Following the announcement of the new contract signed between Singapore and ST Engineering to build multirole combat vessels, Akash Pratim Debbarma, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, offered his view:
“The contract is part of the modernisation of the Armed Forces of Singapore to secure its maritime boundaries and sovereignty. The country plans to replace its current Victory-class Missile Corvettes (MCVs) with new Multi-Role Combat Vessels (MRCVs) for its navy. The ships are estimated to cost around $200 million each. In addition to bolstering Singapore’s navy, the program to build these MRCVs will also help the country’s local defence sector and gain potential for exports to numerous Asia-Pacific countries.
“While ST Engineering will be responsible for building the MRCVs, Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Sweden’s Saab will collaborate in designing the vessels by utilising technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics. With this partnership with Saab, the DSTA engineers and scholars will have the chance to enhance their technical knowledge, which will help in indigenously developing the capabilities in the industry to undertake the repair of composite structures for ships and radar overhaul.
“Over the years, Singapore has focused on developing its domestic defence industry to reduce dependency on foreign companies. Yet, the nation has kept up its attempts to work with foreign businesses and develop in terms of knowledge, technological transfer, and utilisation of digitalisation.
“Singapore’s desire to jointly develop innovative solutions for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is demonstrated by the DSTA’s collaboration agreements with US Lockheed Martin in 2023 and with French Thales in 2022. The engagement with these companies will hasten the development of its domestic defence sector and ensure that the SAF can create technologies with shorter lead times, local expertise, and speedier troop support.”