Afloat Training Group San Diego Strengthens Ties With Republic of Singapore Navy
SAN DIEGO - Sailors from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) are continuing their partnership with Afloat Training Group (ATG) San Diego to receive training on embarked helicopter operations.

Since May 2008, ATG has developed and executed a detailed training curriculum on maritime helicopter operations and missions for the RSN in support of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case Peace Triton, the RSN purchase of the Sikorsky SH-70B helicopter. Throughout January and February, ATG provided the crew of Singapore Navy frigate RSS Stalwart (72) training on aviation flight deck handling and safety, undersea warfare and surface warfare operations, and search and rescue procedures.

According to ATG, The Singapore Navy is very pleased with the training they provided and plans to ask for additional training this summer to prepare another RSN Frigate for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). In particular, RSN leadership was very impressed with Aviation and Combat Information Center/ Anti-Submarine Tactical Air Controller (ASTAC) training.

Chief Operation Specialist (SW) James Tuttle, headed the training team that provided ASTAC training to the crew of Stalwart. Tuttle's instruction covered basic knowledge on interactions with embarked helicopter squadrons, to include: briefing and de-briefing the helicopter and ship crew, basic terminology and safety of flight procedures.

"The training event went very well," said Tuttle. "It was a great opportunity to interact with another country and tailor some of our practices to the environment they operate in."

"The crew met all of their objectives in integrating the safe operation and tactical employment of their first helicopter permanently embarked on an RSN ship," said Capt. David Matawitz, commander, Afloat Training Group Pacific. "The success of the training is a direct result of the talented professionals from both ATG and RSS Stalwart."

Matawitz believes the purchase of the SH-70B marks a monumental and historical event in the evolution of both the RSN and Royal Singapore Air Force's capabilities. The concept of utilizing Navy forces for helicopter operations is very unique for Singapore's Navy, who previously relied on its Air Force.

ATG's experience with integrated operations of a helicopter squadron on surface ships makes the command a natural fit to support the RSN with its integration of the SH-70B helicopter. Additionally, as far back as CARAT 2007, U.S. Sailors have been working with the RSN while deployed or participating in similar exercises, providing ASTAC training.

"The strong ATG-RSN relationship established through Peace Triton creates increased opportunity for future bi-lateral operations between our two Navies," said Matawitz. "ATG looks forward to maintaining the effort into the foreseeable future."

ATG will provide similar training this summer to another RSN Frigate participating in CARAT 2010.

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