Courtesy of Surface SITREP. Republished with the permission of the Surface Navy Association (www.navysna.org).
The Singapore Navy’s RSS Endeavour is an Endurance-class amphibious ship. Singapore classifies the ship as an LST – a landing ship tank – but it is much bigger and more capable than the former U.S. County-class LSTs the Endurance-class replaced.
The Endurance-class landing platform dock ships (LPD) are the largest class of ships in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). They were designed and built by Singapore Technologies (ST) Marine to replace the old County-class tank landing ships (LST). In fact, their capability more closely matches that of the U.S. Navy’s post World War II Newport-class of LST, or even an LSD or LPD. ST Marine classifies the ship as an LPD in its marketing materials.
Endeavour is 462 feet long and displaces 8,500 tons. [That compares with former U.S. Navy Newport-class Tank Landing Ships, which were 522 feet long and 8,800, tons and the 609-foot, 16,000 ton Whidbey Island class of LSDs.] She was launched in February 2000 and commissioned in April 2001.
The four ships form the 191 Squadron of the RSN. A fifth ship of the class was built in Singapore and delivered to Thailand, HTMS Angthong (LPD 791).
The LSTs are capable of extended deployments. RSS Endurance took part in the International Naval Review in New York City while conducting an around-the-world deployment, a first for Singapore, and Endeavour participated in the International Fleet Review held in Sydney, Australia in 2013. Ships of the class have been assigned to multinational peacekeeping efforts, such as multinational counter-piracy operations as a part of Combined Task Force 151 protecting shipping in the Gulf of Aden.
A visitor can’t help but notice the spaciousness in compartments like the briefing room just forward of the hangar.
“We conduct muster here in this common area for instruction and to pass down the routine for the day, or to brief the crew on upcoming exercises such as with our air force or army, or visits to other ports,” said Capt. Kody Toh, the Endeavour’s executive officer (Singapore uses Army ranks, so he’s the equivalent of a Navy lieutenant).
According to Toh, the Endeavour’s mission isn’t to embark a combat force for offensive operations, but rather move vehicles, personnel, equipment and supplies to where it may be needed in the many islands in and around Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, at other neighboring countries. The ship can take aboard containers, such as a medical facility that can then be set up to provide care at a remote location.
Singapore doesn’t have a naval infantry – like our Marine Corps – but does embark and transport army troops for amphibious operations, said Lt. Hua Xiang Ting, the duty officer.
Singapore’s LSTs have been valuable in responding to natural disasters, such as tsunamis and typhoons.
Appearance-wise, the landing ships are a very dark gray, almost black, compared to the haze gray frigates and other RSN combatants.
The Endurance class has the capacity to carry up to 18 tanks or 20 trucks through the bow or stern ramps, and can carry bulk cargo. It can carry up to 350 troops and up four 13-meter fast craft equipment and utility (FCEU) and two 25 meter fast craft utility (FCU) vessels, which are similar to U.S. Navy LCVP and LCUs respectively.
“We have one FCEU on the starboard side now, but have room to carry four in davits,” said Toh. “The two FCUs are carried side-by-side in the well deck.”
The ship can ballast down, open the stern ramp and launch or recover the FCUs.