President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited Changi Naval Base this afternoon, where he underscored the need for a strong and capable Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to protect the country's peace and sovereignty amidst evolving security threats. He also highlighted the important role played by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) in ensuring Singapore's security and continued growth.
Speaking after his visit, President Tony Tan explained that as security threats continue to evolve, the SAF and the RSN must be at the forefront of modernization to stay relevant and ready to respond to such threats. He said, "The development of the RSN is part of the overall programme of developing the SAF into a fully integrated and capable fighting force with cutting edge capabilities. Now we have a fully capable and integrated naval force with frigates as well as submarines and other vessels that are able to operate not only on the water but also below the water and even above the water with our naval helicopters." He added that it remains important for Singaporeans to be vigilant against security threats even as the SAF continues to stand guard to protect Singapore.
President Tony Tan visited the RSN's Formidable-class Frigate (RSS Steadfast) and Archer-class Submarine (RSS Swordsman) and was briefed on the vessels' capabilities and how they contribute towards the SAF's ability to protect Singapore's waters and its sea lines of communication. He was also briefed on the Frigates' sea-air integration with the Republic of Singapore Air Force's S-70B Seahawk Naval Helicopters. President Tony Tan had initiated these projects during his tenure as Minister for Defence.
President Tony Tan interacted with personnel from the RSN's submarine and frigate squadrons, the RSAF's naval helicopter squadron and the Command Team that will be deployed for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden as part of the multinational Combined Task Force 151. President Tony Tan was hosted by Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han during the visit with Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman and Chief of Defence Force Major-General Perry Lim in attendance.