The best strategy to defending Singapore Island


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I'm betting my stay is very short. You're only shooting yourself in the foot.

I read the posts in the thread. Here's a quick replay some of the absolutely incredible replies:

2 - Singapore should strike first. Great answer, and the world would take the other countries side and assist them and the UN would condemn Singapore and the USN would never stop there again.

3 - There is no best strategy because it's too complicated. So because you can't figure it out there is no answer.

4 - No one would invade Singapore because everyone needs Singapore too much. Taking over a country allows you to control their port, their companies, and steal from the hard work of others.

5 - To invade would require a formidable navy? Except there is a bridge and a causeway that tanks could cross in minutes and the Johor strait is not very wide so amphibious vehicles and helicopter borne troops can get across quickly.

7 - The attack would be a seaborne invasion? Not if it comes from Malaysia it won't.

8 - Again, why would anyone want to invade Singapore? That's not what the OP asked. And, maybe you should research history a bit?

10 - The USN is in Singapore so no one would ever attack Singapore. 100 US sailors is not much of a deterent. MacArthur had 60,000 troops in the Philippines and he ran away after the Philippines President gave him $500,000 and he left the troops to the Bataan death march. Everyone thinks all the wars are over when they're not.

11 - Details weapons that Singapore should get. I actually like that response, not the AIM-7 Sparrows or Hawks though. Do those even exist anymore?

15 - Get ballistic missiles from China? You mean the ones that have an accuracy in miles, not feet, which makes them about useless as a military weapon except for use against large cities that we can't hit anymore unless we are Saddam Hussein?

16 - This post has a tiny bit of merit.

18 - Singapore has an air force unit in France so an attack won't take out all of Singapores military? Wow, and the air force guys in France are going to get back to Singapore to fight how exactly? Those must be some very long range aircraft with really big fuel tanks.

19 - No one would attack Singapore without Malaysia or Indonesia getting involved. Unless Malaysia attacks. If China attacks I bet you ten bucks that Malaysia and Indonesia don't do a dam thing.

It doesn't matter what kind of equipment you have if most of it gets destroyed in the first strike and almost every war and attack for the last 100 years has been a sneak attack: Japan attacking Russia, Germany invading France then Russia, Japan invading China, Japan attacking the US, Arab countries against Israel twice, Israel against the arab countries, Iraq against Iran, Iraq against Kuwait, ISIS attacks in Syria and Iraq, and constant arab terrorist attacks in the US and Europe, all sneak attacks.

You guys think you are really something special in the world of strategy? Let me guess, half of you learned about strategy and weapons from playing video games and the other half of you were cooks in the Coast Guard? Right?
So what you are saying that if someone deployed an Army with 2-3 Hundred Tousand Troops, a couple of thousand Armoured Vehicles just across the Malaysian Border, Singapore would not notice. The 1st thing they would do is make that Causeway unpassable. Singapore is the largest most important Port in Asia if not the World. Every country in Asia understands this and if Singapore decided to invade Malaysia to take out that Army a number of Countries would not only support that decision but may even join in.
100 US Personnel is not a deterent they are backed up by 1.5 million personnel and that is a deterent, only maniacs p*** of the Americans ask Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Ladin.
There is a huge difference between 1942 and today, the Militaries in SE Asia are fully independent, unlikely to be fighting a war in Europe and the Japanese had complete Air and Sea superiority in 1942. Singapore was doomed in 1942 but today it has one of the most powerful Militaries in SE Asia and a number of Allies that would step up to defend it.
Using Australia as an example, 90% of our trade comes through the Port of Singapore cut that lifeline and you stuff Australia big time. Australia and Singapore have a close relationship and so does the US, we are very happy with the current Political set up in Singapore and we will oppose any change to a more hostile Regime, it is simply too Strategically important to Australia for us not to oppose any changes.


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So what you are saying that if someone deployed an Army with 2-3 Hundred Tousand Troops, a couple of thousand Armoured Vehicles just across the Malaysian Border, Singapore would not notice. The 1st thing they would do is make that Causeway unpassable. Singapore is the largest most important Port in Asia if not the World. Every country in Asia understands this and if Singapore decided to invade Malaysia to take out that Army a number of Countries would not only support that decision but may even join in.
100 US Personnel is not a deterent they are backed up by 1.5 million personnel and that is a deterent, only maniacs p*** of the Americans ask Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Ladin.
There is a huge difference between 1942 and today, the Militaries in SE Asia are fully independent, unlikely to be fighting a war in Europe and the Japanese had complete Air and Sea superiority in 1942. Singapore was doomed in 1942 but today it has one of the most powerful Militaries in SE Asia and a number of Allies that would step up to defend it.
Using Australia as an example, 90% of our trade comes through the Port of Singapore cut that lifeline and you stuff Australia big time. Australia and Singapore have a close relationship and so does the US, we are very happy with the current Political set up in Singapore and we will oppose any change to a more hostile Regime, it is simply too Strategically important to Australia for us not to oppose any changes.
You think they would deploy those troops on the border first so Singapore would have time to react? PT-91 tanks can drive 37 mph. If Malaysia attacked, they would probably have to sneak the tanks closer at night the day before, camouflage them, refuel them, then go the next night. Helicopters will be on target in half an hour, jets will be there in minutes. This is why I said that they have to know an attack is coming.

The first thing Singapore would do is make the causeway impassable? Good. They should already have massive dragons teeth installed in the road that they can raise quickly if necessary. Do they have those? I didn't see any on satellite view. And the causeway is just one way, then there is the bridge and the narrow strait that any amphibious vehicle can get across easily.

Singapore is the most important port in Asia? For countries that need Singapore to refine their oil for them but if Malaysia invades and reduces the price of refining oil then I'm not sure other countries would complain very much.

Other countries would join in if Singapore attacked another country? I don't think we are even close to that point yet. Things have to get a lot worse before countries gang up on one in that area of the world.

The US personel are in Singapore are backed up by 1.5 million US military? The US personel would likely not be harmed by any invading country. They would be free to go.

There is a huge difference between 1942 and today? Right, weapons are more powerful.

Allies would step in to defend Singapore? If they can hold out then allies would very likely assist. If they are completely overtaken quickly, like Kuwait, then we would probably go through another Persian Gulf War scenario with the UN resolutions and months of waiting until the aggressor leaves or is forced out.

Australia depends on the port of Singapore? Whoever invades wouldn't close the port, they would keep it open and steal the profits.

Who says the new regime would be hostile?


You think it takes 1 sq km plant to produce Leopard tanks? You were a cook in the Coast Guard, right?

You can build a tank in large home garage. If you need to mass produce hundreds or thousands of them, then the 1 sq km plant makes more sense and that plant can produce other vehicles after the tank production has ended. But you're sooo much smarter than I am Coastie.
Perhaps it is just me, but I do not know of any home garage that has the facilities to lift and drop a ~16 ton turret like is found on the Leopard 2a4 into a tank hull.

There would also be the issue of how long it would take a facility to build ~180 Leo 2 tanks if it was individually assembling each of them by hand.

To provide some comparison, it took the former ADI (now part of Thales Australia) facility in Bendigo about two years from being awarded the Bushmaster IMV contract to deliver the first 300 Bushmaster IMV's to the Australian Army. Granted, some of that time would be taken up awaiting deliveries for long-lead items, but at the same time, a 15 tonne Bushmaster IMV would be much easier to handle than the turret of a Leo 2, never mind a completed Leo 2. That works out to ~2.5 days per Bushmaster, and in a dedicated large scale production facility.

A belief that a facility like a home garage could do more than perhaps assemble components of a one-off tank is unrealistic IMO. Heck, home garages (in the US at least) have largely lost the ability to carry out major maintenance and repairs on civilian automobiles, simply due to the on-board computer and electronics and the fact that virtually all home garages lack the interfaces needed. A modern MBT has electronics at least as complicated with NVS, laser rangefinders, navigation and target acquisition systems, radios, etc.

A WWII-era tank could possibly be built in a garage assuming the proper lifts and hoists or cranes were available, but such a tank would not be particularly useful on a modern battlefield.


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Singapore is highly urbanised and as such, I would not assume that the MAF would be so predictable in an armed conflict - of trying to drive a few tanks across the causeway on a one-way suicide mission - as a particular type of risk to mitigate. Tanks will need substantial infantry support once they cross the causeway. Which is why Dook’s premise is problematic. Let me share 3 points below to inform on how the risk matrix is mitigated:

1. 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 — a force designed for over match. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has the fastest sensor shooter cycle in Southeast Asia. It is a known fact that the SAF has: (1) one of the largest fleet of armoured fighting vehicles in Southeast Asia; (2) the heaviest concentration of 155 mm artillery (with the longest ranged precision rocket artillery with its HIMARS batteries); (3) the region's highest density of SAMs and a Short-Range Anti-Munition Capability (operationalised within a networked system); and (4) the biggest number of combat engineer bridging rafts, the largest fleet of fast landing craft and more combat warplanes than any immediate neighbour.

2. We train hard (with unrivalled military training arrangements globally) and work well with others. Let me share details on past deployments by the SAF:-

(i) over 1,500 Singaporeans have operated under CTF 151 as part of the counter-piracy effort in the Gulf of Aden. Singaporean boarding teams operating off our LPDs and frigates have faced off with pirates and sank their attack skiffs in Operation Blue Sapphire; our maritime patrol aircraft have deployed to provide intelligence and surveillance to the task force; and our command teams have taken rotational command of CTF-151 multiple times;

(ii) since November 2014, the SAF has deployed planners, liaison officers, intelligence fusion officers, medical teams, trainers, imagery analysis teams, and KC-135Rs for use against the terror group, Islamic State (IS) alongside Australian and NZ forces (in support of the American led coalition for Operation Gallant Phoenix);

(iii) 492 Singaporeans have served in Afghanistan in Operation Blue Ridge. In recognition of the work done from 2007 to 2013, a number of SAF officers have been awarded US military decorations for their meritorious service in Afghanistan. These include: LTC Mohd Fahmi Bin Aliman (US Joint Service Commendation Medal - 2013), and MAJ Cai Dexian (US Army Bronze Star - 2012). The four officers were awarded US Army Commendation Medal were as follows: LTC Lock Wai Leck, Willy (2012), LTC Chan Ming Hoe (2012), MAJ Wong Wei Han, Gareth (2011), and MAJ Lim Kian Peng, Adrian (2011). Not to forget, Col. Mike Tan (US Army Meritorious Service Medal), who served as a Strategic Planner in the J5 Directorate of the US Central Command where he participated in planning in Operation Enduring Freedom, many years ago;

(iv) the air force’s UAV command deployed a team using the Scout RPV to provide intelligence to the TNI to resolve the Mapenduma hostage crisis in 1996 (and for their action the unit was awarded a combat streamer);

(v) over 1,200 reservists, NSFs and regulars were deployed to provide humanitarian assistance to Meulaboh, Aceh, an area with an active insurgency, in January 2005. In the case of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami:-

(a) Commander 21st Division (a 1 star) and his command staff were deployed to Banda Aceh in support humanitarian operations under Operation Flying Eagle. Within days of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, the 21st Division (Singapore Guards) landed a reinforced battalion size force, in multiple phases - with combat engineers creating beach-heads, clearing roads of debris and providing drinking water; with medical and surgical teams providing care for the injured; with a command team to plan and manage the massive logistics required to help the locals.

(b) RSS Endurance was the first foreign navy ship to re-establish a life-line to Meulaboh (a coastal town in West Sumatra that was previously completely cut off after the tsunami). Singapore's contributions to Indonesia included the deployment of three Endurance Class LPDs, eight CH-47 Chinooks and four Super Pumas, six C-130s, two F-50s, a mobile air traffic control tower.

(c) With host nation support in Singapore, US Commands (Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific and Naval Regional Contracting Center Singapore) worked 24/7 to surge supply capacity in support of the humanitarian effort in Operation Unified Assistance.

(d) During the conduct of Operation Unified Assistance by US PACOM, two SAF officers proficiently in Bahasa Indonesia, with in-depth knowledge of Indonesian culture, psyche, and sensitivities to the presence of foreign military forces, were posted as Liaison Officers to enable the US to deliver aid to Indonesia with less fiction;​

(vi) 998 Singaporeans from the army, navy and air force served in Iraq and the Northern Arabian Gulf from 2004 to 2008. The SAF deployments in support of Operation Blue Orchid included:-

(a) Navy: 5x deployments of Endurance Class LPDs for the seaward defence of Iraq for 300 days against suicide boat attacks - which included NDU boarding teams conducting routine inspection of ships and dhows for explosives and other threats to protect Iraqi's two oil terminals. The Singapore Navy also trained the Iraqi Navy and helped them extend their operating range by refueling their patrols boats at sea.

(b) Air Force: 1x C-130 deployment for 2 months carrying men, cargo and equipment and performing evasive manoeuvres for about 1/3 of their 29 missions completed in 190 hrs of flight time (in the above video, you can see the force protection team deployed with the C-130); 5x KC-135R deployments for 3 months, each, all facing the danger of short-range SAM attacks with 303 missions completed in 1,800 hrs of flight time.​

3. We believe in continuous improvement and updating our tactics. In 2017, 2PDF Command set up the Island Defence Training Institute (IDTI) to address all Island Defence training requirements, deepen operational knowledge, improve linkages and interoperability with the Home Team agencies and enhance the effectiveness of training delivered to our Active and National Service (NS) units. From 19 to 20 Feb 2019, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will conduct an islandwide counter-terrorism exercise as part of continuous efforts by the Home Team and the SAF to test and validate Singapore’s multi-agency response plan in the event of terrorist attacks. More than 900 personnel from the SPF’s Woodlands Division, Tanglin Division, Jurong Division, Special Operations Command, Gurkha Contingent, and the SAF’s Island Defence Task Force (IDTF), Special Operations Task Force (SOTF), and 38th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers (38 SCE), will participate in the exercise.

So what you are saying that if someone deployed an Army with 2-3 Hundred Tousand Troops, a couple of thousand Armoured Vehicles just across the Malaysian Border, Singapore would not notice. The 1st thing they would do is make that Causeway unpassable. Singapore is the largest most important Port in Asia if not the World. Every country in Asia understands this and if Singapore decided to invade Malaysia to take out that Army a number of Countries would not only support that decision but may even join in.
100 US Personnel is not a deterent they are backed up by 1.5 million personnel and that is a deterent, only maniacs p*** of the Americans ask Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Ladin.
There is a huge difference between 1942 and today, the Militaries in SE Asia are fully independent, unlikely to be fighting a war in Europe and the Japanese had complete Air and Sea superiority in 1942. Singapore was doomed in 1942 but today it has one of the most powerful Militaries in SE Asia and a number of Allies that would step up to defend it.
Using Australia as an example, 90% of our trade comes through the Port of Singapore cut that lifeline and you stuff Australia big time. Australia and Singapore have a close relationship and so does the US, we are very happy with the current Political set up in Singapore and we will oppose any change to a more hostile Regime, it is simply too Strategically important to Australia for us not to oppose any changes.
Thanks for the reply, to help keep the thread keep on track.

In addition to what you said, what Dook does not understand is that: At all times, there is a sizeable alert red standby force in Singapore on alert (with tiered readiness of follow on forces at higher echelon). Strategic surprise is not easy to achieve given Singapore’s intelligence capabilities.
We do not like to reveal the actual response timing of alert and follow on forces but it is faster than he imagines. And not just alert forces for conventional defence either.
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Thanks for the reply, to help keep the thread keep on track.

In addition to what you said, what Dook does not understand is that: At all times, there is a sizeable alert red standby force in Singapore on alert (with tiered readiness of follow on forces at higher echelon). Strategic surprise is not easy to achieve given Singapore’s intelligence capabilities.

We do not like to reveal the actual response timing of alert and follow on forces but it is faster than he imagines.
What would anyone on here know, we are just Strategy Game playing Coast Guard Cooks‍:D


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Well that was certainty entertaining, I just wish I had some popcorn ready when I read it a moment ago ;);)


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Post 1 of 5: Enhancing deterrence to prevent miscalculation

The key to understanding the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is that Singapore is a status quo noteworthy rising power, sitting at a major maritime chokepoint (that is interested in limited sea control for specific purposes and supportive of freedom of navigation through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore). The Singapore Navy is a green water navy, with some special features, including being used as a tool for diplomacy. Through the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Singapore's land based air power dominates these chokepoints, as a status quo power... Compounding its geo-strategic vulnerability, Singapore is the smallest country in land size within ASEAN.

Having been dealt a geo-strategically disadvantaged hand at the country's formation on 9 August 1965 in the mist of tension with its ambitious neighbours, Singapore has to build military capabilities that it needs, since August 1967. The SAF is not an expeditionary army, nor is the RSN a blue water navy; but it is the world's smallest country with a tertiary air force. Singapore's lack of depth has resulted in a clear focus on the building the basic force structure for regional over-match, if threatened; and the RSAF's capabilities serve to deter larger powers from acting unilaterally and buys valuable time for the citizen soldiers should they be required to engage in the forward defence of Singapore.

A F-35B acquisition, if it occurs would enable the SAF (and its rapid deployment division - 21st Division, which is supported by 4 LPDs) to operate more like the US Marines (but without a LHD). Dispersion of forward deployed Singapore forces via FOBs is possible through the exploitation of the proposed acquisition of the F-35B, the refurbished KC-130 tankers, and the existing AH-64D Apaches, supported by Singapore's CH-47SDs. Dispersion allows RSAF aircraft to conduct flight operations for several days from numerous sites like stretches of highway, or expeditionary airfields using matting (eg. San Carlos Harrier FOB, built by the British in 1982 on the Falkland Islands - the runway length was 260m long). A main base located in the rear would provide logistical and maintenance support for ongoing operations and subsequent overhauling and repairing of aircraft. Since only some of the surveyed sites would be occupied, enemy targeting would be reduced to a complicated shell game...

1. While I do question if Vivian Balakrishnan is the right man for the job (as Singapore’s Foreign Minister in troubled times), I do agree with him that foreign policy begins at home. As he said: “The strength of Singapore’s diplomacy depends on domestic unity and resilience, and the fact that we cannot be intimidated or bought. This is the foundation for our diplomacy even as we seek good relations with all our friends and neighbours within a rules-based international order. This is why Total Defence and our investment in the SAF are so important. Resilience includes improving our water supply infrastructure, namely NEWater and desalinated water, strengthening our food security by diversifying our food sources, and ensuring that we have a strong, diversified labour market. As a small state with limited resources, the quest for security and resilience has been a constant, relentless imperative for us since independence. It is not something that we look at only in times of unease. I am confident that we can continue to rely on strong bi-partisan support from this House, and the unity of purpose amongst all Singaporeans, as we strive to ensure that Singapore’s independence, territorial sovereignty, safety, security, and prosperity is secured for this generation and those to come.”
I'm betting my stay is very short. You're only shooting yourself in the foot.

I read the posts in the thread. Here's a quick replay some of the absolutely incredible replies:

2 - Singapore should strike first. Great answer, and the world would take the other countries side and assist them and the UN would condemn Singapore and the USN would never stop there again.

3 - There is no best strategy because it's too complicated. So because you can't figure it out there is no answer.

4 - No one would invade Singapore because everyone needs Singapore too much. Taking over a country allows you to control their port, their companies, and steal from the hard work of others.
Full Frame: Invincible : Singapore's Type 218SG Submarine

2. Over a weekend after the tensions between Malaysia and Singapore rose, we mobilised all 5 fighter squadrons, we changed our naval force posture, we made significant announcements in new weapon procurement shortly after (eg. The Type 218SG launch, the F-35 test buy, and the revised plans for the proposed multi role combat vessel), along with the 2019 defence budget increase.

Singapore to replace Victory-class missile corvettes with Multi-Role Combat Vessels | Jane's 360

3. The degree of change in specifications for the multi role combat vessel is simply stunning, from my point of view. The radar is much more capable, and the increase in air warfare capability in terms of mission load is a step change from the original.
Multi-Role Combat Vessels (MRCV) to replace Victory class Missiles Covette (MCV)

In another piece of news, RSN will be replacing the MCVs with the MRCVs by 2030.


A leaner crew aided by automation technologies will man the MRCVs. These innovations will translate into operational cost savings of up to 10 per cent, as compared to similar-sized frigates. The first of these will be delivered around 2025 and the full delivery is expected by 2030.

From the CG rendering of the MRCV, it will appear that the MRCV will be a just a little smaller than the Formidable class frigate, the size between a Corvette and a frigate. My guess is that it will be around 90-110m in length, perhaps around the 2000+ ton in displacement. The in front of the bridge looks somewhat like a 4x8 cells VLS, in the A-gun position a 76mm main gun.

The enclose mast looks like being equipped with a 4 side Active Phased array radar, my guess it would be either the Thales Sea Fire 500, or the Saab Giraffe 4A....

To be honest, this vessel would be a light frigate at the minimum. It is probably more correct to be classified as one.
4. Singapore is not going to just let KL believe that this act of parking their ship in our port waters is accepted - our Navy is properly resourced to be there everyday and making our presence felt. Singapore also pointed out that these actions threatened the safety of all seagoing vessels in what is a very busy shipping route. There is no acceptence of a fait accompli of Malaysian actions by Singapore.

M’sian government vessel collides with another ship in S’pore waters

5. Not only is the ICA ruling on Pedra Branca is in our favour, we are continuing to stick to that ruling because it’s again, a manifestation of the rule of law - like our adherence the water agreements - by continuing to charge the same 1962 rate of RM 0.5 per 1,000 gallon for Johore’s treated water, when it costs Singapore RM2.40 to treat every 1,000 gallons of water. In 1998, Malaysia asked for the price of raw water to be raised to RM 0.60, to which we were agreeable (but they then wanted a higher price than what they asked). In 2002, Malaysia asked for the price of raw water to be raised to RM 6.40 per 1,000 gallon - at which point Singapore walked away. Singapore’s foreign policy was crafted by the elder statesman S Rajaratnam, which remain true today. These are predicated around the following principles:

(i) the preservation of peace through collective security;
(ii) the promotion of economic development through mutual aid;
(iii) the inalienable right of every country to establish forms of government in accordance with the wishes of its own people.
These principles were formulated in the context of a declining British empire that withdrew its security umbrella from Singapore, as well as the Indonesian Konfrontation, which was a far more serious threat than Malaysia. This wasn’t a “war” in a conventional sense, but fought as commando raids and jungle skirmishes in Borneo, including a number of saboteur bombings in Singapore — which was still a part of Malaysia in the early 1960. Incidents like the naming of the Indonesian ship, KRI Usman Harun, although tarnished Singapore-Indonesian military ties, has brought Singaporeans and the SAF closer. The public are finally aware of the untold stories of the Konforntation and the SAF’s engagements in these conflicts.

Singapore-Malaysia: Mahathir makes splash over water prices
he could not even spell his name properly. It is missing an r.
Yes, I saw that.

Well that was certainty entertaining, I just wish I had some popcorn ready when I read it a moment ago ;);)


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Post 2 of 5: Avoiding a vicious cycle and gaining partners in defence
Have your military leaders work out secret scenarios where you are invaded by Malaysia and find out what help those other friendly countries could give you and how quickly it would arrive. The US, UK, and Australia will likely help you if another country is the aggressor as long as it's not China.
6. What are you talking about? Deng Xiaoping’s visit to Singapore in 1978 had left an indelible imprint on his mind. That year alone, some 400 delegations from China visited Singapore. Since 1978, Deng and Lee Kuan Yew had a special relationship between the two great men. They admired and respected each other. They established a relationship of mutual trust. Deng said that China should learn from Singapore because, “society in Singapore is quite orderly. They managed things very strictly. We ought to use their experience as a model. And we ought to manage things even better than they do.” Lee met Deng again, in China, in 1980, 1985 and 1988. Deng trusted Lee. Following Deng’s exhortation, hundreds of delegations from China have visited Singapore. They wanted to study every aspect of Singapore’s development.
  • Singapore has responded generously. We have since welcomed tens of thousands of Chinese mayors and other officials to attend customised courses in Singapore. Today, China is the largest recipient (US$105b) of FDI from Singapore, followed by Indonesia (US$62b), and India (US$35b).
  • Singapore and China have also agreed on an updated defence agreement that could see them increase the scale of existing military exercises, with new areas of cooperation between troops. The revised Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) is expected to be signed later in 2019. We are not hostile to China and we are nobody's fool (see paragraphs 12 to 14 below on our defence relationships). Through ADMM-Plus Singapore works with China to boost regional cooperation by stepping up "practical military-to-military cooperation."
A key factor to enhancing Singapore’s immediate security is avoiding the Thucydides Trap with Malaysia. This trap refers to when a rising power causes fear in an established power which escalates toward war. Thucydides wrote: "What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta." In 2016, IHS said Malaysia was forecast to achieve a per capita GDP of US$20,000 by 2025, with total GDP exceeding US$1 trillion by 2030.
The structure of Malaysia's economy would continue to shift towards higher value-added manufacturing and services. From my perspective it is only a matter of when Malaysia’s GDP will exceed $1 trillion and at that time, they would have funds to buy plenty of guns and advanced weapons. But it will take the Malaysians decades to catch up, even after they become rich.

Malaysia and Singapore agree to revert to original port limits

Edited Transcript of the Media Wrap-Up with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan after the Joint Press Conference in Putrajaya, 14 March 2019

7. With a nominal GDP of US$361.36 billion (or S$487 billion) in 2018, Singapore shares a moral obligation to steer away from Thucydides's Trap with regard to Malaysia under Dr M, as we watch Malysia’s rise to a US$1 trillion economy in the 2030 period and beyond. We should continue to spend prudently on defence and drag out the timeline required for Malaysia to reach parity with us in capability (well into the 2040s - 2060s), with good planing and execution of the NEXT GEN SAF, whose roll out we witnessed with the launch of the Type-218SG.
...Have all healthy males between the ages of 18 and 50 in the military reserves.

Singapore can be invaded very quickly with Malaysian tanks coming over the bridge and causeway or with Russian amphibious assault vehicles crossing the strait. You absolutely have to know the attack is coming. You should have video camera's on the bridge and causeway and monitor traffic constantly from a secure military headquarters. A sneak attack can wipe out most of your equipment before you mobilize. Always have a good portion of your forces on duty including at night and holidays.
8. Why would you recommend something that is implemented in 1967 but in a less sophisticated manner? National service was introduced in August 1967.
  • From the early days of National Service (NS) under the Enlistment Act effective in Aug 1970 for my uncles, to me (starting from the late ‘80s onwards), and to my kids (starting from 2017 onwards), as the 3rd generation to serve - our family have a role in furthering deterrence, as citizen-soldiers. Every year, 18,000 to 20,000 recruits complete their basic military training and broadly the same number also complete their 22 to 24 months of full time national service - to enter the operationally ready reserves. My older family members (who were Israeli trained) and we all remember with fondness going into our respective 1st In-Camp-Trainings (ICTs). These ICTs now last for 7 to 10 years, after full time service in the Singapore Army.
  • Military spending was kept high right from the start - Singapore's defence budget is the biggest in South-east Asia today - to acquire sophisticated weapons. About 70 tanks were bought in 1969 and when these AMX-13 tanks rolled out for National Day Parade, the region took notice. Newspapers all over Malaysia, carried pictures of Singapore's new armoured firepower. The urgency to build up its own armed forces stemmed from an acute sense of the island's vulnerability. Before Independence, when Singapore was still part of the Malaysian Federation, Indonesian marines acting as war criminals bombed MacDonald House in Orchard Road, killing three people and injuring 33 others. Newly evolving Singapore-style diplomacy faced one of its first geopolitical challenges with the aftermath of that. So occasional tensions with neighbours is the norm.
9. From August 1967 onwards, we have had deterrence. From 1975-1984 (1st Gen SAF), the SAF was prepared to fight knowing we were not at parity at a doctrinal level, with the Malaysians being stronger. From 1985 to 2004 (2nd Gen), we were prepared to fight at approximate ‘approximate parity’ with Singapore holding an edge in our combined arms doctrine. In 1991, the Malaysians explored options in unconventional warfare against a superior Singapore Army and given that the maritime environment around Singapore faces security challenges such as terrorism, shipping of illegal arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction and persons, as well as piracy, their first act of war may not be a conventional attack. Hybrid warfare or a troubled peace blurs distinctions between periods of peace and war. Hybrid warfare is nothing new; it is the art of moving between conventional and non-conventional modes of warfare while manipulating an opponent’s specific vulnerabilities is used throughout history. Hybrid warfare was not born out of Russian activity on the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The seaborne terrorist attacks such as the 2008 Mumbai attack, where ten terrorists who arrived via boats killed more than 160 people, demonstrate the real possibility and grave consequences of terrorists infiltrating a country from the sea. By 2005 onwards (3rd Gen), the SAF had clearly superior equipment and doctrine. The goal is to delay a return to ‘approximate parity’ till 2055 to 2061 - towards the end of the water agreements with Malaysia - that we do not intend to renew.

10. The thaw in Singapore-Malaysia relations (following Lee Hsien Loong’s meeting with Dr M in Putrajaya during the leaders’ retreat on 9 April 2019) has surprised many. This change in tune by the Malaysians comes at a difficult time for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government with Dr M in an ongoing tussle with the crown prince of Johor that shares deeply-rooted ties with Singapore. This tussle has stolen the limelight from the sudden thaw in bilateral relations and shows how far Dr M will go if he is pushed in a corner. The tit-for-tat responses between the old political fox and the young crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim may have overshadowed new agreements between Malaysia and Singapore but it is the resolving of conflicts, particularly the bilateral water issue, that will have a deeper impact on Johor. In the ongoing tussle, none of them want to be on the losing side and both the executive and the prince want to have the upper hand in the running of affairs of Malaysia as well as Johor.
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Post 3 of 5: Defusing tensions while standing our ground and working with partners

11. With regard to our relations with hostile parties like Malaysia, Singapore’s Defence Minister spoke once and then he refrained from openly making a further public stand. That said, we have to let actions speak for itself rather than issue statements. You should take note of the fact that Singapore's defence budget has increased, in response to an urgent need to recapitalise certain categories of ageing defence assets - such as the retirement or upcoming end of life of the following:

(a) the retirement of the 11 Fearless Class Patrol Vessels (replaced with 8 LMVs), the pending retirement of the Challenger and Archer classes of submarines (replaced with 4 Type 218SG submarines) and the planned replacement of the 6 Victory Class Corvettes (to be replaced with the 5,000 ton MRCV),
(b) the retirement of the F-5s (replaced with the acquisition of a 2nd squadron of F-15SGs and 4 F-35s for testing),
(c) the retirement of the 4 KC-135R (replaced with six A-330 MRTT), and the Searcher UAVs (replaced with the Heron-1 and Hermes 450 UAVs),
(d) the retirement of the older suite of air defence radars, including the FPS-117A (replaced by the ELM-2084 Multi Mission Radar, the existing Giraffe AMB, the SHIKRA radar and the Ticom 55 aerostat); which will provide a extremely high resolution air picture for Singapore's air defenders,
(e) the retirement of older ground based air defence missiles, like I-Hawk missiles (replaced with the Spyder air defence missile firing units and the ASTER 30),
(f) the retirement of the fleet of V-200s (replaced with the Protected Response Vehicle) and the 5 tonners (replaced with the Belrex Protected Combat Support Vehicle to support the Terrex motorised infantry battalions),
(g) the retirement of old AEVs, ARVs and VLBs like the M728 AEVs (replaced with the AEV, known as the Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak), the old ARVs (replaced with the Buffel Armoured Recovery Vehicle), and the old M60 based VLBs (replaced with the Biber Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge),
(h) the phasing out of old land-rover vehicles (slowly being replaced with the Ford Ops Utility Vehicles, the URO VAMTAC and the Ford 550 ambulances),
(i) the retirement of older sat com 3 tonner (replaced with the MAN 5 Ton Very Small Aperture SAT Comm),
(j) the pending retirement of the two Super Puma squadrons (to be replaced with the H225M) and the Chinook squadron’s CH-47D/SDs (to be replaced with the CH-47F model), stating from 2020,
(k) the retirement of the existing TPQ-36, TPQ-37 and Arthur radar systems, which detect incoming artillery and rocket fire (replaced in Mar 2019 by the AN/TPQ-53 and in Sept 2016 by the SAFARI weapon-locating radars); and
(l) the Hermes 450 and Heron 1 UAVs will be phased out in favour of new platforms over the next few years.​

12. While we continue to preserve and even enhance in several ways our defense and security engagements with friendly external powers, including with Australia, US, Germany and even France. Providing military access to foreign powers, buying new weapons besides joint training and exercises, is our way of contributing towards credible, friendly military presence to counter attempts at undermining rule of law by Malaysia or Indonesia.
  • During the 'Konfrontasi', insurgent commandos (with the TNI naming a ship after these 2 criminals) did set off bombs in Orchard Road. Two Indonesian marines were tried convicted and hanged by the courts of Singapore (High Court), Malaysia (Court of Appeal) and England (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council). The final hostile naval action of Confrontation occurred on the morning of 28 June 1966, near the Horsburgh Light at the eastern end of the Singapore Strait, when HMNZS Hickleton intercepted a kumpit [the naval term for a sampan] carrying three, uniformed men and a boatsman.
  • In the 80s to 90s, there were numerous maritime incidents near Pedra Branca, involving non-uniformed armed men, testing the alertness of the Singapore Navy. Further, in 1989 Dr M made an unannounced visit to the vicinity of the island with his boat. This was intercepted by Singapore naval vessels. To avoid an international incident, he directed his boat to leave.
  • Officers of the Indonesian Navy have their hands in numerous businesses, including running a smuggling ring (of duty-unpaid cigarettes) when their naval vessels call on Singapore. The amount of contraband cigarettes seized on 14 December 2008 amounted to 33,614 cartons, weighing 8,456.28 kg. This was one of the largest seizures of contraband cigarettes on record with unpaid customs duties amounting to over S$2.9 million. The Indonesian Navy officers involved in running one of the largest smuggling rings in Singapore, were not punished for their criminal acts.
13. Apart from Singapore’s close but discreetly managed security relationship with the United States, it has built a network of defence relations with countries as diverse as Australia, France, and Germany. These are but some of the countries that host Singapore defence assets, given Singapore’s space constraints.

14. Diverse relationships lend diplomatic diversity, if not redundancy, designed to maximise Singapore’s options, thus avoiding the patron-client trap of less proactive small states. The NZ Cabinet documents on the rejection of the proposal to base Singaporean F-15s at Ohakea, demonstrate the importance of building strong and wide ranging defence ties with multiple parties (see: Singapore Proposal to Base F-15 Fighter Jets at Ohakea Base – 2018 Cabinet Documents).

Euan Graham said:
The lion and the kangaroo: Australia’s strategic partnership with Singapore

There is an enduring, two-way strategic underpinning to Australia’s interactions with Singapore, going beyond the recently agreed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Canberra is enhancing its economic access to Southeast Asia in return for granting Singapore greater access to military training areas in Australia. Yet Singapore’s stock is also rising, for Australia, in the context of Southeast Asia’s growing strategic profile.

The stark fact is that Australia needs Southeast Asia more than it needs Australia. As a fellow ‘odd man out’ in its region, Singapore may be the exception to this rule because of its defence interest in Australia as a source of strategic depth...

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott... once described Australia and Singapore as “… natural partners; we could hardly be more complementary”. In many ways Singapore and Australia — the lion and the kangaroo — make for an odd pairing given their disparity in size, location, and their political and cultural differences. Yet shared interests have over many years compelled the two countries to work closely together...

The principal purpose of this Analysis is to review the defence and security aspects of the CSP and to examine the questions that it raises for Australia’s relationship with Singapore and Southeast Asia more broadly. The main contention is that there is an enduring, two-way strategic underpinning to Australia’s interactions with Singapore. In fact, the potential of this partnership goes beyond the quid pro quo of the CSP itself, whereby Canberra is enhancing its economic access to Southeast Asia in ‘return’ for granting Singapore greater access to military training areas in Australia. Singapore’s strategic stock, for Australia, is also rising.

This odd-bedfellows relationship is bigger than it looks, requiring some context-setting into the bargain. Before examining the details of the CSP itself, this Analysis outlines the strategic policy context in light of Southeast Asia’s rising strategic profile, the historical continuity in Singapore’s geostrategic importance, and its post-1965 role as an active balancer in regional security. Next the CSP’s ten-year roadmap, Project 2025, is outlined. The Analysis then examines the factors driving ‘strategic convergence’ between Australia and Singapore, identifying the two-way benefits of deeper defence, counterterrorism, and intelligence collaboration. As with any successful long-term relationship, a few risk areas are identified as requiring management.
Singapore and Germany Strengthen Defence Ties through New Agreement on Defence Cooperation

Singapore and France Reaffirm Strong and Broad-based Bilateral Defence Relations
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Post 4 of 5: Understanding the history of the Malaysian cycles of greed
ADF Info said:
Inaugurated on 12 Jul 2016, the Army Deployment Force (ADF) is a battalion-sized force comprising highly trained Regulars with niche capabilities to respond to threats in both urban and non-urban settings. "The basic task for the ADF is (to act as a) rapid response element because speed is important in counter-terrorism (CT)," said Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen in his 2016 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day interview. "It's not quite like conventional missions where you have time. This time, you have to respond in minutes."

"The ability to swiftly deploy a sizeable force to counter threats and assist civil authorities continues to be the ADF's raison d'etre," said its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Du. "As ISIS continues to be weakened in Iraq and Syria, we see increased activities of the returning fighters in our region. More important than ever, the unit stands ready to respond if terror strikes our shores."

The ADF works with the Island Defence Task Force, Special Operations Task Force and Home Team agencies as protectors to guard the nation against terror threats. It can also be activated to play a peacekeeper role in peace support operations overseas. Another role of the ADF is that of a preserver to ensure safety and provide aid during disaster relief missions.

In every role that the ADF plays, the troops stand by their motto: "Always Ready".

Before soldiers can don the ADF patch, they have to make it through a 21-week Combat Qualification Course (CQC). Every new evolution gets tougher than the last, with a short water break and temperature check between each. Trainees grit their teeth as they carry a 20kg weight up and down a flight of stairs. They then proceed for more physical training drills. The course is designed to test the physical and mental readiness of trainees before they are posted to the ADF's operational companies.

To get a step closer to earning a spot in the ADF but the course has more high-key activities lined up for them. These include training for quick insertion into buildings by helicopter-roping as well as in basic self-defence techniques that train them for close-combat situations. To graduate, trainees must complete a 10km march in 90 minutes, a warrior competition that tests their combat fitness and weapon competency, and an 18-hour finale exercise. The course also assesses trainees on their competencies in inner cordon operations for counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief missions. Since joining the course, 3SG Iskandar has seen his fitness improve dramatically, with his Individual Physical Proficiency Test score going from 85 to 94 points.
15. History tells us that any water or boundary agreement with Malaysia in April or May 2019, may lead to more tension, later. We in Singapore, who import 40% of our water, can’t afford to be complacent about deterrence. Ironically, tensions rose in 1991 after an agreement was reached on 24 November 1990 between PUB and Johor - a follow-up to the MOU signed on 28 June 1988.

• Under this agreement, Johor owns the Linggiu Dam, but Singapore, paid more than S$300 million for its construction and operational costs, as well as compensation for the land used for the Linggiu Reservoir - Johor aside about 21,600 ha (216 sq km) of land and Singapore also paid RM320 million, plus RM18,000 per hectare (10,000 sq m) and an annual rent of RM30 for every 1,000 sq ft (per 92.9 sq m) of the land. To date, over a billion Singapore dollars was spent on water projects in Johore.

• Almost 20 years ago, under LKY’s supervision, the Singapore negotiation team agreed to raise the price of raw water, only to have Dr Mahathir ask for so much more, again and again that talks collapsed. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the 1st water agreement was allowed to end in 2011 and the 2nd and current water agreement that ends in 2061 will not be renewed.

• From 1981 to 2003, Malaysia-Singapore relations under Dr Mahathir were characterised by “confrontational diplomacy and barbed rhetoric” between both countries, especially over water issues. Other unresolved issues that both countries faced during the 1990s and early 2000s include:
  • The Pedra Branca dispute
  • A deadlock over the implementation of the Malaysia-Singapore Points of Agreement (POA) of 1990
  • Issues concerning the CPF of Malaysians working in Singapore
  • The proposed construction of a “crooked” bridge to replace the existing Woodsland causeway
Confrontation did not turn into war, due to deterrence and as citizen-soldiers, our family members served in this role. It is important to understand our broader role, through service as commanders of men, in every generation. Having been dealt a geo-strategically disadvantaged hand, at independence, on 9 August 1965, in the mist of tension with its ambitious neighbours, Singapore has had to build military capabilities that it needs for deterrence. Service is always a privilege and not an obligation in many Singaporean families, like mine.

• Beyond keeping defence expenditure steady and deterrence, the mid-term solution (before 2061) is to further reduce reliance on raw water from Malaysia. To that end, the NewWater plants, plus desalination plants listed below further reduce our reliance on Malaysia:

(a) In 2005, SingSpring was opened;
(b) in 2013, Tuaspring was opened;
(c) in 2018, Tuas was opened; and
(d) 2 additional plants will be opened at Marina East and Jurong Island in 2020.
16. Singapore has been making the effort and paying the price to build a ‘next generation’ military. The Singapore Army is perhaps the branch of the Armed forces that has been affected by falling birth rates. According to Richard Bitzinger: “While all three branches of the armed forces are equally important, the Singapore Army is the most politically charged: it is the oldest one, made out mostly of conscripts, and has been a key element of the country’s nation building strategy from the start.”

17. One year ago today, we wished our Malaysian friends well, as they held their general election that ushered an new government. Instead of the two countries working together, Malaysia’s government under Dr Mahathir, often as a hostile party, sought to start new quarrels or renegotiate every deal made on better terms. We in Singapore can only hope he will step down as PM in favour of Anwar Ibrahim, in 2020 or 2021, before relations can hopefully improve. Earlier, Dr Mahathir agreed to step down after 2 years. Now he is trying to delay it to 3 years. I can only hope that this hostility can be managed for the extra 1 year period.
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Post 4 of 5: Defending the Lion City’s Interests

18. Singapore is trying to find new ways to tackle the issue through a digitised army with sophisticated communication systems and with the ability to gather data in real time for quick and efficient decision-making. Singapore’s force modernisation priorities toward the Next-Generation Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) currently follows three lines of effort.
  • First is developing capabilities to counter “hybrid” threats in the information and cyber domains.
  • Second is expanding counter-terrorism capabilities, particularly by strengthening Island Defence and Special Forces.
  • Third, in the long-term, to leverage advanced emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and robotics in nearly all aspects of defence planning and military operations.
I'm betting my stay is very short.
...OPSSG is a highly regarded and va,ued member of this community because he not only does have a background, but because his engagement is always considered and coherent.

People will respond piece by piece wherever they think it's relevant to address specific points - I and many others do it. If the initial thread has lots of elements then it's one of the ways to make sure that there is an itemised addressing in detail.

The fact that someone bothers to respond and in detail should be an indication of effort...

I'd be pausing and looking at the spirit of intent in those responses before I started wondering whether someone was being patronising.
19. Thanks to the bicentennial year of Singapore’s founding, and the 50th anniversary of the SAF armour formation, National Day Parade (NDP 2019) is to be held at the Padang on 9 August. For NDP 2019, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian PM Dr M will attend the celebration. As the rehearsals for NDP 2019 shows, Singapore’s force structure (air force, army and navy) shown during NDP 2019 is designed for overmatch against a potential regional aggressor. Therefore, we are not really worried about some of our F-15SGs or F-35s being stationed abroad.
  • In 2019, we only need less than 1/3 of our forward deploy-able forces to present an overmatch against conventional forces in the immediate region - keeping in mind that we have a mainly conscript army but a volunteer air force and navy. This helps with family life of alert forces.
  • The main realistic threat to Singapore is not conventional, it is more likely to be asymmetrical in nature. But I do note that Singapore not self sufficient in food or energy (over the mid-to-long term) and we need trade to ensure that our city does not starve in a naval blockade. It is no good if we can defend Singapore island but cannot import food because of a naval blockage. In fact, just an increase in insurance rates will affect the price of goods imported into Singapore. Being able to defend Singapore island itself is meaningless if we cannot keep our SLOCs open.
20. Beyond retaining our war-fighting against any existential threat to Singapore, going forward we are far more likely to work in a Coalition with other navies, including in a truly multinational force with a diverse membership, should the need arise to secure our SLOC. This is workable only if the mission does not involve high-intensity operations against competent opponents employing sophisticated weapons offensively. The key for any Singapore led coalition commander (to be deployed on the future 5,000 ton MRCV or the JMMS and it’s escorts) is to get the individual members of the Coalition working together and, as much as possible, as a unified force. The MRCV at 130 metres long x 18 m wide (i.e. ST Marine’s Vanguard 130 design) is bigger than the Formidable Class; can carry two Venus 16 USVs, two Mercury AUVs and two ScanEagle UAVs. It also has a mission bay capable of holding smaller USVs and manned boats. The design reflects the lessons learnt from the crew manning requirements from the Gulf of Aden deployments under CTF-151; and the need to provide berths, a gym and so on for the boarding teams.

21. At 170 metres in length, the JMMS (i.e. ST Marine’s Endurance 170 design) can act as a logistic support vessel for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions and can also be potentially tasked to perform as a coalition command platform. Given that ships are mobile and self-contained, and hence units without appropriate ROE, capabilities or skill sets can to some extent be isolated. This has the potential to reduce the commander’s need to provide a level of supervision that might drag away more capable assets from where they are needed; a particular concern when assets are in short supply. Since 2003 our navy, air force and army have deployed, in a series of low profile missions (in what we try to present as theoretically non-combat roles), to both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is important to remember that Singapore is located in a predominately Muslim populated region and our engagement efforts with US military is not always appreciated by other powers like China. Therefore the various information releases by MINDEF reflect this concern and the desire to downplay any potential shooter role.
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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— which was successful from 1967 to 1990.

Two, deterrence by imposing costs 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. 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 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."
SSJArcher Krich said:
It would also be naive to think that ''partners in crime'' of the USA, like Singapore, can escape the inevitable. We should be cognizant of the fact that an isolated, pariah entity like the DPRK has managed to detonate nuclear devices and tested ICBMs (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) that can target anywhere within the continental United States. The DPRK is also trying to develop second strike capability by developing what is suspected to be a submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles.

Iran has been a close partner, in defence affairs, of the DPRK for a few decades now...
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).
SSJArcher Krich said:
I can probably see things better than citizens of involved countries and objectively decide if plan A might be able to knock out Singapore, or if plan B might be able to do so better.
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.
@Ahmad if Indonesia for some reason decided to go to war with Singapore, she would have to very seriously consider the reaction of Australia, New Zealand and the UK... Indonesia may find itself fighting a war on two fronts.
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.
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Post 4 of 4: Importance of geography and context
IMO it will be a biological event that destroys the world not a nuclear war...
13. This is a real concern and there is some investment in this area.
If you had said that Indonesia by 2050 would be in a good position to overwhelm Singapore's military - alone - without any outside intervention, that I could probably concur with...
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.
If it were a more militarily advanced country like Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea or Japan instead of Indonesia and Malaysia next door, then it's very much possible that Singapore would have been invaded or decimated by now.
15. This aspect of your discussion, ignoring geography, can’t be serious. 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:

  • One, 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 ‘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).
  • Two, 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).
  • Three, Iran has compensated for its lack of a modern air force by developing long range strike capabilities. However, the country lacks deployable 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.
  • Four, as an objective observer, Indonesia with its elected government is a G-20 member. It is a richer, larger country, that has a more capable air force, 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).

There is a considerable difference in terms of capabilities as well as ability to effectively launch a large number of Katyusha-type artillery rockets, and a similar number of Scud or other short/medium-ranged ballistic missiles.

A few things remain unexplained regarding the notion raised of Indonesia getting ballistic missiles which it could use to threaten Singapore.,,,
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. 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 start the kill cycle within 20 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.

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. 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 diplomacy and deterrence is so important.

20. 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) at the defence minister, chief of defence and head of services level. Further, Singapore’s defence minister is often an invited speaker at security forums like the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, Reagan National Defense Forum, or Munich Security Conference. To promote broader military to military institutional ties, Singapore has multiple agreements on the conduct of exchanges among military academies and think-tanks. To that end, Singapore’s Officer Cadet School is also organising the SAFTI International Cadets' Conference (SICC) from 11 to 16 December 2019 at the SAFTI Military Institute. The SICC brings together 75 officer cadets and instructors from 18 countries — The participating countries are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the UK, the US, and Vietnam.
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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.

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.
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Post 1 of 2: Ignorance corrected
SSJArcher Krich said:
(i) To this aggressor, Singapore’s Defence Minister, Dr Ng only spoke once to indicate a concern on the intrusion in the waters off Tuas. What Dr Ng says only once, from a position of power, sets the geo-political context for this grey zone event, as Singapore has escalation dominance against that aggressor due to hard power...
I am fully aware of these trivial facts and also, a lot more that you have not mentioned.

1. For example, that Dr Ng Eng Hen is merely a medical doctor, not a military professional. A medical doctor is in charge of your Ministry of Defence.

While a military professional, Chan Chun Sing, is in charge of your Ministry of Trade and Industry.

I also know that a certain actor in your local media by the name of Aloysius Pang died in New Zealand during a futile military exercise. Numerous other deaths have occurred in recent years, which have prompted much discussions and many finger pointing. Due to the ''no blame'' culture pursued by the current 3rd generation of PAP leadership, all have been conveniently swept beneath the carpet.

9 deaths in 16 months in peace time for a tiny country like Singapore is never going to be acceptable.
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 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. 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 1st 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".
  • 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 locally and abroad in 10 different countries. Below is a video of Singapore troops conducting live-fire during urban warfare training.

  • Minimising this rate through better safety measures, as the Defence Minister explained in parliament is ‘care for men’? The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war mindset. "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.
  • 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.
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.
SSJArcher Krich said:
All in all, Indonesia's diminutive air force operates only 40 fighter jet, 24 of them early model F-16s and 16 of them Flankers (Su-27/30) from Russia. None of them fields an operational AESA radar system. Unlikely that Indonesia can develop advanced EW capabilities. No AEW&C operated by Indonesia either.

No medium or long range SAM (surface to air missile) batteries operated by Indonesia. No AESA radar on land or sea for surveillance or tracking of enemy aircrafts or missiles. No ballistic or cruise, air to air, air to surface or any other missile that can hit farther than 300 km while carrying a 500kg payload is possessed by Indonesia either. Primarily because Indonesia is a weapons importer.

Much of the same is true for Singapore, except that Singapore may have obtained some longer ranged missiles from Israel thanks to the close relationships they have enjoyed since the early days of Singapore's independence. Having said that, Singapore has a better trained, better equipped armed force with a clear purpose. What does Singapore in is its lack of strategic depth.
3. What you post is intentionally misleading. Let me share some minor corrections on capability in relation to your TNI and SAF comparisons:

  • For clarity, I note that Singapore has AESA equipped fighters and navy ships; and its longer ranged missiles are the Aster and harpoon missiles, which are European and American made. They are not Israeli made.
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Post 2 of 2: Shooting down retired aces and determining the correct level of self sufficiency
SSJArcher Krich said:
For all the bluster, Singapore has never actually engaged in a war. It has no flying aces. You should know what that means...

Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand don't have any flying aces either.

However, Iran has had the highest number of F-14 flying aces in the world. Iran under the Shah was a much closer American ally than Singapore ever was. It was also propagated in popular media that Iran's military was the world's fourth strongest, a dubious title that has been awarded at will to quite a few countries without bases. Having said that, Iran's air force was intended to contain the Soviet southern flank and equipped for that purpose. The Iranians performed creditably in their war with Iraq, when Iran was in the throes of a revolution while Iraq enjoyed the backing of Western and Eastern superpowers.

The lesson learnt: Only a self-sufficient military is a capable military.

Iranian industry could not produce its required armaments at the time. Much like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Singapore, India, Australia and a number of other countries that rely on foreign countries for security. Since that war, the lesson has been learnt. And Iran is a lot stronger today, only growing stronger by the year.

Some of the F-16s operated by Israel and Kidd class destroyers operated by Taiwan were originally ordered by the Iranians under the Shah. At that time, F-16s were state of the art fighter jets. Think of them as the F-22s of that era. Whereas a large number of F-16s are still operated by a number of countries around the world, Iran has rightly chosen not pursue such a foolish path today. More on that later.

2. You have failed to mention that more than 50% of Singapore's population, by some estimates, now consist of foreign born individuals. At the first sight or sound of an explosion, they would like to flee Singapore. With an ageing population and a tiny population of true, blue Singaporeans to choose from, you are badly outnumbered by even a tiny country like Malaysia, that happens to be also poorly equipped and prepared for war at this time.
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.

  • Singapore is moving towards the more profitable model of international naval arms supply by developing the capability to build ships locally but in collaboration with foreign suppliers for access to key technology. Collaboration ensures that Al-Ofouq class and Independence class vessels built by ST Marine are able to make use the latest technological innovations. 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. 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 (see video below on Aster firings by the navy). As usual making your claims without context, supporting logic or reasoning.

SSJArcher Krich said:
It's not silly of me to consider Iran more advanced than Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam or the entirety of ASEAN or Oceania and much of Asia in most matters related to military affairs.

For a starter, you should ask: How many/which countries in the above mentioned region can deter a coalition led by the USA and its ''allies'' including UK, Israel, France, KSA, UAE and the whole lot?
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 — motorisation of troops supported by Leopard 2s and self propelled artillery is a huge doctrinal advance for the TNI and likewise the SAF is evolving from simple motorisation to protected mobility tactics, with new equipment and tactics.

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.

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.
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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.

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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.