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The best strategy to defending Singapore Island

Discussion in 'Strategy & Tactics' started by Twister, Dec 31, 2008.

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  1. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 3 of 4: Deterrence Explained
    6. Deterrence “is the use of a threat (explicit or not) by one party in an attempt to convince another party not to upset status quo” (Quackenbush, 2010: 60). More specifically, deterrence is the persuasion of an aggressor that the cost and/or risk of a given course of action he might take outweighs its benefits (George & Smoke, 1974: 11). Consequently, deterrence is a mutual relationship that involves communication and signaling and assumes that states in competition or conflict make decisions in accordance with rational cost-benefit calculations that can be manipulated (Mazarr & Goodby, 2011). Just because an aggressor acquires the capability to fire cruise or ballistic missiles does not mean the SAF is deterred — because Singapore practices Total Defence. Total Defence encompasses six key pillars – military, civil, economic, social, psychological and digital defence – and focuses on the need for each Singaporean or Singapore volunteer (i.e. locals without NS obligations or foreign nationals volunteering to serve an abbreviated version of NS) play his or her part to keep the country strong. Total Defence Day is marked annually on February 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the surrender of the British to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.

    7. On the flip side, Singapore aims to deter an aggressor using two main methods: denying benefits or imposing costs.

    One, deterrence by denial involves convincing the aggressor that it will not reach its objective, or that the perceived benefits are of little or no value — which is success by any measure since 1967 to 1990.

    Two, deterrence by imposing costs, or punishment, and that the cost of a counter-attack significant — which has been successful since 1991 (see page 9 prior Post 3 of 5: Defusing tensions while standing our ground and working with partners). Further, it was reported that Mahathir said Singapore “may be small”, but it was more powerful than Malaysia. He said that he did not see war as “a means to settle conflicts”. He said that he’d rather sit down to negotiate, even though there may be no result, than go to war. In this specific case, Malaysia made no progress, gave up on its intrusive approach and sought rapprochement at a May 2019 Leader’s Retreat.


    Only if deterrence and diplomacy, fail, does the SAF have to secure a swift and decisive victory over that aggressor. And there is no doubt that the Singapore military can do what it says, and it is a factor in an aggressor’s calculations.

    8. Edit: Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on 7 Oct 2019 to a supplementary question by MP Christopher de Souza, who had asked if Singapore has the assets to counter attacks by military-grade unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Dr Ng said that most militaries, including the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), are "more confident" when it comes to dealing with "sophisticated" drones. "(For) the Saudi attack, the alleged components that were used or platforms (that) were used, we are quite confident that we would have detected it, as well as been able to neutralise it."

    • As part of defence diplomacy, Singapore hosts the annual Shangri-La dialogue — as a small country capable of supporting peace efforts and advocating its own interests, effectively, at the international stage (see paragraph 5 (ii) earlier).
    9. Not sure why you want to talk like a fanboy and call us ''partners in crime'' of the USA — given Singapore’s advanced military capabilities, ‘non-aligned’ posture and strong defence relations with numerous parties that do not see eye to eye. With regard to 4 of the P5 UNSC members, Singapore has strong relations with:

    • the Americans (the 1990 MOU will be renewed and extended in Sep 2019);
    • the English (read up on the Sep 2018 Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding and on the FPDA and it’s role);
    • the French (2019 is the 20th anniversary of the Singapore’s advanced jet training in Cazaux, France); and
    • the Chinese (with Singapore also upgrading of its defence ties with China in Oct 2019).

    10. No you do not. You misunderstand Singapore’s military options for escalation in a conventional war scenario — a ballistic missile attack on Singapore gives us Casus belli — right to war. Any aggressor state’s military options must take into consideration the likelihood of retaliation. Any attack on Singapore, if it successfully occurs, only invites a response from the SAF, until Singapore is satisfied. With a defence budget of S$15.5 billion for FY2019 (up from S$14.8 billion for FY2018), Singapore is the most densely defended country in Southeast Asia. See also: Spotter’s Guide: NDP 2019 Mobile Column and A Perspective on Singapore - Proliferated Drones as a backgrounder on options and capability.

    11. How Singapore fights an aggressor is going to be dictated by:

    • Our perceived threat matrix.
    • The type of force structure Singapore has built to address the said threat matrix (details provided in prior posts).
    • Where the fight may occur and its terrain or geographic features.
    • What Singapore is trying to accomplish (mission/goal).
    • Other concerns (foreign policy, etc.)
    Which means, the SAF is not preparing to fight a hostile nuclear power or Indonesia, alone. IMO, hostilities between Indonesia and Singapore is unlikely, as the TNI and the SAF train together and have a record of working together. From 17 to 26 Sep 2019, the two neighbours successfully conducted the 31st edition of Exercise Safkar Indopura, that involved 470 personnel, comprising troops from Headquarters 3rd SIB and 5th Battalion, SIR from the Singapore Army, as well as troops from the 16th Mechanised Infantry Brigade and the 512th, 516th and 521st Mechanised Infantry Battalions from the TNI-AD.

    Other examples include the SAF’s UAV command’s deployment of the Scout RPV to provide intelligence to the TNI to resolve the Mapenduma hostage crisis in 1996. Further, Singapore provides a submarine rescue service for the Indonesian Navy. It also provides the Indonesian Navy with the Surpic II information sharing portal, a sea surveillance system, set up since 2005, to provide maritime awareness of the Singapore Strait. Under a Defence Cooperation Agreement, Singapore provides training assistance to the TNI, including G-Tolerance trainer and Super Puma simulator trainer, and professional courses like the Combined Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. To date, hundreds of TNI-AU pilots have undergone simulator training in Singapore, and 10 TNI-AU instructors have graduated from the Combined Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. Marking five decades of bilateral defence relations, the RSAF and TNI-AU executed a combined 20 F-16 flypast on 7 Sep 2017, over Singapore.

    12. Besides, any surprise attack on Singapore is an attack on the US logistics presence and as ngatimozart noted this hurts the interests of our FPDA partners, like Australia, UK and NZ — which ensures that Singapore will have external support for what we need to do to remove the threat. Our Changi naval base also currently hosts International Liaison Officers from 18 countries — an attack on Singapore is an attack on officers from 18 countries. For geo-political details, read the thread on ‘South China Sea thoughts?’, as a backgrounder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 5:35 AM
  2. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 4 of 4: Importance of geography and context
    13. This is a real concern and there is some investment in this area.
    14. For giggles, it is also possible to argue that by 2050, Indonesia’s military capability will be close to par, when compared with that of Pakistan (who is so impoverished with a 2018 GDP of USD278 billion), given Indonesia's larger USD 1.1 trillion dollar economy in 2018.
    15. This aspect of your discussion, ignoring geography, can’t be serious. A country cannot change its locale or geography. You can’t teleport countries or use a dimensional ‘gate’ to move armies, like that of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea or Japan, to invade Singapore. In addition, why would you list such a dubious choice and be so silly as to consider Iran as militarily advanced (when compared to Indonesia)? Let me list the reasons why I would not use Iran as an example:

    • Iran does not have a modern air force (when compared to TNI AU’s 4 squadrons of modern fighters). Iran’s out dated air force is very much inferior in capability when compared with Singapore’s tertiary air force — that regularly takes part in DACT exercises like ‘Exercise Red Flag’. Other than Iran’s HESA Saeqeh (F-5 clone), Mig 29s and Su-24s, the vast majority of Iranian fighter aircraft are of late 70s vintage (i.e. obsolete).
    • After eight years of fighting in the Iran-Iraq war, neither side could really claim victory. Both Iran and Iraq suffered devastating loses of men, materiel, and financial resources in the 1980s. You can even speculate or argue that officer cadre in the TNI are much more tactically competent than Iran’s army officers due to access to international connections that is not available to Iran — with the Americans, Australians and Singaporeans helping the TNI modernise it’s equipment and TTPs, in wide ranging defence cooperation. Not sure why you would list Iran, as a militarily advanced country, given their army’s prior less than competent human wave tactics (and 3rd rate equipment) during the Iran-Iraq war (Sep 1980 to Aug 1988).
    • Iran has compensated for its lack of a modern air force by developing long range strike capabilities. However, the country lacks intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The boosters and other technologies Iran is building for its space launch vehicles, particularly the Simorgh, are similar to those needed for ICBMs, meaning they could be converted to that purpose if desired. In fact, the space launch vehicles were built as an extension of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
    • As an objective observer, Indonesia as a G-20 member and larger country, has a more capable air force and is much more powerful as a country, when it is compared to Iran. Indonesia co-founded and leads 9 other ASEAN countries, to create an open and inclusive security architecture — ADMM Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum are examples of its diplomatic power. Who does Iran lead, as an isolated middle power? Iran is caught between a rock and a hard place (that is not even qualified to be a G-2o member). In time I hope that you will become capable of critical thinking and stop blindly buying into Iranian propaganda.

    16. It is a pity that the basis to support your view is using anime logic (like The Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There). The very capable JSDF do not have the forward air bases, naval logistics (to move more than a brigade) or the will to invade Singapore. More importantly, read more about Article 9 of their constitution. If you like anime, here’s a video on the Singapore Army with an anime soundtrack, as I am a big fan of the export of Japanese culture.

    17. While the military forces of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan are substantial, they lack the forward air bases, don’t have the naval logistics and lack the will to project power from their home bases to Singapore in the face of determined resistance by a 5 fighter squadron tertiary air force and an advanced navy. While South Korea may have the naval logistics capability to move 2 or more divisions, they lack air bases in South East Asia (to forward deploy 10 to 14 fighter squadrons as a tertiary air force) and have much bigger worries at home (aka North Korea and their immediate NE Asian neighbours).



    18. Agreed. Artillery threats, be they shells, mortars and rockets against Singapore main island has been around before Singapore gained her independence and during WWII, the crown colony was shelled by the Japanese Imperial Army. It is not something new and the SAF’s force structure is designed for forward defence to manage this threat, as the RSAF has the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon integrated with its F-15SGs and F-16Vs. It is very much a key part of SAF`s contingency plans — see my prior ‘Post 1 of 2: Why Ahmad’s 2 prior posts are not logical’. Rocket artillery systems are shoot and scoot — so well suited for high intensity warfare. It is known that the Malaysians have paired their Astros II with their Arthur counter artillery radar as a system to kill any enemy artillery system within range of any of their Astros II battery. Their system will kill within 10 to 15 mins of detection, so the Malaysian artillery are quick in their response time. The ASTROS II ARS will fire the SS-60 300mm rocket, which has a minimum range of 20km and a maximum range of 60km, and the SS-80 300mm rocket, which has a range of 20-80km. In the longer term, the system would be capable of firing rockets with guidance system to provide a more precision effect.

    19. SSJArcher Krich does not realise that 122mm, 239mm and 300mm rocket attacks do not work to induce surrender; due to the substantial precision attack (up to 72 km) and counter battery capabilities of the Singapore Army, explained in prior posts. Singapore uses a combination of PRIMUS (155 mm/39 calibre — 30km range), HIMARS (227mm M270 rockets — 72km range), the SAFARI Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) and UAVs to support the army division — which is by design, long ranged with a slightly faster response time as part of the divisional artillery brigade.

    20. IMO, he is unable to tell the difference in the effect and range of rockets (below 300mm) versus larger ballistic missiles (i.e. capable of long range attack that Singapore’s Aster and other missiles has some ability to counter). Missile shields can leak, which is why the concept of deterrence is so important.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  3. Preceptor

    Preceptor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A reminder to all (for some this is gentle, for others no so much) keep post content On Topic for the thread a member is posting in. SSJArcher Kirch has been banned for a minimum of six months, for making a series of 11 posts today in this thread that had large segments of content which had no relevance to Singapore. Instead the Off Topic content was most often about claimed defence capabilities of another nation which is not even in the same part of the world as Singapore. Given the large volume of Off Topic material which would have to be edited out, the entire string of posts has instead removed for now while options are being discussed.
    -Preceptor

    EDIT: Following a review of the removed posts and discussion between Moderators, the posts have been purged and SSJArcher Kirch has now been Permanently Banned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  4. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 1 of 2: Ignorance corrected
    A few factual errors or lack of logic in your 11 deleted posts, one of which is quoted above. IMO you should not just disagree, for no relevant reason. It’s not worth the time to reply to all your misguided points but I can quickly reply to a select few below:

    1. Dr Ng was commissioned as an army medical officer in his younger days and it is traditional that the Minster of Defence, he serves in that role as a civilian. I don’t see your point. Why would you to bring up Chan Chun Sing (the former Chief of Army, who retired as a Major General)?

    • There are numerous generals and rear admirals who have served in the cabinet, including Prime Minister Lee (who retired as a Brigadier General from the Army). PM Lee is the first senior wrangler from Singapore (Senior wranglers, like PM Lee have gone on to play leading figures in the world of mathematics, physics and other fields).
    • Singapore’s elected political leaders are typically rotated to other positions/ministries to develop a broad view, after retiring from the SAF to enter politics (as a civilian). Chan Chun Sing, who has a first class degree in economics from Cambridge, is also trilingual making him effective in engaging with leaders in Indonesia, China, UK and the US. I note that Chan Chun Sing excelled as a student at the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1998, and was the first foreign student to be conferred the "Distinguished Master Strategist Award" and he was also inducted into the hall of fame of the US Army Command and General Staff College in Nov 2013.
    • IMO, he is being groomed to be the next Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security. If Chan Chun Sing performs in his current role, he will eventually replace Teo Chee Hean (who retired as Rear Admiral from the Navy), as part of leadership renewal.
    Again, I don’t see your point.

    2. The general trend is about 45 deaths in Singapore from military training each 10 year period (or about 4.5 a year). There are some years where the rate is zero. The risk is managed (i.e. lower than the risk of being struck by lightning on a golf course in Singapore), given that Singapore trains in 10 countries.

    • Minimising this rate through better safety measures, as the Defence Minister explained in parliament is ‘care for men’?
    • Are you trying to say that the more people die (in human wave attacks, like Iran), the better an army is? In contrast to Iran, since independence, Singapore has strived to invest in her most valuable resource—the people—and this strategy will remain apposite for the nation. After all, the technological capabilities that the SAF will induct and processes used can only be as good as the soldiers who will be operating them.
    • "Not only does [Singapore] have high-end equipment, they know how to operate it in a very high level of capability. It's integrated, as opposed to all the other countries in Southeast Asia," said Brian Harding, the deputy director the Center for Strategic & International Studies' Southeast Asia Program. "They focus on making sure their systems work together, and that they have interoperability between the services. They are a highly professional military," Harding said.
    Therefore, I see no correlation between training deaths (or deliberately sending men to their deaths in human wave attacks by Iran) and a country’s ability to retain a military capability.
    3. Some minor corrections on capability in relation to your TNI and SAF comparisons:

    • The Yakhont has a range of 300 km and in April 2011, the TNI-AL frigate fired a Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missile during a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean. According to TNI-AL, the missile took about six minutes to travel 250 kilometres to score a direct hit on the target;
    • Singapore has AESA equipped fighters and navy ships; and
    • Singapore’s longer ranged missiles are the Aster and harpoon missiles, which are European and American made. They are not Israeli made.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
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  5. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Post 2 of 2: Shooting down retired aces and determining the correct level of self sufficiency
    4. How are old Iranian aces from history going to help an obsolete Iranian Air Force, today? Iranian loss ratios may be horrendous against any capable tertiary air force — this underscores the value of electronic warfare, the benefits of using early warning aircraft (like the G550 AEW), access to modern BVR missiles (i.e. the ability of Singapore to buy weapons globally from the Americans, the Europeans, or Israelis, instead of being forced to invent our own) and careful air warfare planning to Suppress Enemy Air Defences by attack or destruction of SAM sites (SEAD mission).

    In addition, the SEAD mission is complex discipline that capable air forces need to master, if they want to be relevant to land or naval battles. Much of the success of recent SEAD operations is due to the ability (and willingness) of modern tertiary air forces to address IADS in a somewhat flexible and holistic manner. Further, how is the competence or incompetence of the Iranian Air Force or Iranian Army relevant to the defence of Singapore? Off topic much.

    5. Choosing our level of self sufficiency is great — as MINDEF can focus on developing only key capabilities in a strategic manner. For infantry fighting vehicles (eg. Terrex, Hunter, Bionix, Trailblazer, and Bronco) and 155mm artillery, Singapore is entirely self sufficient and Singapore even owns some foreign companies that make some of these parts.

    • IMO not having to make/invent our AESA equipped fighter aircraft (F-16Vs, F-15SGs and F-35s on order), helicopters (Chinooks, Apaches, Seahawk’s and H225Ms on order), or submarines (Type 218SGs on order), saves money.
    • The SAF has taken a long- term view about its operational capabilities. In fact, it has gained the reputation as a ‘reference buyer’ for many other foreign militaries in this regard. For instance, the acquisition of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) F-15SG took seven years of careful evaluation, going through many rounds of deliberation. Prudence is essential to ensure that the SAF optimises its limited resources to enhance deterrence through its meticulous approach. This approach has allowed steady innovation, with a keen eye on the strategic environment and operational requirements. Buying from established suppliers and integrating them as solutions ensures that Singapore does not have to reinvent the wheel and is able to source equipment globally, that best suits the SAF’s concept of operations.
    Again, I see no simple correlation on total self-sufficiency and effective combat capability.

    6. Is this your poor attempt at making your point? Singapore before separation from Malaya (with the 1st and 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiments who were fighting outside of Singapore) during the Konfrontasi, suffered from 37 bombs that went off in Singapore. A significant number of people being subject to these Indonesian bomb attacks were either new immigrants or foreigners at that time — there was fear and anger but no mass exodus from Singapore. IMO, there will be concern over attacks (and some foreigners will go home, as expected) but there are also bomb shelters in numerous locations, and a proper civil defence warning system that is tested and can be heard in every housing estate. A further example is Saudi Arabia, who is under missile and drone attacks (over 250 attacks) recently, and there is no exodus of their foreign contractors. It is not so easy to attack Singapore, as the country is protected by a capable anti-missile shield that includes Aster missiles. As usual making your claims without context, supporting logic or reasoning.


    7. But you are the one continuing to make silly ahistorical arguments. Again you give an example that disprove your point. For example, due to terrain and it’s tactics, Vietnam successfully fought France and the US to unify the North and South. Between 13 March and 7 May 1954, General Võ Nguyên Giáp inflicted a serious defeat for the French at Dien Bien Phu and this was a decisive battle of the 1st Indochina war. While the Americans (and their numerous allies who fought there) may have won many battles during the 2nd Indochina war in South Vietnam, they also lost the war. Don’t underestimate Vietnamese military capability — as they share a land border with China.

    8. What is the basis for your opinion on armies in ASEAN? For that matter, have you trained with troops in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand? There are regular bilateral and multilateral military training exercises in each ASEAN country and under ADMM Plus, which gives external observers and analysts some confidence in military cooperation and capability, for a range of contingencies, to address security concerns in the region. Below is a video of Indonesian (521 motorised infantry battalion) and Singaporean (5 SIR) motorised infantry battalions training together. In every post, you are confident but confidently wrong, especially about ASEAN military capabilities — as seen from the video — motorisation with armour protection, supported by Leopard 2s and self propelled artillery is a huge doctrinal advance in the combined arms capabilities for both the TNI and SAF.



    9. Most Europeans are not planning to fight Iran. Even if the Australians and others join the American led coalition (aka a coalition of the unwilling comprising of the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Kingdom and Australia), it is an effort to protect vessels in the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the narrow Strait of Hormuz. These six countries are joining to send naval task groups to police waters near the Persian Gulf to address Iran’s export of terror and limit its range of actions. There is no plan to invade Iran because:

    (i) it is not an existential threat or a strategic competitor to the US; and

    (ii) the lessons learnt from the 2003 invasion of Iraq makes America more circumscribe in its use of power. While US retain capability to invade Iran, they lack the desire to spend significant sums of money or waste lives on another messy occupation, with no end in sight.

    It is nonsensical to talk about Iranian deterrence, when Iran is the aggressor with its attacks against commercial shipping — Iran is trying to change the status quo. I suspect you cannot even say that Iran’s existing capabilities serve as deterrence (to the entire list of countries, as a coalition, as mentioned by you). In particular, Arab countries will not want to be a coalition with Israel (but are willing to look the other way on their air strikes in Syria). It looks like you do not even understand Iran’s actual circumstance or regional security dynamics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  6. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Highlights of the interview with Rear Admiral Lew Chuen Hong of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN):

    Singapore – A Maritime Nation

    Singapore is a maritime nation. We are reliant on the sea for our survival and prosperity. Without the sea, our way of life will be disrupted. The sea plays a part in our day-to-day life, every day – from the strength of our economy to the food we consume.
    • The maritime industry contributes about 7% to Singapore's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs more than 170,000 personnel, and there are more than 5,000 maritime establishments in Singapore. Worldwide, Singapore also has the highest trade to GDP ratios, at more than 300%. Singapore is also one of the world's busiest trans-shipment hubs, with an average of 140,000 vessels calling into Singapore annually.
    • The sea is the most cost-effective means to move large quantities of goods and raw materials around the world. The cargo capacity of a container ship is equivalent to the capacity of 800 Boeing 747 planes. Today, more than 90% of the world's trade is transported via the sea.
    • Singapore imports over 90% of the food consumed in the country. In 2018, Singapore imported about 5.6 million tonnes of food from more than 180 countries worldwide. The top three countries that Singapore imported food from via sea-freight were Australia, Thailand and China. 99% of rice imports and 84% of fish imports were via sea-freight.
    The Sea – A Global Commons

    One of the elements for global trade to thrive is free and open access to the sea. However, consensus on a set of rules that everyone abides by is essential to keep the seas open. Mare Liberum, or "freedom of the seas" is underpinned by the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Continued stability and prosperity depends on working with like-minded nations to preserve this shared space through agreed rules such as UNCLOS. Without rules and norms, shared spaces such as the maritime space will break down.

    RSN – Defending Our Every Day

    The RSN works with national agencies and international partners to ensure that all users can continue to access the sea unimpeded. At home, the eight Independence Class vessels deter and neutralise security threats, including maritime terrorism, together with other national agencies as part of the whole-of-government National Maritime Security System that is able to give Singapore better maritime domain awareness with the introduction of the 5 Maritime Patrol Aircraft in 1993. It was a breakaway from the conventional mindset of using only military-qualified platforms for military applications. The project team, assessed the feasibility of the Fokker 50 airframe to accept structural modification to install the mission systems and carry weapons. This involved the introduction of some major structural frames into the fuselage to carry the concentrated loads. A pair of “stub wings” (a short cambered wing protrusion from the fuselage) was introduced to carry the Harpoon anti-ship missile. Hard points were also introduced into the wing to carry search-and-rescue pods. Further assessments were also made to ensure structural strength adequacy for increased fuel capacity and consequently increased maximum-take-off Weight (MTOW) for longer endurance flights. As a result of increasing the MTOW, an assessment of the engine performance was required to determine the impact on take-off distance and climb gradient to ensure safety.

    For RSN’s maritime surveillance mission from the air, the main sensor of the Fokker-50 MPA was the radar. In order to have a 360-degree radar coverage, the best place to install the radar was in the belly of the aircraft. Ground clearance was a challenge. The radar had to be embedded into the airframe as far as possible. Part of the radar had to penetrate into the pressurised cabin of the fuselage. This required design reinforcements in a sensitive part of the fuselage. A “pressure bucket” was introduced to seal off the penetration. Fatigue assessments had to be carried out to ensure adequacy of the reinforcements to withstand the ground-air-ground pressurisation cycles during operation. Even then, the ground clearance was not enough. The radar antenna needed to be reshaped to reduce its profile so that it would not strike the ground in the event of a heavy landing with burst tyres.

    RSN also contributes to regional and international maritime security efforts through initiatives such as the Malacca Straits Patrol and the Information Fusion Centre, and exercises such as the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise, the ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise and Western Pacific Naval Symposium Multilateral Sea Exercise. In addition, the RSN commits to international security efforts and has deployed its Endurance Class and Formidable Class vessel to distant waters to keep sea lines of communication open, such as through multinational counter-piracy operations under Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in the Gulf of Aden. It is only when sea lanes remain open across the world that Singapore can continue to thrive as a maritime nation.

     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  7. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Very informative, thank you for sharing OPSSG.

    One thing I personally find very surprising is the work of the Singapore defense industry. They have impressive domestic R&D capability especially when you consider how small Singapore is demographically and economically. From small arms to armored vehicles and artillery, it's quite surprising. It shows a persistent political will and commitment of resources, especially in the post-Cold War era when many other nations consistently cut their defense spending.
     
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  8. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for your kind words. Let me share the trade-offs and decisions made by the defence eco-system:

    1. The roots of this R&D and defence industrial base efforts goes back to 1972, when Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Minister for Defence, handpicked three newly graduated engineers to study Electronic Warfare (EW), for a naval platform. The group of 3 called themselves the Electronics Test Centre (ETC) and started the path towards developing defence technologies for Singapore. Beyond cultivating close defence ties with foreign suppliers and giving thanks to Oman, Thailand, UAE and UK for buying Singapore made weapons and ships, the eco-system is also grateful to external institutions like:

    (i) the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, which was instrumental in training our personnel to help Singapore integrate the E-2Cs into the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s command and control information systems, whose origins can be traced to the mid-1980s. Further, 12 engineers from DSO were attached to the then Grumman Corporation to participate in the design, development, coding and testing of the E-2C’s software — this was a building block for the C2 software development in MINDEF. This significant investment would later pay off in the E-2C upgrade and Frigate C2 development for the RSN and helped kick start DSTA’s system of systems engineering approach; and

    (ii) ONERA Supelec (Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité - France), which joined with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and DSO (Singapore’s national defense R&D organization), to create SONDRA a joint France-Singapore laboratory. At SONDRA, a Singaporean-French team of researchers will focus and conduct defence R&D in the areas of advanced electromagnetics and radar. In the future, research may be expanded to other important areas that are of mutual interest.

    2. These linkages are like seeds that grow into trees for Singapore’s limited but focused efforts on defence procurement, EW and R&D. More importantly, these institutional linkages enable many of our scientists and engineers to get the necessary science and engineering foundation and their continuing education after they start work. As you correctly noted, Singapore is committed to investing and developing its defence industrial base, R&D base, EW capabilities and acquisition expertise; but is not doing it alone. Working in defence science partnerships with the Americans, the French, the Germans, the Swedes, the Israelis and others, enable Singapore to go further than travelling alone. The goal is to collaborate to go far; not just go fast. For example, in conjunction with the launch of RSS Invincible (Type 218SG), DSTA signed a MOU with the manufacturer thyssenkrupp Marine Systems to open up new avenues for technology collaboration. Under the MOU, both organisations will explore the use of additive manufacturing as an innovative and cost-effective method for producing submarine spare parts.

    3. Over the longer term, these investments in DSO and DSTA will enable Singapore to spend less over the life cycle of a platform (be it a ship, aircraft or any other platform) by deciding where innovation is required upfront/at IOC, what features to permanently forgo and what to delay in implantation (while waiting for the technology to mature). For example:

    • The ‘Design for Support’ approach was also incorporated upfront to deliver a Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) that is easy to manage, operate, maintain and train. DSTA implemented a Swedish made composite topside and stacked-mast for the RSN. Inspected by the Försvarets materielverk (Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) before delivery to Singapore, the stacked mast reduces topside weight, maximises sensor coverage while providing an enclosed environment for the equipment, thereby improving equipment and system reliability. The ease of access to the equipment allows maintenance to be carried out more efficiently without the need for erecting external staging, compared to traditional open mast designs. Further, to optimise manpower required to operate the LMV for maritime security operations, DSTA integrated and co-located the three distinct control areas, namely the Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room into a single location.
    • For cost avoidance, RSN has elected to delay the installation of the NG MICA on the LMV until the French DGA gives its approval for production in the 2026 to 2030 time frame (enabling the RSN to retire the cost effective anti-missile/counter rocket capability provided by the Barak 1 on the upgraded Victory class). More specifically, the NG MICA infrared seeker will use a matrix sensor providing greater sensitivity. Meanwhile the radio frequency seeker will use be AESA, enabling smart detection strategies. The reduced volume of electronic components within MICA NG will allow it to carry a larger quantity of propellant, increasing range. Utilising a new double-pulse rocket motor will also provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight to improve its ability to intercept targets at long range. The integration of the NG MICA with the Thales NS100 will be a spiral upgrade for the LMVs that requires French support at their instrumented range.
    • The UAV pilot and payload operator were previously segregated roles which required separate training. To achieve greater flexibility in employing the limited manpower resource, the Singapore team required Israel Aerospace Industries to integrate the two roles through a unified flight and payload training programme. DSTA broke new ground in the development of the Ground Control Station (GCS) software and the datalink system for the Heron 1 UAV. The GCS software specification is key to reducing operating and training costs.
    • The F-15SG acquisition team anticipated that a newer version of the aircraft’s engine would be available soon. As the newer General Electric F110 engine requires one less overhaul cycle during its lifetime, the F-15SG acquisition team recommended to hold the purchase of spare engines and to acquire the most advanced version in the market, at a later date. This achieved a total cost savings of more than US$10 million per life cycle for spare engines.
    4. The Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Team, comprising members from DSTA, Singapore Army and ST Engineering, clinched the 2019 DTP Team (Engineering) Award for designing and developing the Singapore Army’s first fully digitalised fighting platform that is equipped with the Trophy Active Protection System on the SAMSON Turret. The team adopted a new model-based systems engineering and design to create the first-of-its-kind Integrated Combat Cockpit, which would enable the Hunter AFV’s crew to collaborate effectively with one another and engage targets rapidly. The five Hunter variants - Combat, Command, Bridgelayer, Recovery and Armoured Engineer - have features that make this new class of AFV unique. Sensors on the Hunter give the crew a 360-degree view around the vehicle. At the heart of the digitalised combat platform is the battlefield management system, ARTEMIS that improves the Hunter's situational awareness in all weather and for non-line of sight (NLOS) applications, given that the Hunter has 2 NLOS missiles in the SAMSON Turret supplied by Rafael.


    5. The Hunter AFV’s successful development in Singapore, with its Integrated Combat Cockpit, has triggered Israel to launch the Carmel armored fighting vehicle project under its Weapons Development Administration (known in Hebrew by its acronym Mafat). As part of the program, the Mafat gave Elbit, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries — the task of testing the feasibility of a closed tank that is operated by only two soldiers, instead of the current four, and encouraged them to integrate as many “automatic and autonomous systems as possible” in order to function as a “third soldier” of sorts, the ministry spokesperson said.

    6. Most importantly, the Singapore defence ecology dares to dream and take some risk, with ST Engineering competing for contracts in the US, Europe and Middle East. They are also paying for and integrating systems without a launch customer for Europe (based on their understanding of the market) — the Bronco 3, paired with the 120 mm Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System Mk II along with IAI’s Green Rock C-RAM, is a good example of this incremental risk taking approach.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019