Singapore launched the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) fifth stealth frigate, RSS Stalwart, from the Singapore Technologies Marine shipyard, according to a report on www.chinaview.cn. RSS Stalwart joined the RSN as the fourth frigate since the Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) started a Formidable-class frigate program a decade ago. According to the program, RSN will acquire a total of six new stealth
frigates to replace its Missile Gunboats which have been in service for more than 30 years. Designed by Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN), the frigates are equipped with advanced sensor and weapon systems. The first frigate of the six, RSS Formidable, was built by DCN and launched in France in January 2004. It arrived in Singapore in July this year to undergo Combat Systems checkout, integration and testing, and is expected to be fully operational in 2007.