Wednesday, March 29, 2006

IKC2 for Better Decision-Making
(Source: Singapore Ministry of Defence; issued March 10, 2006)

Better decision-making for whom? The guys on the ground or the ones at HQ who end up doing micro-management although they are not on the ground?

In the past, military operations basically revolved around a few issues: where the trooper is, where are his buddies, where is the enemy, and of course, what is the enemy doing.

But since the nature of the world has changed significantly, it is essential for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to be enabled by Integrated Knowledge-based Command and Control (IKC2), said Colonel (COL) David Koh (right), Head of Joint Communications and Information Systems Department, Ministry of Defence.

"Today, with advancements in electronics, IT, unmanned technologies and communications, in particular, you will be able to know where your own forces are without having to keep asking your own people," he said.

"Similarly, the enemy can't hide. You basically will have a network of networks – of sensors, shooters, communications – and all this will enable you to see where the enemy is. We will be able to come up with better war-fighting decisions, where to put our soldiers, who should be going in which direction, and therefore, be able to win the battle more effectively."

COL Koh was speaking at the C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) Asia Conference held in Singapore on 20 Feb.

The theme for this year's event was 'Force Transformation in Action: Information Dominance'. Over 500 military leaders and technologists attended the conference.

The SAF has been actively pursuing IKC2 as a key enabler in its transformation journey and is now starting to take its first steps in IKC2 - translating ideas into experiments and demonstrators.

This IKC2 technology was tested during the SAF's tsunami relief operations in Aceh last year.

The command spanned 2,000 km as C4 systems were quickly reconfigured so that commanders in the area of operations could make informed decisions after consulting with the main headquarters in Singapore.

"The reason why we were able to execute the mission in a very effective and efficient manner was because of all the investments done earlier in the form of the experiments and the trials," said COL Koh. "By having the experiences from all those experiments, we were then able to bring all the equipment together and operationalise them at very short notice and give it to the forces on the ground, which they used to great effectiveness."

For future development, SAF is looking beyond the application of technology and automating its existing processes.

"We are actively looking at how we can re-engineer the work processes and one particular area we are interested in and excited about is at the cognitive level and sense-making - how you make sense of the information, to be able to see patterns," said COL Koh.

The biggest challenges to overcome in this journey towards transformation are in the human dimension, he said. "One manifestation is that of inertia and mindsets. A lot of people look at the SAF today and they see that it is a fairly successful organisation. Then the question is: why the need to change?"

"Change involves disruption and takes people out of their comfort zone. This is one of the big challenges that we face, to convince our people that you need to change even though you are still fairly successful."

COL Koh added that the second challenge was for soldiers to learn to operate in a very different environment. Instead of a hierarchical environment where they just need to know who their superior is, the new environment will require them to do different jobs, have more than one superior to report to and to work with different people.

"This will place more demands on our people and we need people to be more agile," said COL Koh.

Since its inception in 2002, the C4I Asia Conference has been held once every two years. The conference focuses on command and control in network-centric warfare, its ongoing evolution and the implementation challenges faced by armed forces.

Speakers at this year's conference included: Singapore's Chief Defence Scientist Professor Lui Pao Chuen, Australia's Chief Defence Scientist Dr Roger Lough, and NATO's Assistant Chief of Staff C4I Major-General Ruud Van Dam, and the United States' Assistant Secretary of Defence (Networks and Information Integration) Mr John Grimes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Singapore sets the Pace

...an old 2001 report from Global-Denfence.com. Nothing much has changed in MINDEF and ST's strategic direction, except the widely used term "3G" for this and that nowadays.

Attempts by south-east Asia's most sophisticated defence industry to stay ahead of its rivals and to make inroads into western defence markets are assessed by Tim Taylor.

Unable to deploy large standing forces because of manpower constraints, the south-east Asian city-state of Singapore bases its military capability on modern, advanced defence equipment. Singapore's defence ministers have spoken of the need for the Singapore armed forces (SAF) to maintain their technological edge over potential aggressors. This probably has been achieved, at least in relation to potential regional adversaries such as Malaysia.

The late 1990s recession undermined defence spending in south-east Asia but Singapore's military budget ($4.25bn in 2000/01) is now the region's largest. The city-state's success in developing modern and highly effective armed forces derives as much from its highly developed defence-industrial capabilities as from the fact that it spends more than its neighbours on defence.

Defence developments

Singapore's defence R&D effort constitutes a key element of its defence-industrial capacity. The R&D budget of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) increased from around one per cent of defence spending in 1990 to four per cent in 2000: in real terms an expansion from $20m to $170m.

According to defence minister Tony Tan, MINDEF's defence science and technology agency (DSTA) is, along with SAF's highly educated personnel and a versatile local defence industry, one of three key pillars underpinning Singapore's ability to harness technology for defence purposes.

DSTA also manages the defence procurement process and collaborates widely with local and foreign industry on systems engineering and systems integration for new equipment; upgrading performance and capability of existing systems; providing engineering support for selected weapon systems; keeping abreast of relevant technology and advising SAF on how to exploit it.

Defence R&D is the responsibility of DSTA's affiliate, the defence science organisation national laboratories (DSO). It has over 600 engineers and scientists and is Singapore's largest R&D institution.

DSTA and DSO have provided the vital managerial and R&D basis for Singapore's defence procurement but the role of the local defence industry also has been crucial in the production and modification of equipment for SAF.

Singapore's national defence industry began on a small scale in the late 1960s, driven by a wish to avoid over-dependence on foreign governments and arms suppliers for SAF's basic army weapons and ammunition and depot-level maintenance. But by the end of the 1980s, Singapore's defence industry had become the most substantial, sophisticated and diverse in south-east Asia. Numerous privately owned suppliers and local subsidiaries of multinational companies have supplied minor defence goods (including spares) and services for SAF, but government-linked companies belonging to the Singapore Technologies (ST) group have dominated the sector since the beginning.

Investor attraction

In 1997 ST aerospace (STAe), ST automotive (STA), ST shipbuilding & engineering (STSE) and ST electronic & engineering (ST Electronic) were grouped under ST engineering (STEngg), a new publicly listed company. The aim was to create a company that would attract investors because of its size and smoother revenue stream, and benefit from cross-fertilisation and rationalisation of R&D operations. A subsidiary, ST dynamics, also has been formed to develop, produce and market smart and guided weapons, and unmanned systems. In early 2000, STEngg took control of Chartered Industries of Singapore, ST's small arms and ammunition manufacturer, that joined with STA to form ST kinetics, an integrated land systems arm. STEngg now has a workforce of 10,000 and group sales amounted to $1bn in 1999.

ST activities that support SAF can be grouped into five categories. At the basic level, ST provides routine logistic support and depot-level maintenance, and supplies a range of munitions to all three services. The support role expanded during the 1990s as SAF commercialised many of its service, support and logistic functions. ST's comprehensive support is integral to SAF's potential for sustained operations in time of crisis, and provides a key strategic advantage over other regional states.

A third activity involves licence production and assembly of weapons systems and other equipment. Locally developed systems have superseded items produced under licence, but contemporary licence production involves equipment as varied as Russian Igla man-portable surface-to-air missiles and French-designed frigates.

In the fourth category, ST companies, in close collaboration with DSTA, have upgraded many SAF weapon systems' operational capabilities. Notable programmes have included installing new avionics and engines in the Singapore air force's large fleet of A-4S strike aircraft; replacing radars in F-5 fighters to improve air-defence capabilities; modernising AMX-13 light tanks; converting M-113A1 armoured personnel carriers into ultra-armoured infantry fighting vehicles; upgrading M71 155mm gun-howitzers to M71S standard by fitting an engine to drive hydraulic systems; and retrofitting the navy's missile gunboats with Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Raytheon confirms AESA package for Singapore F-15SGs

Stephen Trimble JDW Americas Bureau Chief
Singapore

Raytheon has confirmed that the APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is on order by the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), spurring the momentum of an increasingly competitive product.

The APG-63(V)3 now becomes the baseline option for customers seeking to buy F-15s with an AESA capability, while the Raytheon APG-79 is being considered by the US government for release on a potential Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet sale to India, said Mike Henchey, Raytheon's business development director for radar programmes.

Singapore's selection may underscore the increasing importance of AESA technology in future fighter competitions. Henchey noted recent reports concerning the Dassault Rafale programme, which was the losing candidate for the Singapore fighter contract in 2005. The French government recently announced a plan to buy fewer Rafales for the French air force, with the cost savings being invested in AESA radar development.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

S'pore to boost defence spending to about $10 billion
Weekend • February 18, 2006

...any guesses where the money will be spent? What does that amount mean in military purchases? Well , 12 F-15SG without options cost about US$1 billion.

Singapore will increase its defence expenditure by 8.5 per cent this year as the nation boosts its security to protect from terrorist attacks.

The Government will spend $10.05 billion, or 32.8 per cent of total expenditure, on defence in the year starting April 1, the Ministry of Finance said in a Budget report on Friday.

Singapore, which has said terrorism is the gravest threat to the security of its economy, spent $9.3 billion on defence last year.

Singapore has been modernising its defence forces amid the global threat of terrorism. On Dec 12, the Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with Boeing Company, the second-largest US military contractor, to deliver 12 F-15 fighter planes in the next three to four years. The agreement also includes an option for Singapore to buy another eight aircraft at a future date.

In July, former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said Singapore was an "iconic target'" for terrorists and was "very high" on a list of potential targets. The island sits alongside shipping lanes that carry half of the world's oil and a third of global trade.

Mock terrorist attacks were conducted on the public transport system on Jan 8, its biggest civil emergency exercise ever, to test preparedness after bombs ripped through London's subway last year and Madrid trains in 2004. On Monday, the Government said such events will become a regular part of city life in order to increase readiness.

Singapore arrested suspected terrorists with ties to Jemaah Islamiyah, after the 911 attacks in the United States.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Republic of Singapore Air Force Deploys First International Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow Helicopter in Asia

3 of those beauties here, 17 more to come.

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 20, 2006 -- The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has reassigned three of its AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopters from its training base in the United States to a RSAF facility in Singapore, marking the first-ever deployment of international Apache helicopters in Asia.

One of the Apache Longbows, produced by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] in Mesa, Ariz., is on display this week at the 2006 Asian Aerospace exhibition in Singapore.

U.S. Army Apaches have been stationed in Asia over the past decade, but Singapore, which joined the Apache family in 1999, had previously assigned its growing fleet to training duties at a facility in Arizona.Singapore has ordered 20 Apache Longbow helicopters and has logged more than 8,000 accident-free hours in the past three-and-a-half-years while training in Arizona.Singapore received its first eight in 2002 and began receiving the first of the final 12 in January 2006.

The first of the three Apache Longbows sent to Singapore was ceremoniously accepted in Arizona in January before being flown to Singapore by transport aircraft.

"The return marks a significant milestone for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.In the U.S., they have had very good training value. They were able to practice and train the components, the proficiencies and the competencies. Now we can look at the bigger scheme of things and fit them in with the other pieces to set the stage for a new era for our defense force," said Colonel Tan Wee Ngee, Commander, Sembawang Air Base.

Boeing and the RSAF have been working closely to ensure the program meets or exceeds requirements and will continue to ensure that the RSAF has the resources to maintain and operate its aircraft in Singapore.

"The Singapore Apache program continues to make great strides and achieve significant milestones," said Tommy Filler, Boeing director of International Apache Programs. "Our overall success reflects outstanding teamwork and long-term commitments from everyone involved. And we're equally proud that the Republic of Singapore Air Force is the first of our international customers in Asia to field the Apache."

The Apache Longbow features fully integrated avionics and weapons plus a state-of-the-art modem transmitting real-time, secure digitized battlefield information to air and ground forces. It can rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationary or moving opposition targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gurkha Contingent in Singapore

According to the Budget 2006 expenditure estimates, there are 2,271 Gurkhas and 65 Gurkhas Seniors (probably officers) in Singapore. Wow. I never thought that the government would reveal the number of Gurkhas here. We have always seen them outside the residences of PAP leaders but since Sep 11, Gurkhas have been used to guard key installations and foreign embassies. The role of Gurkhas during a war is not clear. Maybe they will be stationed in Singapore complementing the PDF.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Singapore Chooses GE's F110 for its F-15 Strike Eagles
11-Jan-2006 04:30

The government of Singapore has selected the GE F110 fighter engine to power its 12-20 new Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagle aircraft. Engine deliveries for the firm order of 12 aircraft will occur in 2008-2009. The Singapore selection of the F110-GE-129 (rated at 29,000 pounds thrust) is the second F-15 aircraft selection for the popular fighter engine. The Republic of Korea (ROKAF) selected the engine to power its 40 F-15K Slam Eagle aircraft and began taking deliveries in October 2005.

As DID's recent coverage of potential cuts to the F-35 JSF program's engine choices (P&W F135 or GE/RR F136) noted, the GE F110 was developed as an engine alternative to Pratt & Whitney's original F100, and has since become very popular in F-16s due to its higher thrust. Most of the USAF current F-16 fleet currently flies with GE F110 engines, for instance. Despite extensive US F-15E trials in 1999, however, almost all F-15s worldwide use the P&W F100 engine. Al DiLibero, vice president of the F110 program at GE, sees these two recent wins as big plusses. Engines, like airframes, have service lives, and replacement or upgrade programs could well lead to growth possibilities re-engining mature F-15 aircraft already in service.