USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships and aircraft from Carrier Strike Group 9 and the Republic of Singapore Navy conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) while underway near Singapore, April 15.
Republic of Singapore Formidable-class guided missile frigate RSS Steadfast (FFG 70) conducted flight deck training with an SH-60B Seahawk assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47 "Saberhawks."
The helicopter, flown by HSL-47's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Shawn Malone and copilot Lt. Christopher Moore, made several landings on the ship's flight deck, giving the crew of Steadfast the opportunity to practice helicopter recovery procedures including chocking and chaining (referred to as "lashing" by the Singapore Navy) and refueling evolutions.
"The Singapore Navy is increasing its capabilities and acquiring H-60 type helicopters and their pilots are training at NAS North Island (San Diego), so this is an opportunity to work together and for us to train with them for helicopter shipboard operations," Malone said. "It was a great exchange and it was a wonderful way to build those partnerships with the Singapore Navy."
Following the flight operations, Steadfast practiced coming alongside the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) and conducted a simulated refueling-at-sea.
The evolution was observed from the air in an HSL-47 helicopter by Singapore Navy Capt. Kelvin Lim, a communications officer assigned to the RSS Formidable. Lim also spent time aboard USS Shoup (DDG 86) during the PASSEX and observed that there are many similarities and differences between the two ships.
"Our primary mission is air defense, like your ship, but we do things differently because we only have 70 people on board," said Lim.
He added that the most striking difference between Shoup and Steadfast was the makeup of the crews. "You can see the whole of America on your ship; there is so much diversity."
One similarity participants noted during the PASSEX was that Steadfast's design in many ways reflected the direction the U.S. Navy is moving with its own ship designs, Malone said.
"That ship to me represents something very similar to where we're moving with the littoral combat ship and some of the stealth technology that is being incorporated into our surface forces," Malone said. "That was the benefit for us -- to be able to operate with that type of modern warship."
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