The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) urban training facilities built in the 1990s comprise clusters of low-level buildings replicating traditional shop houses and provision shops, without performance measuring instrumentation. Up to the early 2000s, these facilities had met SAF's training requirements and served the SAF well. Going forward, with more built-up areas, the Next Gen SAF requires better urban training facilities to deal with the new security threats and challenges that Singapore now faces. This need for SAFTI City was announced by the Minister for Defence at the Committee of Supply Debate in 2017.
Scheduled to open progressively from 2023, SAFTI City, jointly developed by the Singapore Army and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), is designed to meet the evolving defence needs of the SAF, and to support training for a wider range of operations from peace to war. These operations include homeland security, counter-terrorism, and disaster relief operations. Its infrastructure will provide a realistic and challenging training environment for soldiers.
Features of SAFTI City
Built on current military training area, the key features of SAFTI City are:
a) Realistic and Challenging Training Environment. An integrated Transport Hub comprising a bus interchange, an MRT station with multiple surface exits, high-rise interconnected buildings, dense building clusters, multiple road networks, as well as other public amenities such as shopping centres, will allow for a realistic and challenging training environment.
b) Configurable Buildings and Changeable Road Networks. Built-in swing panels allow traffic flow and buildings to be configured to training needs. This will allow soldiers to encounter a different layout of buildings and street landscape each time they train in SAFTI City.
c) Smart Technology. SAFTI City will also be a smart city, leveraging smart technologies to enhance training effectiveness and soldiers' learning experience. Smart technologies include:
(1) Targets with Shoot-back Capability. Soldiers and smart targets will be equipped with sensors for monitoring and data capturing. When smart targets are engaged, they can respond by shooting back and retreating from the location.
(2) Battlefield Effects. Battlefield effects, which include the use of smoke and blast simulators, will be used to enhance training realism.
(3) Data Analytics. Battlefield instrumentations and video cameras will be employed to track the troops' real-time actions. Furthermore, training performance will be collated and processed by a data analytics system to provide accurate feedback to the troops on their individual and team performances. With gamification integrated into the training and detailed individual feedback, individual soldiers and teams can benchmark their scores against each other, motivating them to improve further. These technological improvements enable the SAF to train more efficiently and effectively.
Phase 1 of SAFTI City will have over 70 buildings, including three 12-storey blocks, simulated underground facilities, and urban training structures. With a total estimated gross floor area of 107,000m2, phase 1 of SAFTI City will be able to accommodate brigade-level training.