DN - Defence Notes

Singapore reorganises military to fight terrorism

30th June 2017 - 11:06 GMT | by Chen Chuanren in Singapore

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Terrorism is the Singapore Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF) top priority, and it has taken numerous measures to defend the island across all spectrums. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen predicted that more fighters will shift their focus to Southeast Asia as the coalition campaign in the Middle East makes progress.

Singapore has been placed on a target list by cyber perpetrators, and to better protect MINDEF’s warfighting networks and cyber infrastructure, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will inaugurate a new C4 Command in November. 

This command will integrate the Cyber Defence Group, which was announced in March, with an existing C4 Operation Group. It was revealed that the C4 Command’s strength will reach 2,000 personnel by the end of the decade, and conscripted national servicemen with cyber network backgrounds will be talent scouted.

Another key warfighting network is the Island Air Defence (IAD) system, and it is now linked to new operational sensors like the IAI ELM-2084, ELM-2083 on the TCOM aerostat and the Thales Groundmaster 200 radar. It also taps into the civil aviation authority network to receive seamless civil flight data. 

The IAD is further supported by track fusion and a decision support system that evaluates threats and recommends suitable firing units. MINDEF also highlighted that delivery of the Aster SAMP/T will take place within ‘months’.

Singapore in the last decade has been building up its ability to counter airborne munitions and saturated artillery attacks. It has faced threats from a terror cell in Batam, Indonesia that plotted to lob home-made rockets into the city centre. 

The Republic of Singapore Navy’s National Maritime Sense-making Group has also employed artificial intelligence and data analytics, fusing data from multiple agencies like the Maritime and Port Authority to detect deviations and suspicious behaviour in commercial shipping. The system saw success on 9 December 2016 when it flagged a merchant vessel carrying contraband. 

On the ground, the Singapore Army has set up its Army Deployment Force to patrol alongside homeland security forces. To further meet the demand for such soldiers, an Island Defence Training Institute will be established in late July to further develop homeland security skill sets. 

The facility will train 18,000 soldiers annually and will cover search and arrest procedures, plus knowledge of legal powers. Live-firing training for homeland security operations will be carried out via judgmental video simulation training at the infantry gunnery and tactical simulator, which has been updated for such training.

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