Committee of Supply Debate 2019

Committee of Supply Debate 2019

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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How and Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman outlined MINDEF's focus areas for the coming year at MINDEF's Committee of Supply (COS) debate in Parliament on Friday, 1 March 2019.

Strengthening Stability in our Region

Some examples of MINDEF/SAF's efforts in defence diplomacy to promote regional peace and security include: 

Enhancing our Peace and Security

Island defences and surveillance capabilities will be beefed up, to better secure Singapore. 

  • More optical sensors and coastal radars will be added to deter and detect potential threats.

  • More unmanned watch towers will be added for better coverage of the busy traffic across the Singapore Strait.

  • Unmanned surface vessels will patrol our waters, starting next year.
Building the Next Generation SAF

We will modernise the Next-Generation SAF, enabling better responses to security threats across the three Services. 

F-35 Fighter Jet

F-35s will replace the RSAF's F-16s post-2030. MINDEF will issue a Letter of Request to the US for an initial acquisition of four F-35s before deciding on a full fleet. The price of F-35s has been steadily falling with strong demand from countries around the world. The total cost of ownership of a fleet of F-35s (including maintenance) across its lifespan will also be similar to that of the F-15SGs.

MINDEF will continue to work with the US Department of Defense to optimise operating and maintenance costs.  

Click on the image below to view a larger version of the infographic.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
H225M Medium-Lift and CH-47F Heavy-Lift Helicopters

The RSAF will take delivery of H225M medium-lift and CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters to replace the existing Super Puma and Chinook fleets, from 2020 onwards. These new helicopters will add capacity, and be more effective in conducting peacetime Search and Rescue or Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.

Invincible-Class Submarines

Invincible-class submarines will replace the RSN's current submarines by 2025. The RSN's current submarines have been in service for over two decades. The new Invincible-class submarines are custom-designed for longer endurance, and incorporate our latest locally-developed sensors and automated systems designed for optimal use in our surrounding waters.

Multi-Role Combat Vessels (MRCVs)

The new Multi-Role Combat Vessels will replace the ageing Victory-class Missile Corvettes, which have served with distinction since 1989. Delivery is expected to begin from 2025, with full delivery expected around 2030.

Besides improving capabilities, the new MRCVs will be custom-built for lean manning and incorporate technologies to automate certain functions. This results in the MRCV using less manpower – about half the size found in modern frigates. In addition, this will result in operational cost savings of up to 10 per cent, compared to similar-sized frigates.

The MRCVs will also have unmanned air and sea drones to extend their reach and flexibility against threats.

The ageing Landing Ships Tank will also be replaced in the next decade by larger and more flexible Joint Multi-Mission Ships.

Click on the image below to view a larger version of the infographic.

Multi-Role Combat Vessels

Next-Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV)

Next-Generation AFVs will replace the M113 Ultras from this year onward. These AFVs have better armoured protection and mobility through urban environments. The Army will also see the addition of Next-Generation Howitzers with extended range and the ability to conduct precision strikes.

Building a Hybrid Force

The SAF will build a more hybrid force, incorporating more unmanned platforms. These unmanned platforms will complement traditional manned equipment, to enhance responses across the full range of operational scenarios.

  • The RSAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be progressively replaced by newer UAVs with better capabilities over the next few years.

  • The RSN's new MRCVs will be equipped with unmanned air and sea vessels.

  • The Army's soldiers will use micro-UAVs, which will be particularly useful in dense built-up urban environments.

The Next-Generation SAF of 2030 and Beyond

We will build a modern and capable SAF that can defend Singapore for another generation. By SG75, we will have a state-of-the-art coastal surveillance network and air defence systems to form a shield against incoming threats.

Operating with a Leaner Manpower Pool

The SAF of 2030 and beyond has been designed to be operated with a leaner manpower pool, and factors in the reduction of manpower supply by a third after 2030.

Click the images below to view larger versions of the infographics.

Next-Gen SAF Progress Update

Next-Gen SAF - 2030 and Beyond

Overcoming Training Area Limitations

With the acquisition of hardware, we will also invest more into building training facilities for more effective outcomes for SAF soldiers, both locally and overseas. 

Enhancements and Upgrades to SAFTI City

SAFTI City will complement traditional terrains with urban settings to better prepare our soldiers for a wide variety of operations. SAFTI City will be a wired city, with greater use of simulation and detailed monitoring, to help our soldiers to learn better. More roads and bridges are being built so that motorised and mechanised troops in Army vehicles can start training there this year.

Larger Training Spaces at Shoalwater Bay and Townsville Region in Northeast Australia

The training area at Shoalwater Bay will be expanded, and there will be new developments at the Townsville Region in Northeast Australia.

Under the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, new facilities such as Instrumented Combined Arms Air Land Ranges and Urban Operations Live-Firing Facilities are on track to being built. When completed, troops can be trained for up to 18 weeks annually, a significant increase from the current 6 to 7 weeks.

Click on the image below to view a larger version of the infographic.
Investments in the SAF's Training Infrastructure
Strengthening our Digital Defence

Cyberattacks and misinformation could pose digital dangers. As a multicultural and multi-religious society today, we must not let falsehoods pit social groups against one another.

A New Pillar for Total Defence: Digital Defence

We have strengthened Total Defence with a new Digital Defence pillar. Every individual is at the forefront of Digital Defence. As a whole-of-nation effort, MINDEF has been working with various Government agencies to fortify Singapore and Singaporeans against digital threats.

Preparing Our Servicemen

Working with the National Library Board, all recruits going through Basic Military Training (BMT) will attend an information literacy workshop to equip them to better recognise and deal with fake news and deliberate online falsehoods.

Other MINDEF/SAF personnel will be similarly educated and inoculated against hostile information campaigns and fake news, as well as strengthen cybersecurity awareness through enhancing existing curriculum and learning journeys.

"Guardians of the City"

To reach out to youths, the "Guardians of the City" card game has been refreshed to include threats from the digital domain. This will help students better understand these threats and how they can play a part.

Defence Cyber Organisation Initiatives:

Enhancing the NS Experience

National Servicemen are our most precious resource. As they protect our homes and families, we want to show them our support and encouragement.

Training Safely

National Servicemen must undergo tough, safe and realistic military training in order for the SAF to be an effective fighting force, capable of safeguarding Singapore's sovereignty.

Beyond individual incidents, MINDEF/SAF seeks to enhance safety of the NS training system as a whole, and at every level of responsibility.

  • The Inspector-General Office (led by the Chief of Staff – Joint Staff) has been recently appointed, and the office expanded with more safety officers.

  • Commanding Officers have been charged with the responsibility and accountability of safety standards and outcomes.

  • Commanders have begun comprehensive reviews of safety management plans and overall training tempo. The Army will ensure 100% inspection of all high-risk and field training.

  • The SAF encourages open reporting through a 24-hour safety hotline for any near-misses, risky behaviour or safety breaches.

  • The "SafeGuardian" app, currently in development, will allow Servicemen to use their mobile phones to take photographs of workplace hazards and instantly share them across the community.

NS Hub as a Central Facility for the NS Community

A new NS Hub (to be located opposite Cashew MRT station) will enable servicemen to easily access various services which are now scattered across Singapore. NS-related service centres (e.g. CMPB, Medical Centres, Fitness Conditioning Centre and e-Mart) will be co-located at the NS Hub. The NS Hub will be built as a smart complex using modern technology for a seamless, user-friendly experience. The Hub will be ready by 2023.

Click on the image below to view a larger version of the infographic.

NS Hub

Removal of Requirement to Notify MINDEF Notification Centre (MNC) of Overseas Travel Less Than Six Months

From 1 March 2019, NSmen will not be required to notify the MNC and Home Team Overseas Notification Centre (ONC) of their overseas travel of less than six months, which can be done via NS Portal or text today. Servicemen will still be required to ensure contact details are kept up to date on the NS Portal. Other exit control measures will continue to apply, and could be tightened if the need arises.

Recognising Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) in Their Niche Civilian Expertise

Our NSmen have relevant niche civilian expertise in fields such as nursing and info-communications. NSmen with such expertise can now contribute to defence with their civilian expertise earlier in their ORNS training cycle. If found suitable, they can be deployed to these roles after completing two High-Key In-Camp Trainings (ICT) and five ORNS years. Previously they must have completed the full 10-year training cycle before conversion to a role that allows them to utilise their civilian expertise.

Launch of "SkillsFuture@NS"

"SkillsFuture@NS" is a suite of initiatives that aim to support NSFs' transition to higher education or the workplace. These include:

  • More resources for skills upgrading after full-time NS. Today, NSFs are granted $350 worth of e-credits (valid up to one year after completing full-time NS) to subscribe to about 200 online courses offered by local universities and polytechnics. This will be extended to about 3,000 selected courses, including certain SkillsFuture Series courses that focus on emerging domains such as data analytics and cybersecurity.

  • Working with the Institutes of Higher Learning to offer customised courses. NSFs may take these courses to obtain credit exemptions from relevant diploma or degree programmes after they complete full-time NS. E-credits can also be used for these courses.

  • Greater career discovery and exposure through initiatives such as a career orientation experience with SkillsFuture Singapore. This is supported by the five Community Development Councils and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i). SkillsFuture Advice workshops will be customised at the quarterly Career and Education Fair held for NSFs.

"NS Memories"

A digital repository called "NS Memories" is in the works, which will allow servicemen to share their personal NS memories and experiences online. A trial will be conducted with an active infantry unit this year.

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