RSAF’s latest Aster 30 missile system on 24-hr operations since August
The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) next-generation Aster 30 missile system, designed to neutralise air threats at longer ranges, has been conducting round-the-clock operations since August.
The ground-based system has also been integrated into the RSAF's networked Island Air Defence System, which can now counter a range of threats from fighter jets to unmanned aerial vehicles and precision-guided munitions.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the air defence system's current capabilities marked a significant milestone, since it was first developed about 15 years ago.
The transformation is on a number of fronts, said Dr Ng, after witnessing an Aster 30 deployment drill at Lim Chu Kang Camp II yesterday.
The air defence system can now see and respond to targets much farther away while requiring far less manpower, be it in detecting threats or loading ammunition.
Another significant improvement is that it can deal with different types of air threats, not just aircraft, as in the past.
"So I would say it's a significant phase change that gives comfort that we can protect Singapore and Singaporeans from threats from the air," said Dr Ng, adding that the air defence system's current capabilities will serve Singapore for at least the next two decades.
The air defence system - conceptualised around 2006 - integrates advanced sensors such as the Multi-Mission Radar and the Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft and weapon systems including the Aster 30 and shorter-range Spyder missile system.
Together with the smart Combat Management System, the air defence system jointly developed by the RSAF and the Defence Science and Technology Agency provides a real-time picture of the air situation by organising and combining data from multiple sources.
The Combat Management System - the "brains" of the network - can automatically classify threats and recommend the most effective weapon system to deal with them, using artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Singapore first took delivery of the French-made Aster 30 in 2018 to replace the i-Hawk, which had been used for more than 30 years.