American Littoral Combat Ship to set sail to Singapore mid-April

In late February 2013, after months of speculation, a definitive timeline for the US Navy’s newest combat ship – the littoral combat ship – to be deployed overseas was unveiled at a press conference. Singapore would be the base for the LCS.

Ever since the former American defense secretary Robert Gates announced in 2011 that these ships would be based out of Singapore. His announcement came at a time where tensions between China and its neighours were rising over disputed claims of islands in the South China Sea.

The translated article and its original in Mandarin Chinese:

American Littoral Combat Ship to set sail to Singapore mid-April

Plans to deploy the United States Navy’s littoral combat ships to Singapore have finally materialised.

USS Freedom, the first littoral combat ship (LCS) to be constructed, will set sail tomorrow from San Diego, and will arrive in Singapore mid-April. This will be the first operational deployment for the American Navy’s LCS.

Freedom will also take part in the defence maritime show IMDEX Asia, in May.

During its time in Singapore, Freedom will also take part in naval exercises with regional navies.

Director of Navy Staff Vice Admiral Richard Hunt announced plans for Freedom’s deployment in a press conference held in San Diego about a week ago.

The warship would depart March 1 from San Diego for Singapore’s Changi Naval Base to commence its ten-month long deployment, stopping by Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Guam en route.

In response to Lianhe Zaobao’s queries, a spokesperson from Singapore’s Defence Ministry said, “The LCS will not be based or homeported in Singapore. The amount of time that each LCS will spend in Singapore during each port call will vary, as we expect the LCS to call into and out of Singapore on a regular basis when they are deployed here.”

The spokesperson also added that Singapore will provide logistical support to the LCS while it is at Changi Naval Base.

Lianhe Zaobao understands that the US Navy will be issuing a press release later today detailing Freedom’s deployment.

The US Navy announced in 2001 that it would start construction of the LCS to replace its ageing frigate fleet. Freedom was the first LCS to be constructed. It entered the naval fleet in 2008.

The light-bodied LCS can operate in shallow waters, reaching speeds of up to 40 knots. It is capable of being affixed with different modules to conduct anti-submarine, anti-mine or anti-surface warfare.

Lianhe Zaobao also understands that Freedom will be taking part in the multi-national Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise (CARAT) during its deployment.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that the US was planning on deploying LCS to Singapore to enhance regional security.

美近海战舰 4 月中抵新部署
孙伟伦报道
soonwl@sph.com.sg

美国海军的近海战舰在我国部署的安排终于明朗化,首艘近海战舰“自由号”明天从加利福尼亚州圣迭戈起航,预计在 4 月中旬抵新,为美军最新一款战舰首次进行实地部署。

自由号(USS Freedom)也将在 5 月中旬于樟宜展览中心举行的亚洲国际海防展览及会议(IMDEX Asia)上亮相,展示近海战舰(littoral combat ship,简称 LCS)作战能力。自由号在新期间也将同本区域其他国家海军部队进行演习。

美国海军总参谋长亨特海军中将(Vice Admiral Richard Hunt)一周前在圣迭戈(San Diego)召开记者会,公布自由号起航后的部署安排。战舰 3 月 1 日离开圣迭戈后将途经夏威夷珍珠港和关岛,然后到新加坡,在我国展开十个月的部署。

不会以新加坡为基地

我国国防部回答本报询问说:“近海战舰将不会以新加坡为基地。我们相信战舰在新加坡时,将会定期进出军港,每次停靠我国的时间不定。”国防部也表示,军舰停靠樟宜军港时,我军将协助提供美军物流与补给服务。

据本报了解,美国海军将在今天发布文告,公布自由号在我国部署的详情。

美国海军在 2001 年宣布建造近海战舰,以取代老旧的护卫舰队。自由号是首艘建成的近海战舰,2008 年加入美国海军舰队。自由号在新加坡将是它首次进行实地部署。

近海战舰优点就是体型轻盈,能够在靠近岸边的海域行动,速度可达 40 节(时速 74 公里)。它也可以安装不同的作战组件,可按照作战需求,执行反潜、反水雷、反水面舰艇任务。

据本报了解,自由号将与多国军舰通过“联合备战与训练”(Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise,简称 CARAT)进行演习。

美国前国防部长盖茨曾在 2011 年的“香格里拉对话”上透露,美国打算在新加坡部署近海战舰,参与维护区域安全。


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