$900m Safti City will see soldiers train in realistic settings
A new training area the size of Bishan town will be built in western Singapore for soldiers to hone their urban and coastal defence fighting skills in realistic settings.
One sector of the 88ha area - dubbed Safti City - will be packed with shophouse clusters, high-rise interconnected buildings, low-rise residences, basement carparks, a bus interchange and even an MRT station with multiple exits.
To train island-defence capabilities, another sector near the Poyan Reservoir will house a petrochemical complex, warehouses, container parks and industrial buildings.
New grounds for infantry and armoured vehicle drills will be developed in the three existing training areas of Pasir Laba, Ama Keng and the Murai Urban Training Facility.
Various training scenarios can be simulated in these areas.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the setting up of Safti City in Parliament yesterday, adding that it would cost about $900 million and take around a decade to build.
He said that while Singapore is building new training facilities overseas, it also sees the need for world-class training facilities here.
"We must guard against over-dependence on overseas training grounds. It is not possible for all our NSmen to train only overseas as the bulk of our training is still conducted locally, especially for our army," said Dr Ng.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said later in a statement that Safti City is part of a revamp of existing training areas in western Singapore to make better use of the land available for military purposes.
With more than 200 buildings of varying heights and types, and extensive road networks, Safti City will allow troops to train in different types of operations, from homeland security and counter-terrorism to disaster relief, Mindef added.
Safti City, which takes its name from the nearby Safti Military Institute, will also be outfitted with instruments and video cameras that will track the actions of units and individual soldiers.
This data can then be analysed and used to help troops learn from past exercises.
In his speech, Dr Ng said the signature change in Safti City will be the state-of-the-art simulation technologies designed into the new physical facilities to replicate distinct operating environments.
For instance, interactive targets and battlefield effects such as artillery attacks will allow soldiers to train more realistically, he said.