While exercises and operations have affirmed the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) capabilities, spending on upgrades of its assets will continue at a steady pace to keep up its deterrent force, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday.
Besides these hardware, the SAF has also made investments to boost training safety. Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing said heat stress monitors that track temperature, wind speed, pressure and humidity were introduced in June last year to reduce heat injuries.
Satellite-based soldier-tracker systems, which overcomes the problem of radio frequency interferences, have also been trialled to better track soldiers in difficult terrain, he added.
Although Singapore’s demographic trends will mean the SAF will have to operate with a leaner manpower pool, Dr Ng said there will be no loss of effectiveness, through the use of advanced technologies. “When measured by manoeuvrability, firepower or new capabilities, the restructured SAF, even though leaner, is more potent and versatile,” he said. He cited examples such as the SAF’S unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which can stay airborne for more than 24 hours, and the Army’s use of robots to defuse explosives.
The Army is also studying the use of Unmanned Ground Vehicles to conduct security patrols, while Unmanned Surface Vessels may in future patrol Singapore’s congested waterways, said Dr Ng.
On Singapore’s defence expenditure, which has grown by 4 per cent nominally on average, Dr Ng said his ministry will closely monitor the increased spending across Asia, but will continue to avoid sharp increases or dips in its spending for now. (The Online)