SIMBEX 2009: 16th Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise

by OldSailor on March 30, 2009

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The 16th annual Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX 2009) is going on from March 24. The exercise is in progress in Andaman Sea and South China Sea and is expected to conclude on April 02.

Press release from Press Information Bureau is below:

The 2009 edition of the ‘SIMBEX’ Series of annual bilateral naval exercises between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN),   indian_navy_3 commenced in the Andaman Sea on 24 Mar 09. As a part of this exercise units will also exercise in the South China Sea until 02 April 2009.

SIMBEX is an acronym for ‘Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise’. It stands upon an enduring foundation of bilateral naval cooperation that was formalised a decade-and-a-half ago, when RSN ships began training in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) with the Indian Navy, in 1994. Over the years, the exercises have reflected the growth in strength, capability, and mutual-confidence of both navies. As such, they have graduated from purely training-oriented ASW exercises to complex multi-dimensional exercises, involving multiple facets of operations at sea. Over the years, successive editions of SIMBEX have incorporated a wide range of sea-going serials, ranging from platform-specific exercises in Damage Control and Fire-fighting, through ‘Visit, Board, Search and Seizure’ procedures in support of ‘Low Intensity Maritime Operations’ and the countering of asymmetric threats, all the way up to advanced multi-threat scenarios, involving surface, sub-surface and airborne combatants, inclusive of weapon-firing serials.

This year’s exercise will be the sixteenth in the series and the operational relationship between the RSN and the IN has matured to a point where Standard Operating Procedures are well in place on both sides. As a result, a very substantive measure of interoperability has been achieved.

While the Indian Navy has consolidated and significantly improved its blue-water capability over the years — very much an ongoing process — the growth of the RSN and the acceleration of both, capacity and capability, has been truly breathtaking in its speed and comprehensiveness. Not only is this true in terms of platforms and hardware (although this is very notable in itself), but it is equally so in terms of soft-skills, human-resource development, and, the generation of ‘planning’ as well as ‘war-fighting’ doctrines. The RSN today operates a number of very impressive, state-of-the-art, major combatants, including, but not limited to its six brand new and very aptly-named frigates of the Formidable Class. These, along with the RSN’s holdings of the very capable six Guided-missile Corvettes of the Victory Class and her four medium-size LPDs of the Endurance Class, bring the RSN into an altogether different class.

For SIMBEX-2009, the Indian Navy will field units of its Eastern Fleet, which are currently on a South-East and East Asian deployment, bound for the Chinese port-city of ‘Qingdao’ in the Yellow Sea, where they will participate in China’s first International Fleet Review. Both navies will, as usual, field frontline surface and sub-surface combatants for the SIMBEX. This will be in addition to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from both sides.

SIMBEX is an important manifestation of the process of constructive engagement embraced by both countries and both navies firmly believe that therepublic_of_singapore_navy SIMBEX series yields significant advantages. The operating areas of successive editions of exercises of the SIMBEX series are alternated annually between India and Singapore. This process of alternating the exercise-area provides very significant and additional operational advantages. Since the waters of each region of the world differ in their physical characteristics — such as temperature gradients, pressure-gradients, salinity-levels, etc, — different water-columns offer varying degrees of advantage or disadvantage to platforms and sensors that either exploit or operate within these varied water-columns. Consequently, operating in different environments allows operators and maintainers to gain invaluable experience of the effect and impact of variations that might otherwise have been denied to them, were they to have remained confined to a single geographical area. Then again, the geographic conformation of each littoral region imposes its own imperatives upon the conduct of all maritime operations, such as search, classification, tracking, surveillance, etcetera, and this variation in what we might call the ‘maritime terrain’, often produces quite unexpected results. Practising in these varied ‘maritime terrains’ greatly enhances the skills and capabilities of the operators of both navies and is of enormous training value.

The planning process of each successive edition of SIMBEX begins with a detailed analysis of the previous edition, which is subjected to lively and frank discussions. Lessons learnt and best-practices to be imbibed are exchanged in subsequent exercises. SIMBEX is, therefore, an important outflow of this comprehensive process of bilateral engagement within the maritime domain. Perhaps its most important facet is that successive editions of SIMBEX have enabled the putting-in-place of a host of interpersonal connectivities by multiple generations of naval personnel of both India and Singapore — connectivities that involve people, platforms, systems, and organisational processes. It is these several connectivities which, when taken in aggregate, have created — and continue to reinforce — the strong maritime bridges of friendship that connect our respective nations.

View some interesting video clips:

Stealth Frigate of Republic of Singapore Navy.

Indian Navy

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Ship Simulator 2008: Is it a Game or Tutor ?

Update: April 03

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) participated in this year’s SIMBEX with two missile corvettes, a frigate and a submarine. The Indian Navy deployed two destroyers, a corvette and an oil tanker. Read more and view photographs from MINDEF, Singapore.

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