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Tech Advancements for Future Generation Defence in Singapore

The nature of warfare is always limited by the available technology, from spears to stealth bombers. With a wide range of technologies experiencing exponential growth, the world’s militaries are taking advantage of the many new tools at their disposal, updating everything from their weaponry and intelligence systems to the soldiers themselves — and future militaries have even bigger plans.

Science and technology have historically provided decisive economic and military advantages. Today, scientific advancements are critical for Singapore in countering potential adversaries’ economic and military advances. Due to the obvious widespread dissemination of technology, even adversaries with limited resources can acquire sophisticated capabilities.

To address this, the Singapore Army’s 3rd generation force is now fully operational, after a capstone exercise conducted in March this year, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Wednesday (Jun 30). With the completion of this transformation, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will continue to develop its next-generation army to tackle new and increasingly complex security challenges, added MINDEF.

Furthermore, the Singapore Army had acquired a number of new technologies and equipment for its next-generation transformation. One of its latest developments is a new all-terrain self-propelled mortar system based on its in-service 4×4 Protected Combat Support Vehicle (PCSV), designated PCSV (Mortar), on 28 June 2021.

The new vehicle, developed in collaboration with the army, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), and the Land Systems business of a local defence prime engineering company – is crewed by three personnel and will replace the 120 mm towed mortar currently used by the service’s motorised forces.

The automated system is provided with an integrated fire control system that can deploy in approximately 30 seconds – 80% faster than the towed mortar – to execute fire missions at a sustained rate of fire of four rds/min for 20 minutes, or at the maximum rate of 10 rds/min for three minutes. This also represents a 67% increase in the rate of fire compared to the towed mortar, as well as a 50% decrease in manpower requirements.

Also followed by its latest hybrid vertical take-off and landing mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (V15 mini-UAV) at Headquarters Sense and Strike (HQ SS) at Mandai Hill Camp. According to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the V15 mini-UAV is the first indigenous hybrid fixed-wing VTOL platform jointly developed by the army, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), DSO National Laboratories, as well as local defence and engineering prime company.

The air vehicle has a datalink radius of 15 kilometres from its ground control station (GCS) and a flight time of 3 hours, representing an 87% increase in range and endurance over the agency’s previous UAV system. Likewise, two individuals can transport and operate the new system, with assembly and flight preparation taking up to ten minutes.

Globally, military science and technology investments are now more focused on ensuring our forces’ dominance in all warfighting domains. Near-peer adversaries and state-level strategic competitors China and Russia are heavily investing in science and technology to gain economic and military advantages. North Korea and Iran are also pursuing advanced military capabilities in order to expand their influence through a combination of nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional, and unconventional weapons, as well as ballistic missile capabilities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between economic and military reasons for R&D investment.

In contrast, armies and military agencies are developing future capabilities to meet operational challenges and emerging threats in 2025, including the ability to operate freely in the electromagnetic spectrum, maintain secure, reliable communications, and accurate position navigation and timing capabilities, and develop advanced systems to protect and defend ground platforms.


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