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Singapore Air Force - Why so strong?

This is a discussion on Singapore Air Force - Why so strong? within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by spikehades A massive and sustained SRBM/MLRS and artillery barrage should render Singapore's air superiority obsolete in double ...


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Old June 22nd, 2012   #46
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Originally Posted by spikehades View Post
A massive and sustained SRBM/MLRS and artillery barrage should render Singapore's air superiority obsolete in double quick time. Then overwhelm their land based defences with a much larger force. Job done.
Spike old mate, even without checking your post count I think I can tell you are new here....

Can you tell me how many SRBM/MLRS Malaysia has? Can you tell me why Singaporean Intelligence wouldn't detect a buildup of artillery assets just across the causeway?

Now can you tell me why Malaysia (the only country in range of Arty and MLRS) would want to attack Singapore and what the 5 power defence agreement partners would make of this?
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Old June 22nd, 2012   #47
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I would assume that Singapore being a Maritime hub ,IE a major business centre for maritime transport around asia and the world ,a number of international countries would frown upon Malaysia trying to cause havoc on Singapore and their(International) Businesses.

MPA - Leading International Maritime Centre (IMC)
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #48
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In general, although both Indonesian and Malaysian have more similarities in culture and religion, most of Indonesians prefer Singapore to Malaysia in many aspects.
Funny enough, most Malaysians I know, 'prefer' and have fonder sentiments for Singapore rather than Indonesia. But I really think that personal opinions on off topic subjects should best be left out, don't you?

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Originally Posted by spikehades View Post
A massive and sustained SRBM/MLRS and artillery barrage should render Singapore's air superiority obsolete in double quick time. Then overwhelm their land based defences with a much larger force. Job done.
The Malaysian Armed Forces [MAF] is not structured or equipped for power projection or extended combat operations beyond Malaysian borders and Malaysia's main concern is the threat of terrorism and her territories in the disputed Spratleys, not the possibility of conflict with her neighbours. The MAF has no SRBMs [the only country in the region which has ever publicly expressed an interest for SRBMs was Indonesia in the mid-1990's], only 28 155mm howitzers, about 150 short range Model 56 105mm howitzers and 36 ASTROS launchers, with another 18 on order, which will reportedly be based in East Malaysia. Just to give you some background, for more than 20 years, the priority of the MAF was counter insurgency [against the Communist Part of Malaya in Peninsular Malaysia and the North Kalimantan Communist Party in Sarawak] and assisting the government in the task of nation building. Serious efforts to devote attention to external rather than internal security, only started to be made in the mid-1990's and procurement plans have often been postponed due to cuts in the budget and the need to address other priorities.

Despite the potential for border clashes between ASEAN countries [like the ones in the past involving Thailand, Laos and Myanmar which saw the use artillery and air power], IMO the biggest danger facing ASEAN countries is not the possibility of a full scale war with other ASEAN countries but the threat of international terrorism and the possibility that an incident in the South China Sea in the Spratleys area could turn ugly and rapidly spiral out of control, effecting the whole region.

Last edited by STURM; June 23rd, 2012 at 07:55 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #49
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Originally Posted by Marc 1 View Post
Spike old mate, even without checking your post count I think I can tell you are new here....

Can you tell me how many SRBM/MLRS Malaysia has? Can you tell me why Singaporean Intelligence wouldn't detect a buildup of artillery assets just across the causeway?

Now can you tell me why Malaysia (the only country in range of Arty and MLRS) would want to attack Singapore and what the 5 power defence agreement partners would make of this?
My post was based solely on tactical considerations. I did not take into account strategic reasoning of any sort - it was just a method of achieving the goal of neutralising Singapore's air superiority, if a neighbouring country chose to do so.
Having said this, I will humor your questions.

If a second country seriously wanted to attack singapore:

SRBMs and MLRS systems are readily available and are tried and tested technology - thus they are effective. These systems can be bought easily and quickly - sometimes off shelf or even from seller countries' reserve stock. They are easy to use and maintain and thus can be inducted quickly, perhaps within 18 months. They are also very good value for money and thus cost-effective. Ideally the warheads have a good cluster munitions/HE mix. The very fact that Singapore has sought ABM defences indicates that they themselves have considered this threat as credible.

Singapore would easily notice a build up of missile and artillery forces - questions is what would they do about it? Initiate pre-emptive strikes against dispersed targets? How would the 5 power agreement play out in that scenario? Suffice to say a Singaporean attack on the second country's military assets would just give a cassus belli for an overwhelming missile and artillery barrage against Singapore and thus Singapore would only be helping the second country in achieving their goals.

The five power agreement is an unknown quantity - and one can only speculate on how that would play out once hostilities ensued.
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Old June 24th, 2012   #50
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I realise your post was directed at Marc 1 but I decided to give my thoughts on the subject.

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Originally Posted by spikehades View Post
If a second country seriously wanted to attack singapore:
For a start, if neighbouring countries wanted to do as you indicated, they would have to significantly increase their defence budget, which would not be possible in the short term as it would be damaging to the national economy as a whole. After that, they would need time, and lots of it, to train and develop the skills and support infrastructure needed to operate beyond their borders, in high tempo, extended operations. And they would be operating against the Singapore Armed Forces [SAF], which unlike the Malaysian Armed Forces [MAF] and theTentera Nasional Indonesia [TNI] has been able for several decades to focus on external security, is much more networked, has numerical superiority in many key areas and unlike the MAF and the TNI, has much smaller operational peacetime responsibilities, due to Singapore being a much smaller country.

To date, neither Malaysia or Indonesia has taken any steps to ensure that it has the capability to threaten any other country in ASEAN - for the reason that they do not have to - and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. And as I mentioned before, the MAF for the past few decades was focused on counter insurgency, not in external security - the same goes for most ASEAN countries - and this is still reflected in the way their armies are organised and equipped.

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SRBMs and MLRS systems are readily available and are tried and tested technology - thus they are effective. These systems can be bought easily and quickly - sometimes off shelf or even from seller countries' reserve stock.
Yes they are readily available but haven't been taken up by any ASEAN countries due to political reasons and because they might not be very useful things to have, given the threat perceptions of various ASEAN countries. This is not the Middle East and things haven't reached a point where ASEAN countries would want to acquire ballistic missiles.

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Originally Posted by spikehades View Post
The very fact that Singapore has sought ABM defences indicates that they themselves have considered this threat as credible.
We can speculate as to the reasons why Singapore got the Iron Dome. Many on various forums and blogs are of the opinion that it was to counter Malaysia's ASTROS. My personal opnion is that it was to cater to the possibility that certain countries in the near future might acquire cruise missiles such as Brahmos. Anyhow, the whole of SEA is well within range of Chinese ballistic missiles and has been for some time now.

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would easily notice a build up of missile and artillery forces - questions is what would they do about it? Initiate pre-emptive strikes against dispersed targets?
If things had reached a point where diplomacy had failed and ASEAN, the UN or the U.S. had been unable to defuse tensions, the leadership of Singapore - if convinced that hostilities were imminent and that there was a clear threat to Singapore - would have no choice but to launch a pre-emptive strike.

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The five power agreement is an unknown quantity - and one can only speculate on how that would play out once hostilities ensued.
It is not an unknown quantity. It role is clearly defined and it provides a platform where discussions can be undertaken as to how to proceed in event of an external threat on Malaysia and Singapore. It replaced the Anglo Malayan Defence agreement [AMDA] and does not compel the U.K, Australia or New Zealand to come to the aid of Malaysia and Singapore, as it is not a binding alliance like NATO.

In event of a full scale conflict involving Malaysia and Singapore, the FPDA might be able to play as role as a mediator, alongside ASEAN, apart from that there is not much it can do as it was not intended to cater for such an eventuality. As part of the FPDA, there are staff from all 5 FPDA members [including several Republic of Singapore Air Force officers] attached to the IADS HQ [commanded by a Australian officer] in Butterworth, a liasion officer from the Royal Malaysian Air Force at Changi, a Royal Australian Air Force presence at Butterworth and a Rifle Company from the Australian army permanently deployed at Butterworth, so achieving strategic surprise will be a bit hard. And as part of the FPDA, members also share intel under the ANZMIS arrangement.

Last edited by STURM; June 24th, 2012 at 12:45 PM.
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Old June 24th, 2012
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Old June 24th, 2012   #51
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Up until now the debate has been centred on the fact Malaysia and Indonesia at the moment are not strategically geared to focus on this type of operation. And that they don't have the capability - which is all well and good as a status quo argument.

My point is: IF either of these countries seriously wanted to neutralise Singapore's air capability for 7hatever reason - a missile strike and artillery barrage would be the way to go. As for the 5 power agreement , it is pretty vague in terms of the mondus operandi of any military intervention in response to an initiation of hostilities in the region.

Any intervention would mean a large and costly expeditionary force.

N.B: Although Malaysia and Indonesia do not have the said missile capability as yet, they can acquire this capability very quickly and cheaply! Especially if the purchases were made on easy credit terms.

Russian BM-30 SMERCH or the Chinese A100 systems would be more than adequate as they are capable of employing a variety munitions and has sufficient range (y0KM and 120KM respectively). They are also relatively cheap, India have recently bought ~ 60 BM-30 systems for $750 million.

Last edited by OPSSG; July 1st, 2012 at 03:06 AM. Reason: Combined into 1 post
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Old June 25th, 2012   #52
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Russian BM-30 SMERCH or the Chinese A100 systems would be more than adequate as they are capable of employing a variety munitions and has sufficient range (90KM and 120KM respectively). They are also relatively cheap, India have recently bought ~ 60 BM-30 systems for $750 million.
As another member previously pointed out, acquisition of such weapons systems would raise a few eyebrows, to say the least and would cause Singapore to seriously think about where these weapons are to be used and for which purpose.
Geographically, they can only target either each other or Singapore really, and have a hope of any credible or serious military effect.
I imagine that if such systems/weapons were to be acquired, Singaporean/ANZAC intelligence services would get wind of it fairly quickly and the diplomatic cables would be "abuzz" with questions why.
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Old June 25th, 2012   #53
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Indonesia will not attack Singapore. Why ?? Too many Indonesian Elites (Officials, Generals, Politicians, Business Tycoons) already Invest much in Singapore. Latest Singapore property reports show Indonesian for more than a decade already become large buyers in Singapore property market, and more and more they become significant pillar upholding Singapore property market.

This only talking on property Investment, which only made smaller part of Indonesian Investment in Singapore where the biggest part mostly on Financials assets. And this also coming in two ways. Singaporean Investment in Indonesia also increasingly making significant part from total Singaporean Investment overseas.

Inter-dependent on business and economics are the largest guarantee for peace in any region. And Asean already moving into that direction although still 'relatively' smaller than EU members inter-dependent sphere. Inter-Asean trade growth making faster paces. While although they (Asean Members) still hold some degree of suspicions on each other, but those mostly on business sides and less on political side.

Among all Asean members, Malaysian and Singapore business and economics inter-dependent are the largest. This is understandable considering the historical ties between two nation. After that Indonesia and Singapore inter-dependent coming second, than followed by Malaysian and Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, etc,etc.

In short, between Asean members, the incentive to maintain political stability in the region become more and more inter-connected with their own domestic economic and business stability. Among Asean, the inter-dependent between Malaysia and Singapore and increasingly Indonesia are relatively highest among members. True those three still have bigger trading partners outside Asean, but increasingly their dependency to each other become bigger each days.

Thus, even-though those three (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) have spare-out some negative sentiment to each other from time to time. However those three also become increasingly realize that they become more dependent to each other on days ahead.

Just like I stated before, Business and Economics and not Politics now these days increasingly become the biggest guarantor of stability.
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Old June 25th, 2012   #54
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Russian BM-30 SMERCH or the Chinese A100 systems would be more than adequate as they are capable of employing a variety munitions and has sufficient range (90KM and 120KM respectively). They are also relatively cheap, India have recently bought ~ 60 BM-30 systems for $750 million.
Indonesia has acquired Yakhont from Russia and already test it, the range is 300+ km.
And also already aquired C-705 Chinese missile technology to produce at Indonesia, the range is 100+ km.
Some said that Indonesia want to produce up to 1000 C-705 at 2014.

TNI AL ships will be equip with those missile.

And, Indonesia's own missile technology now going increase, whether for military purpose or aeronautical purpose.

And Indonesia strategic industrial are speed up really seriously now, as I'm take part for some upgrading machine quality and capacity with European technology.

Like Ananda said, Indonesia will not attack Singapore.
But, with this progress from Indonesia, will it take serious to capability Singapore Air Force ?
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Old June 25th, 2012   #55
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Among all Asean members, Malaysian and Singapore business and economics inter-dependent are the largest. This is understandable considering the historical ties between two nation. After that Indonesia and Singapore inter-dependent coming second, than followed by Malaysian and Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, etc,etc.

In short, between Asean members, the incentive to maintain political stability in the region become more and more inter-connected with their own domestic economic and business stability. Among Asean, the inter-dependent between Malaysia and Singapore and increasingly Indonesia are relatively highest among members. True those three still have bigger trading partners outside Asean, but increasingly their dependency to each other become bigger each days.

Thus, even-though those three (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) have spare-out some negative sentiment to each other from time to time. However those three also become increasingly realize that they become more dependent to each other on days ahead.

Just like I stated before, Business and Economics and not Politics now these days increasingly become the biggest guarantor of stability.
Thank you Ananda.

That is exactly why military conflict between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is a very remote possibility.

Nonetheless, it does not prevent people from postulating such scenarios of military that is divorced from the reality due to the very high cost of all involved should such a conflict break-out.

Also, in the event of such a conflict, the shipping lanes through Southeast Asia, in particular the Malacca Strait, will be affected. Those countries that rely on imported oil passing through Malacca Strait to run their economy (such as China, Japan and South Korea) will certainly not sit idlely by and watch the conflict unfold. Cutting those energy supply lines will produce a serious shock to their economies.
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Old June 25th, 2012   #56
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Indonesia has acquired Yakhont from Russia and already test it, the range is 300+ km.

And also already aquired C-705 Chinese missile technology to produce at Indonesia, the range is 100+ km. Some said that Indonesia want to produce up to 1000 C-705 at 2014.
Both missiles you mentioned are anti-ship missiles. What will really raise eyebrows will be if a country acquires missiles like the Brahmos, in large quantities.

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But, with this progress from Indonesia, will it take serious to capability Singapore Air Force ?
As I have indicated previously, for the TNI to reach parity with the SAF, the defence budget would have to be significantly increased over the long run. And the TNI still has much larger peacetime commitments as Indonesia is a much, much larger country and will not be able to devote all its resources to dealing with the SAF.
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Old June 25th, 2012   #57
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Both missiles you mentioned are anti-ship missiles. What will really raise eyebrows will be if a country acquires missiles like the Brahmos, in large quantities.



As I have indicated previously, for the TNI to reach parity with the SAF, the defence budget would have to be significantly increased over the long run. And the TNI still has much larger peacetime commitments as Indonesia is a much, much larger country and will not be able to devote all its resources to dealing with the SAF.
Yes, I agree. Indonesia would be far better off investing in interisland transport capability at present. After this is done, maybe then, they can build up their air force.
I wonder how useful a large army would be in such a country as all of those islands would be impossible to defend and a defence planners nightmare, I'd think!

Sorry if this is slightly off topic.
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Old June 30th, 2012   #58
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Yes, I agree. Indonesia would be far better off investing in interisland transport capability at present. After this is done, maybe then, they can build up their air force.
I wonder how useful a large army would be in such a country as all of those islands would be impossible to defend and a defence planners nightmare, I'd think!

Sorry if this is slightly off topic.
IMO the way the TNI is organised [e.g. Kostrad] fully reflects the operational requirements of the TNI-AD due to the country's unique geography - the need to have the ability to rapidly move troops to all corners of the vast archipelago at short notice. They learnt this the hard way, from the 1950s onwards, when a series of bush wars fought against various nationalist groups and campaigns fought in East Timor and Irian Jaya led to the need to have units that could be rapidly deployed. The fact that TNI is not making additional efforts to 'conventionalise' the TNI-AD [the purchase of Leopards included which is part of a modernisation plan and not part of a plan to change the force structure of the TNI-AD into 'heavier units'] I think is also due to the realisation that the chances of a full scale war with a neighbour is unlikely and that any future threats will still be of a low intensity kind, the kind the TNI has been facing for the past few decades.
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Old June 30th, 2012   #59
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Yes, I agree. Indonesia would be far better off investing in interisland transport capability at present.
Indonesia is investing in inter-island transport capability. It has a lot of it, & has been buying more.
Makasar-class LPDs
Numerous transport ships, mostly ex-civilian
New licence-built C-295 & second hand C-130H transport aircraft, & refurbishment of old C-130s
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Old July 2nd, 2012   #60
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Funny enough, most Malaysians I know, 'prefer' and have fonder sentiments for Singapore rather than Indonesia. But I really think that personal opinions on off topic subjects should best be left out, don't you?.
I believe what he meant was not about a subjective matter. He just said it in a wrong way. Indeed Indonesia have more problems with Malaysia than Singapore, started from unfinished territorial disputes in Ambalat which if not well managed could spark into an open conflict. Some Indonesians still feel bitter due to the lost of Sipadan and Ligitan.
This created some hatred which fueled some problems such as migrant workers issues, cultural problems, etc., which is actually seems irrelevant and overdue.

The only issue between Indonesia and Singapore is on extradition of those considered Indonesian "corruptor" in Singapore, who is rumored to park a large sum of money there. But I don`t think this would create conflict between the two countries. After all the US will not attack Canada or Mexico because of their criminals escape across the border.

Just like Ananda said, Singapore is too important for Indonesia economically, and most Indonesian riches have residence in Singapore and most top level Indonesian officials prefer to go to Singapore hospitals. Actually even Malaysia is considered important for Indonesia considering more than 2 millions Indonesian are working there, a statement that has been used by the government to calm down hard liner nationalist in the time of tension with Malaysia.

Anyway, back to Singapore air force, I think they have a strong air force not only as an implementation of Civis pacem para bellum.

Why people forget that defense technology is actually very useful in civilian life too? Singapore is the richest country is ASEAN now, they have a lot of money. They have the best research universities too. I wonder if anybody could describe about the result of Singapore defense spending in providing first class workforce for their economy, such as civilian pilots, aerospace engineers, etc who get their first training during their draft in the military?
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