India-Singapore navies begin biggest weapon firing drill Simbex

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India and Singapore navies Friday kicked off this year’s biggest maritime combat drills off the Andaman and Nicobar islands in terms of weapon firing and carrying out complex manoeuvres.

Both the navies have been engaging with each other for the last 25 years and cooperate over a range of issues in Indian Ocean region.

Indian Navy: “The exercises at sea this year are unprecedented and largest of kind in terms of the complexity and weapon firings.”

Simbex was as started as a basic anti-submarine warfare exercises wayback in 1994. Today these exercises have graduated to complex maritime combat drills including missile and torpedo firings and shore based intensive professional exchanges.

The crew of the participating warships and the maritime reconnaissance aircraft and integral helicopters, would go through the last minute exercise coordination details in Port Blair, home to India’s only tri-services command.   

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Singapore Navy ship at Port Blair.

In addition to operational conferences towards preparation of the sea phase of the exercises in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, courtesy calls by both sides on the senior officers are also scheduled during the harbour phase.

Besides, SMEE (subject matter expert exchanges) have also been planned between Indian and Singapore Navy.

Over the years, these exchanges have provided a platform for formal exchange of best practices of respective navies.

Cross deck visits by air crew towards deck familiarisation have also planned.

In this exercise, Singapore Navy’s Archer class submarine RSS Swordsman and a DSRV (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle) will also participate. 

Indian Navy recently inducted a DSRV on the western seaboard and is slated to induct another on its eastern seaboard, it continues to exercise with various navies and assimilate best practices as well as enhance interoperability.

The ships of from Indian Navy’s Eastern and of Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) made entry into the azure waters of Port Blair in the pristine Andaman and Nicobar Islands on  10 November 2018.

The beauty and majesty of these ships was a treat for the on lookers. 

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Singapore Navy ships at Port Blair.

The ships arrived at Port Blair for the commencement of the 25th edition of the SIMBEX – Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise. 

Over the next two days, Port Blair is playing host to Indian Naval Ships Ranvijay, Satpura, Sahyadri, Shakti, Kirch, Kadmatt, Sumedha and Sukanya and Sinapore Navy’s ships – Formidable, Steadfast, Unity, Valiant and Vigour. 

Maritime Patrol Aircraft of both countries – the versatile P8I of the Indian Navy and Fokker F50 from Singapore would also be based out of Port Blair. 

Local flotilla ships based at Port Blair would be ensuring seafront security including in the exercise areas towards smooth conduct of the exercise.

The sea phase would be held under Commander Task Group of Joint Forces of SIMBEX-18, Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Ho Jee Kien, Commanding Officer of 188 Missile Corvette Squadron would be leading the Republic of Singapore Navy during the first sea phase and would also be the Deputy Task Group Commander.

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