US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said the US military had plans to deploy littoral combat ships to Singapore. Dr Gates said this on Saturday, at the Shangri-la Dialogue, an international security conference held in Singapore. Littoral combat ships are speedy, lighter ships designed to operate in shallow waters.
“We’re examining other ways for our two militaries to train and operate together to include pre-positioning supplies to improve disaster response, improving command and control capabilities and expanding training opportunities to help prepare our forces for the challenges both militaries face operating in the Pacific,” Dr Gates said. Singapore’s Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said: “The US’s strong presence and continued engagement in this area has been, and will continue to be a critical force of stability and progress for this region.
“In that spirit, we are open to his proposal for forward deployment of the littoral combat ships in this area, so that it allows them to achieve that purpose of having a strong presence, a continued presence in the Asia Pacific region”. Dr Ng also hosted his first ministerial lunch at the Shangri-La Dialogue, as defence minister. During informal discussions, the defence ministers agreed that the economic and political weight and modernisation of the military is increasingly shifting to Asia.