A Lesson for RSN from the Royal Navy

The Royal Navy (RN) recently was recently caught with her pants down, when a Russian cruiser parked itself 30 nautical miles of the coast of Scotland, just days before Christmas. Despite having aircraft providing aerial reconnaissance on the vessel, RN deployed her Daring-Class Destroyer, HMS Defender from Portsmouth on a 600 miles journey north to ‘intercept’ the Russian ship. The cruiser patiently waited for 24 hours for the Defender to arrive before setting course back to the Baltic for exercise. This incident is a grim reminder of the cause and effect of recently cuts to the defense budget of UK, and with a shrinking fleet of only 19 surface combatants, RN is reported to ‘unable to defend Britain’. The Royal Navy, has lost its former glory during the Great British Empire.

Full article here

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A naval blockade similar to above can starve a island nation like Britain. Despite wars and conflicts are being won by air, naval ships are extremely instrumental during period of tension, and with its ability to carry out long missions, are excellent for show of presence and in a war of attrition.

Singapore can gain valuable lessons from the example above. As a maritime nation, the sea lanes are the lifelines to the state, and thus the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) not only have to possess sufficient and potent vessels, but the ability to run them as well.

“To be a credible deterrent, you have to be a credible threat”
With her 6 Frigates, 6 Corvettes and 11 Patrol Vessels, the RSN is a potent force in the region, patrolling the Singapore Straits and the island of Pedra Branca. A look out from East Coast Park and it is not hard to see a vessel flying the RSN ensign. Although Chinese Navy’s southern expansion has yet to directly Singapore, RSN daily and more direct ‘threat’ are pirates operating in and out of Indonesia, raiding merchant vessels. The last pirate attack near Singapore occurred in November 2013, 34 miles from Singapore.
Any drastic cut like those in Britain will result in a domino effect on various parts of the SAF, compromising the SAF to fight and operate as a single force. In this case, a shrinking and under manned Navy will render her incapable to extend her presence and deterrent effect. Although Singapore currently does not face any aggressive neighbors and their warships,  act of such sorts or a climb in piracy attacks will choke the Straits and starving the East and West of resources and energy.
Future posts will cover SAF’s prudent policy on equipment procurement. See you soon!
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One thought on “A Lesson for RSN from the Royal Navy

  1. Pingback: Hijackers Please Come After 8am | Coffee and Bullets

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