Singapore, 9 Jumadil Akhir 1434/19 April 2013 (MINA) – USS Freedom, the United States’ first littoral warship, has arrived in Singapore as part of Washington’s plan to expand the US military presence in Southeast Asia.

     The USS Freedom arrived in Singapore’s Changi Naval Base around 11:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Thursday (18/4), according to US Navy officials, as Press TV reported monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

     The media reported, the ship is set to be stationed in the region for at least 10 months.

     This comes after the US announced in April 2012 that it would deploy four littoral warships to Singapore for joint military exercises, a move aimed to expand bilateral military cooperation with the Asian country.

     The announcement was made by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta following a meeting with Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen in the same month at the Pentagon.

       “The combat ships would be deployed on a rotating basis rather than being based in Singapore,” Panetta added. 

       Since 1990, Singapore has consistently supported a strong US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2005, the two countries expanded defense and security cooperation by signing a Strategic Framework Agreement.

       The United States has deployed the USS Freedom amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

       USS Freedom is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships. It is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named for the concept of freedom.

       It is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships, as well as minesweeping and humanitarian relief. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph). (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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