Singapore Defense Minister Ng En Hen, left, greets U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on June 2 in Singapore, the site of the Shangri-La Dialogue regional security conference. (Jim Watson / Agence France-Presse)
SINGAPORE — The Singapore military has agreed in-principle to allow the U.S. Navy to deploy up to four littoral combat ships to the city-state on a rotational basis.
The announcement was made June 2 after a meeting between Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng En Hen and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a meeting of regional defense leaders here.
The navies from both countries “will work together to finalize the deployment details and arrangements,” according to a joint statement released after the meeting.
In April, Ng said Singapore had only approved the deployment of up to two littoral combat ships (LCS) and was still evaluating the Pentagon’s request for an additional two ships.
The LCS will not be based or homeported in Singapore and crews will live on board the ships for the duration of their deployment, the joint statement said.
“Secretary Panetta reaffirmed that the LCS deployment would strengthen U.S. engagement in the region, through the port calls at regional ports, and engagement of regional navies through activities such as exercises and exchanges,” the statement said.