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Singapore: Innovations in Five Key Technological Domains

Businessman using wheel interface in data center

During the recently held Golden Jubilee celebration of the DSO National Laboratories (DSO) tag as the DSO50 Technology Showcase (TSC), the public was given an opportunity to have a glimpse of the five key technology domains innovations initiated by the agency in the areas of Cryptography, Cybersecurity, Miniaturised Radio Frequency and Electronics, Artificial Intelligence / Data Analytics and Unmanned Systems.

Behind the opening of this technology showcase has been 50 years of steady progress and good achievements, and I would say that after half a century, DSO is indispensable to the SAF. It is because of leveraging technology, science, manpower, and intellect that we’ve been able to overcome many, many vulnerabilities. Of course, our inherent vulnerabilities are immutable. That’s never going to change. We’re never going to be large or have more manpower than necessary. So, we’re thankful that we’ve reached this position with DSO.

– Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence.

Dr Ng talked about how important DSO’s role in defence has been for the past 50 years and will be in the future. He said that it was a credit to the founding fathers and leaders who came after them that they saw its importance from the start.

He said that once the SAF was made, it needed the latest technology. They clearly didn’t have enough strategic depth. Singapore is a very small country with few people living there. And they realised very quickly that they needed to set up this group.

Many of these native technologies and solutions solve important operational problems and are often not available commercially. They can also be changed to meet specific and future operating needs. Most of these enabling technologies are usually hidden because they are built into systems to make them smarter and more reliable.

As Singapore’s national defence research and development organisation, DSO has the largest and most extensive technology show for guests from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), key public agencies, and industry partners.

The closed-door event had a unique exhibition about the DSO’s history, the capabilities it has built up over the past 50 years, and the R&D projects that MINDEF, the SAF, and the whole government will be working on in the future.

One important example is DSO’s work to make important electronic parts smaller and lighter while improving their performance in a variety of communication platforms and systems. Another important part of DSO’s solution is that it can find and stop AI that is trying to trick people by using fake news and fabricated media.

Meanwhile, Singapore recently launched its NeuSAR satellite into space under the direction of DSO. NeuSAR is a compact, high-performance satellite weighing 160 kg that has a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that is fully polarimetric. A SAR satellite “creates” photos by transmitting radio waves to the Earth’s surface and collecting the returns to create images, in contrast to optical cameras satellites that are limited to daytime and clear weather imaging circumstances.

NeuSAR is thus capable of taking images both during the day and at night, as well as in challenging weather due to dense cloud cover, precipitation, and even haze. It is a small satellite, offers consumers access to low-cost but high-quality satellite photos and is quicker, cheaper, and easier to manufacture.

The launch of NeuSAR represents a development in the Singapore space sector. It comes after the productive launches of the nation’s first satellite (X-SAT) in 2011 and its first industrial electro-optical satellite (TeLEOS-1) in 2015.

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