INS Kulish firing SS-N-25 Zvezda anti-ship missile - Representation

The navies of India and Singapore have concluded a series of complex naval drills at ‘SIMBEX’. The exercise, which has been growing in scope and complexity, is a sign of growing naval relations between the two countries

by Ridzwan Rahmat

In a demonstration of closer interoperability between the two services, the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) have concluded a series of complex naval drills, which included combined firings of anti-air missiles from ships of the respective services.

The operation, which involved the firing of an Aster anti-air missile from the RSN’s Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast and a Barak missile from the Indian Navy’s Shivalik-class frigate INS Satpura , were held as part of ‘SIMBEX’ 2018, held from 10 to 21 November in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

The exercise involved the participation of about 30 assets from India and Singapore, and has been growing in scope and complexity since it began in 1994.

Besides Steadfast and Sapura , other participating assets at ‘SIMBEX’ 2018 include the RSN’s Archer-class submarine RSS Swordsman and an Indian Navy P-8I maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

“This exercise has been hugely successful … the fact that our missiles have hit their targets gives us great confidence and this interoperability, this ability to work with one another and to learn from one another, is valuable,” said Singapore’s defence minister Ng Eng Hen in an official statement on the drills.

“Singapore is very supportive of India’s vital security of the Indo-Pacific region and we share common security interests geographically, that is the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea, which is really a continuous body of water that is a critical sea line of communication,” he added in a separate statement.

Besides the combined firings on anti-air missiles, other drills that were conducted as part of ‘SIMBEX’ 2018 include anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) operations.