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PFM Sea Wolf

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) decommissioned its fleet of six Missile Gunboats (MGBs) in a ceremony at Changi Naval Base on 13 May 2008. Officiated by Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Chew Men Leong, the sunset ceremony marks the closure of a significant chapter in the RSN's journey and the start of a new one, as 185 squadron completes its transformation into a frigate squadron.

The RSN's first MGBs, RSS Sea Wolf and RSS Sea Lion, arrived in Singapore in 1972 and were commissioned in 1975. The remaining three MGBs, RSS Sea Tiger, RSS Sea Hawk and RSS Sea Scorpion, were commissioned the following year. Shortly after their arrival, RSS Sea Wolf heralded the RSN's entry into the missile age by becoming the first ship in the region to successfully fire an anti-ship missile. The MGBs also led developments in naval strike warfare and remained at the leading edge of naval warfare with upgrades in her weapon systems, shipboard sensors and other combat systems in the 1980s and 1990s.

The need for the Fleet to learn how to juggle between conventional and unconventional warfare roles at the same time is a given. However, there are concerns that expanding the portfolio of capabilities will have negative impact on the Fleet's growth in conventional warfighting. During Ops Thunderstorm7 in 1975, key strike craft like the Missile Gun Boats (MGBs) were so pre-occupied with illegal immigrant operations that for the better part of this period, MGBs were little more than patrol boats. This had a significant impact on the development of Singapore's strike capability.

For more than three decades, these pioneers of the RSN conducted numerous operations at sea, as well as maritime surveillance, patrol and escort operations. They served as dependable guardians protecting the nation against seaward threats. The Missile Gunboats have also served as ambassadors of Singapore in numerous interactions with other navies and countless port-calls abroad.

Throughout their operational service, the MGBs were involved in numerous operations at sea and exercises. Over 5600 men and women have served onboard the MGBs, including Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean, and Senior Minister of State for Education & Information, Communications and the Arts, RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew. As a testament to the MGBs' combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence, the MGBs have won the Best Ship award five years in a row from 1986 to 1991. They were Best Ship for a total of 11 years. With the decommissioning of the MGBs, the new FORMIDABLE-class Stealth Frigates made their way into 185 Squadron.

Key Milestones

  • 1972 - Arrival of first two ships, RSS SEA WOLF and RSS SEA LION in Singapore.
  • 1974 - The remaining four ships of the squadron, RSS SEA DRAGON, RSS SEA TIGER, RSS SEA HAWK and RSS SEA SCORPION were built on the same design and delivered.
  • 22 January 1975 - RSS SEA WOLF, RSS SEA LION and RSS SEA DRAGON were commissioned.
  • 29 February 1976 - RSS SEA TIGER, RSS SEA HAWK and RSS SEA SCORPION were commissioned. All the six ships were commissioned by the then Minister for Defence, Dr Goh Keng Swee.
  • 31 January 1974 - RSS SEA HAWK, together with other RSN ships and the Marine Police boats surrounded the Laju ferry, which was hijacked by four armed terrorists and successfully prevented them from escaping.
  • 1974 - The RSN became the first Navy in the region to successfully fire an anti-ship missile, when RSS SEA WOLF fired the Gabriel Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM). This marked the Navy's entry into the missile age.
  • 2 May 1975 - Operation Thunderstorm was activated as a result of the large exodus of Vietnamese people due to the success of the North Vietnamese Communist group. The MGBs were activated to assist in the Operations. Despite logistics and manpower challenges, the MGBs contributed significantly to the success of the Operation.
  • 1976 - MGB participated in first foreign Exercise - Ex EAGLE. Since then, the MGBs were also involved in various other bi-lateral and multi-laterals exercises such as Ex MALAPURA (Malaysia), Ex PELICAN (Brunei), Ex SINGSIAM (Thailand), Ex STARFISH, Ex FLYING FISH and Ex BERSAMA PADU (FPDA countries), SIMBEX (India), Ex SINGAROO (Australia) and Ex CARAT (USA).
  • 1986 to 1988 - The MGBs were upgraded with the Long Range Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile. This missile, with a over-the-horizon firing range of over 90 kilometres, enhanced the ships' strike capability and complemented the existing Gabriel missile giving the ship a wider versatility in surface-to-surface combat.
  • 1990 - MGBs participated in the Presidential Sea Review, National Day celebration.
  • June 1994 - The final upgrading of the MGBs with the Mistral Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) to replace the Bofors 40mm gun. The twin-missile system improved the ships' ability to defend themselves against enemy aircraft.
  • July 1994 - The Mistral Surface-to-Air missile was successfully fired by the MGB.

# Name Builder Launch Comm De-Comm Notes
76 Sea Wolf Lurssen, Vegesack *** 1972 13 May 2008  
77 Sea Lion Lurssen, Vegesack *** 1972 13 May 2008  
78 Sea Dragon ST Marine *** 1974 13 May 2008  
79 Sea Tiger ST Marine *** 1974 13 May 2008  
80 Sea Hawk ST Marine *** 1975 13 May 2008  
81 Sea Scorpion ST Marine *** 29-Feb-1976 13 May 2008  

Length 44.90m
Beam 7.00m
Draft .m
Displacement 226 tons / 254 tons (fl)
Armament 2-4/Harpoon SSM
2/Gabriel I SSM
1/57mm 70-cal Bofors SAK-57 Mk I DP
1/Sabral point defence SAM system
2/12.7mm machine guns
Propulsion 4 MTU diesels; 4 props; 14400 bhp
Speed 35 knots
Crew 40
Aircraft -

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:28:07 ZULU