SAF, SPF tackle terror threats in joint exercise
Report by Thrina Tham / Photos by Kenneth Lin & Amos Chew
More than 700 personnel participated in the exercise – the last time such a multi-agency exercise was conducted was in 2019.
It is a regular day in Singapore city, until suddenly – gunfire breaks out as a pack of shooters appear, taking hostages. In a separate location, a man in a bomb-strapped vest walks among frightened students, threatening an explosion.
These were the scenarios that played out during a counter-terrorism exercise conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
The joint exercise, held in the early morning of 13 May, is part of continuous efforts by SAF and the Home Team to test the multi-agency response to a terror attack.
More than 700 personnel participated in the exercise, which was held in two phases – at the Singapore Expo and ITE College East respectively.
The participating troops came from the SAF's Island Defence Task Force (IDTF) and Special Operations Task Force, along with the SPF's Bedok Police Division, Tanglin Police Divisions, Special Operations Command and Gurkha Contingent. The SCDF's 2nd Division and Kallang Fire Station were also involved.
Here's a lowdown of the action:
In Phase 1 of the exercise, SPF and SAF personnel respond to various attack scenarios breaking out at Singapore Expo, which include an Improvised Explosive Device, active shooters and a suicide bomber.
The SPF teams provide the first line of response, effectively neutralising the shooters. They are supported by soldiers from the SAF's 15th Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Battalion (15 C4I Bn), who set up drones from across Singapore Expo to get an aerial view and better assess the situation.
Troopers from the Army Deployment Force (ADF) storm into the scene to quickly set up a cordon, while 1st Commando Battalion soldiers set up an outer cordon to contain the situation, ensuring no one got in or out.
Over at ITE College East, a second wave of attacks break out as armed assailants disrupt a class and begin "shooting".
SPF officers quickly respond to the situation. They are joined by the SAF's Special Operations Task Force (SOTF), and the various forces work together to neutralise the shooters.
The SOTF also accompanies the SAF's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Defence Group (CBRE DG) to swiftly neutralise a suicide bomber and disarm the bomb.
With the situation under control, the SAF's Medical Response Force is activated to deal with medical emergencies. They work quickly to tend to wounded casualties.
The SAF and SPF conduct regular training and exercises to enhance operational readiness in homeland security operations.
These training and exercises strengthen the interoperability between the two forces in handling terror threats under the Homefront Crisis Management Framework.