The 25th edition of SIMBEX, “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled to be held from November 10- 21, 2018 in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
The 2018 edition marks the silver jubilee of SIMBEX. To mark the historical occasion, the navies of both nations are undertaking exercises over an extended geography.
The Indian Navy is being represented this year by the Ranvir class destroyer – INS Ranvijay, two Project 17 multirole stealth frigates – INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, the Project 28 ASW corvette - INS Kadmatt, the Project 25A missile corvettes, INS Kirch, the OPVs INS Sumedha and INS Sukanya, the Fleet Support Ship, INS Shakti, a Sindhughosh Class submarine, INS Sindhukirti, the P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol and ASW aircraft from INAS 312, Dornier 228 Maritime Patrol aircraft from INAS 311, Mk 132 Hawk AJTs from INAS 551 and integral helicopters such as the UH3H, Seaking 42 B, Seaking 42C and Chetak utility helicopters.
The Singapore Navy is being 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, ‘Swift Rescue’ a Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), a Fokker F50 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, embarked S70B helicopters and Scan Eagle unmanned aerial systems.
• The 2018 edition of the bilateral maritime exercise will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity.
• The initial harbour phase will be held at Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands from November 10-12, which will be followed by sea phase from November 12-16 in the Andaman Sea.
• The second harbour phase will be held from November 16- 19 at Visakhapatnam – ‘the City of Destiny’.
• The harbour phase would include programmes such as 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 to commemorate the 25th anniversary.
• The final sea phase would be held in the Bay of Bengal from November 19-21.
• The SIMBEX 2018 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 (ASW) exercises, submarine rescue demonstrations, integrated Surface and Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations and cross deck helicopter flying among others.
The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken in this year's edition will be the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign Navy till date, which indicates the growing trust and operational comfort between the two navies.
This year would also witness the highest numbers and variety of platforms fielded by both sides. Over the years the two navies have increased their interoperability to a level that could be matched by few other navies.
• Simbex is an acronym for Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.
• Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.
• The modest endeavour to exchange best practices in the field of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), has in the recent years evolved into a complex high stakes exercise with both nations attaching premium in terms of time, complex advanced exercises and type of platforms involved.
• Simbex is aimed to increase interoperability between the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
• The scope of the current exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase scheduled and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase.
• The previous edition of the exercise was held off Singapore in the South China Sea in May 2017.