Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Zaqy Mohamad witnessed the successful conclusion of Exercise Vigilant Shield earlier today. He visited the national air defence exercise held at the Singapore Air Traffic Control Centre where he observed the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s response to a simulated hijacked aircraft.
Organised by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)'s Air Defence Task Force (ADTF), Exercise Vigilant Shield tests the SAF's capabilities to respond to potential air threats, including terrorist threats, in coordination with external agencies. This year's exercise involved participants from the RSAF, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). The RSAF deployed assets such as the F-16 C/D fighter aircraft, Aster 30 Missile System and RBS 70 Ground-Based Air Defence systems.
Speaking after the exercise, Mr Zaqy highlighted the importance of having capable and operationally-ready Air Force in the face of an increasingly complex security environment. He said, "We will continue to build capabilities, because you always see new things evolving on the horizon, new capabilities the enemies may have, and that is why it is all the more important the RSAF continues to build up these competency and capabilities to ensure that we are able to deal with these threats ahead of time, as fast as possible."
Mr Zaqy spoke about the importance of Exercise Vigilant Shield as a platform to validate and maintain inter-agency linkages and capabilities for a Whole-of-Government approach to detect and respond effectively to suspicious air activities. He said, "Today we witnessed Exercise Vigilant Shield where we have close cooperation and integration between the RSAF, Changi Airport, as well as the other Services and the Singapore Police Force. This is one area in which I am quite heartened to see how various agencies as a Whole-of-Government have integrated their operations and are able to handle such threats."
Mr Zaqy also commended the RSAF personnel for their commitment to defence and for maintaining a high-level of operational readiness amidst the COVID-19 situation. The ADTF is part of the SAF's High Readiness Core to protect Singapore against a wide spectrum of air threats on a 24/7 basis. The ADTF works closely with other SAF task forces such as the Island Defence Task Force and the Maritime Security Task force, as well as other government agencies such as CAAS and the SPF to monitor the skies over Singapore and coordinate swift and decisive responses to potential air threats. Recent operations, such as the responses to the alleged bomb threats aboard SQ Flight 423 in 2019 and Scoot Flight TR634 in 2018, as well as the air defence operations conducted during the DPRK-USA Singapore Summit in 2018, demonstrate the RSAF's capability and readiness to safeguard Singapore's skies round the clock.