic director, which provides fire control for the Super Rapide gun. MSIS is supplied by El-Op of Israel and includes long-wave thermal imager, Tv camera and laser rangefinder / designator.
Surface search and fire control radar is the EL/M-2228(X) radar which operates in E and F bands and is supplied by Elta Electronics Industries, based in Ashod, Israel. EL/M-2228(X) is a surveillance and gunnery radar capable of providing pulse doppler radar search and threat alert at X band. The radar provides simultaneous detection of air and surface search targets and operates in track while scan mode and in splash spotting while scanning. The vessels also have an I band navigation radar.
The first six ASW vessels are fitted with Thales Underwater Systems TSM 2362 Gudgeon hull-mounted medium frequency active sonar.
The patrol vessel is powered by two MTU 12V 595 TE 90 diesel engines coupled to ZF gear boxes. It is equipped with an MTU ship control monitoring and management system (SCMMS).
In a departure from traditional conventional drives, the patrol vessel is fitted with twin waterjet systems developed by KaMeWa of Sweden, offering increased manoeuvrability throughout the vessel’s entire speed range and the ability to operate in shallow waters.