Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One-upmanship Works Both Ways

Not once, not twice, but three times the Singapore Government sent a Third Person Note — a formal diplomatic nasty letter — to its Indonesian counterparts to register its ugly protest over the naming of KRI Usman Harun. And culminated in Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen declaring that KRI Usman Harun would not be allowed to dock in Singapore and the Republic’s navy would not sail with it in joint exercises.

The Bung Tomo-class corvette, equipped with advanced underwater sonar capabilities — the Thales Underwater Systems TMS 4130C1 hull-mounted sonar - was deployed by Jarkarta yesterday to join in the multinational effort for the search and recovery of the black box of AirAsia QZ8501.

More than 150 Hull-Mounted Sonars have been sold by Thales Underwater Systems, and adopted by the South African Navy (Meko A200 class), Indonesian Navy (Sigma class)
Royal Moroccan Navy (Sigma class) and United Arab Emirates Navy (Abu Dhabi class).

KRI Usman Harun was originally one of three Nakhoda Ragam-class corvettes built for the Royal Brunei Navy, a variant of the F2000 design, that have been sitting in BAE Systems Marine yard at Scotstoun, Glasgow, since 2007 after Brunei refused to accept the vessels over operating costs and a lack of sufficiently trained personnel to operate the ships. After BAE successfully took them to court, the vessels remained in Glasgow while Brunei looked for a buyer. In November 2012, it was announced that Indonesia acquired the vessels for one-fifth of the original unit cost. Sister ship KRI Bung Tomo, named after Sutomo, the leader of Indonesian guerilla during the Battle of Surabaya, has been involved in the search and recovery operations since late December 2014.

Instead of diving into the Java Sea, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) waded into the depths of the dictionary to come up with something to wash the pie off Ng's muddied face. The best they could do is this:
“Singapore offered its help for this humanitarian effort arising from a tragic accident of AirAsia flight QZ8501 which has befallen our Indonesian neighbour. We offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the passengers and crew. The Singapore Armed Forces will continue to assist in this search effort professionally.”

Meanwhile, RSS Valour has returned to Tuas Naval Base after only 8 days on site, with RSS Supreme following suit for "replenishment". Why they could not take on bunker, fresh water and virtuals at a port closer to the area of operations is anyone's guess.


  1. From the SG point of view, the two had murdered two women and hurt many others. So they were hung - fair enough.

    From IND's POV, they were following orders - so they are heroes.

    Everything settled.

    LKY even put flowers on their graves, accepting that they are IND heroes.

    So why kick up a fuss over names?

  2. It's their navy, it's their water, it's their search operation. Why was a diplomatic fuss raised over the naming of their ship, over a long resolved incident? Amateurish jingoism has it's consequences, poking your nose into other people's affairs can result in a backlash. Now Minister Ah Hen, go eat your humble pie and sulk. BTW, what are our 6 submarines doing, with their advanced underwater sonar capabilities? In mothballs after spending so much money?

    1. //It's their navy, it's their water, it's their search operation.//

      It's hilarious. This time around, the RSS Jingo never left it's port.

  3. PAP Singapore did it again....

    Sure stiff it to the indonesia to salve some self serving deluded archsloch pride...

    But archsloch need to take note other Countries will note and decide how much they count on Singapore when it is needed most...

    For Humanity....for its futurel...only idiots live in the past...so please wear those old police man shorts all u self serving politicos...


  4. Again, our neighbours get the last laugh at our expense. Shy, man. Although this is a Humanitarian effort, our political leaders apparently could not hide their hurt and must have ordered back our assets!

    1. This is a face-saving way to belakang pusing.

    2. O Shan, Shan! Wherefore art thou, Shan?

  5. Yes, I get the same impression. What kind of navy have we got that can't patrol for more than a week?

  6. just blogwalking.. Nice post and have a nice day :)