All the eight littoral mission vessels became operational by January 2020. Credit: Government of Singapore.
Independence-class littoral mission vessels were built by ST Marine. Credit: Government of Singapore.
The eight LMV, RSS Fearless, was launched in January 2019. Credit: Government of Singapore.
The LMVs replaced the ageing Fearless-class patrol vessels. Credit: Government of Singapore.

The Independence-class littoral mission vessels (LMVs) were built by Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine) Benoi shipyard for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

Eight LMVs replaced the ageing Fearless-class patrol vessels of the RSN by 2020.

The LMVs can be primarily used in coastal security, maritime patrol and surveillance missions, as well as in secondary roles, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and search-and-rescue (SAR).

Littoral mission vessel development

LMV is a joint development between ST Marine and Saab Kockums. The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) is responsible for the overall project management and systems integration for the LMV programme.

ST Marine, a division of Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering), received a contract from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) to design and build eight LMVs for the RSN in January 2013.

The keel for the first vessel in class, RSS Independence, was laid down in September 2014. The vessel was launched in July 2015 and handed over to the RSN in May 2016. It was commissioned in May 2017.

The keel for the second LMV, RSS Sovereignty, was laid in May 2015 and the vessel was launched in April 2016. The launching ceremony of the third LMV, RSS Unity, was held in October 2016. Both RSS Sovereignty and RSS Unity were commissioned by RSN in November 2017.

RSS Justice, the fourth vessel, was launched in March 2017 and delivered in October 2017. The fifth and sixth LMVs, RSS Indomitable and RSS Fortitude were launched in September 2017 and March 2018 respectively. RSS Indomitable was commissioned in September 2018. The keels for the seventh and eighth LMVs, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless, were laid in October 2017 and April 2018 respectively. The last three vessels became operational in January 2020.

LMV design and features

The innovative design of the LMV enables the operation of the large-sized vessel with a small crew size. The ship incorporates a modular mission concept, which allows the integration of a range of mission modules to meet the mission-specific requirements.

The versatile vessel can be rapidly configured to carry rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), boarding teams and a helicopter to conduct maritime security operations. The configuration of the medical modules allows the vessel to support humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as SAR missions. The ships can also carry unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for conducting surveillance and mine countermeasure missions.

Independence LMV has a length of 80m, a beam of 12m, a draught of 3m, and displacement of 1,250t. It complements a standard crew of 23.

Weapon systems aboard Independence-class

The LMVs are equipped with both lethal and non-lethal weapons, including MBDA MICA anti-air missile system, Oto Melara 76mm main gun, Rafael 25mm Typhoon gun, Oto Melara 12.7mm Hitrole gun and long-range acoustics device (LRAD). The vertical-launched (VL) MICA multi-mission missile system protects the ship from aircraft and incoming missiles.

“The LMVs can be primarily used in coastal security, maritime patrol and surveillance missions.”

Sagem received a contract from the DSTA of Singapore in May 2013 to supply a new gunfire control system (GFCS) for eight LMVs.

The new centralised GFCS at the vessel’s control centre is interfaced with main and secondary guns, radar, optoelectronics and navigation systems. The system’s open architecture allows integration with the combat management system and support future upgrades.

Sensors and radars

Thales NS100 three-dimensional surveillance radar and Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye navigation radar on-board the vessel allows the detection of surface targets in the jam-packed environment.

STELOP 360° panoramic day and night camera package installed on the vessel integrates an all-round surveillance system and STELOP Compass D electro-optic directors for identifying targets.

Independence-class propulsion

Independence-class LMVs are powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system integrating two MTU 20V 4000 M93L diesel engines. Each engine develops a maximum power output of 4,300kW (5,770shp). The propulsion ensures high-manoeuvrability in confined and congested littoral waters.

LMV has a speed in excess of 27k and range of 3,500nmi. The maximum endurance of the ship is 14 days.