The first in a new class of US Navy combat ship will be sent to Singapore for a 10-month deployment, a US official says.
"The USS Freedom will deploy to Singapore for 10 months in spring 2013," Navy Lieutenant Katie Cerezo said in an email to AFP.
The ship belongs to a new class of "littoral combat ships" - smaller, surface vessels intended for operations close to shore and able to deploy quickly to crises.
It will support a US strategy focusing on the Asia-Pacific.
The navy says it will eventually be equipped with 55 warships of this type, four of which could be deployed in Singapore.
The ships are meant to be deployed on a rotational basis and not based in Singapore, where the US military already operates a small post that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in South-East Asia.
China's defence ministry has been scornful about increased US military activity in the region, saying it is proof of a "Cold War mentality" from Washington.
The United States is also expected to step up deployments to the Philippines and Thailand as part of its Asia-Pacific strategy.