India, Singapore to mark 25 years of SIMBEX with military drills

Indian Navy

New Delhi, Nov 9 :India and Singapore have planned “unprecedented” military drills during SIMBEX (Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise) to be undertaken between November 10-21 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal as the joint drill completes 25 years.

A Defence Ministry release said that SIMBEX 2018 will be the “largest since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity”.

The initial harbour phase will be held at Port Blair from November 10 to 12 followed by Sea Phase in the Andaman Sea.

The second harbour phase from November 16 to 19 will be held at Visakhapatnam.

The final sea phase would be held in the Bay of Bengal from November 19 to 21. High-level delegations, including respective Defence Ministries, are also scheduled to observe the exercises including advanced weapon firings, marking a new high in the series.

“The 25th edition will witness a diverse range of exercises at sea ranging from live weapon drills including multiple missile firings, Heavy Weight Torpedo (HWT) and medium range gun/ anti-submarine rocket firings; advanced anti-submarine warfare exercises, submarine rescue demonstrations; integrated surface and anti-air warfare (AAW); Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations and cross deck helicopter flying among others,” the release said.

“The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken are in fact unprecedented and perhaps the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign Navy. This year would also witness the highest numbers and variety of platforms fielded by both sides,” it added.

A Silver Jubilee Commemoration Ceremony, various professional and training interactions, 10 km ‘Friendship Run’ during the Annual Vizag-Navy Marathon, social evening and joint cultural programmes would be held during the harbour phases to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

The Indian Navy will be represented by the Ranvir class destroyer, INS Ranvijay; two Project 17 multi-role stealth frigates – INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri; the Project 28 ASW corvette INS Kadmatt; Project 25A missile corvettes, INS Kirch; Fleet Support Ship INS Shakti; a Sindhughosh Class submarine, INS Sindhukirti; the P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol and ASW aircraft; Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol aircraft; Mk 132 Hawk AJTs and integral helicopters such as the UH3H, Seaking 42 B, Seaking 42C and Chetak utility helicopters.

The Singapore Navy will be represented by two Formidable Class stealth frigates, RSS Formidable and RSS Steadfast; one Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Unity; two Missile Corvettes, RSS Vigour and RSS Valiant; an Archer class Submarine, RSS Swordsman; a Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle (DSRV); a Fokker F50 maritime reconnaissance aircraft; embarked S70B helicopters and Scan Eagle unmanned aerial systems.

The Indian Navy has recently inducted its own DSRV and proved the capability at sea on the western seaboard.

The sea phase of this year’s edition is being conducted under the Command of Rear Admiral Dinesh Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, who will take on the mantle of the Commander Task Group.

The Deputy Commander Task Group from Singapore Navy will be Ho Jee Kien, CO 188 Missile Corvette Squadron for Sea Phase 1 and Col Lim Yu Chuan, CO 185 Formidable Class Frigate Squadron for Second Sea Phase.

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