Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Defence

$900m urban training area in the west to hone soldiers' skills

’’DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN
’’DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN

Safti City, a state-of-the-art training facility as big as Bishan, will take some 10 years to build

A new training area the size of Bishan town will be built in western Singapore to let soldiers 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 located 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.

A variety of training scenarios - called Instrumented Battle Circuits - can be simulated in these areas.

  • $14.21b

    Total bill, up 2.7 per cent

    2,600

    Number of soldiers in the new Defence Cyber Organisation

    80%

    Singaporeans surveyed by Mindef last year who were aware of Total Defence

    >1 m

    Number of Singaporeans today who have gone through national service

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the Safti City in Parliament yesterday, adding that it would cost about $900 million and take about a decade to build.

GREATER SELF-SUFFICIENCY

We must guard against over-dependence on overseas training grounds.

DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN

He said that while Singapore is building new training facilities overseas due to finite land at home, it also sees the need to build 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 it name from the nearby Safti Military Institute, will also be outfitted with instruments and video cameras that will instantly 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 key feature of Safti City will be the state-of-the-art training simulation built into its facilities to replicate different environments that soldiers operate in.

For instance, interactive targets and battlefield effects such as artillery attacks will allow soldiers to train more realistically, he said.

"Safti City will take our NS training to a much higher level of realism and effectiveness," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline '$900m urban training area in the west to hone soldiers' skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe