NDP to simulate terror attack

A member of the NDP 2017 Fireworks Committee setting up the fireworks at one of the 69 pyrotechnic mounting points on a mid-level barge at The Float @ Marina Bay yesterday.
A member of the NDP 2017 Fireworks Committee setting up the fireworks at one of the 69 pyrotechnic mounting points on a mid-level barge at The Float @ Marina Bay yesterday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Parade will feature whole-of-govt response to 'attack' with movie-style special effects

In a first, this year's National Day Parade (NDP) will simulate a whole-of-government response to a terrorist attack.

And with gunfights, explosions and the storming of a terrorist hideout, the scene - enhanced for the first time with movie-style special effects - is meant to be as realistic as possible.

For instance, when "bullets" strike their targets, igniters create sparks and fake blood spurts out. There will also be liquefied petroleum gas explosions throughout the segment.

The parade's fireworks land conducting officer Chea Wei Tien, who is from the Singapore Armed Forces, said the simulated terrorist attack is timely, given the recent spate of attacks around the world.

"We need to create realistic effects to simulate what exactly our military platform is capable of," she said.

"This would act as a deterrent to would-be aggressors, and give people confidence in our defence capability, even as they do their part by staying vigilant."

Experts from Glorious Group, which specialises in pyrotechnics and fireworks, were roped in to help with the movie-style special effects.

This year's fireworks display in the finale, choreographed to music, will last for more than four minutes.

Fireworks reaching different heights - low, middle and high fireworks going up to 220m - will be released over the water. And, for the first time, a fireworks burst will resemble a flower in bloom.

Audience members can also look forward to various pyrotechnic effects during the Dynamic Defence Display (D3) Segment 1, which will simulate the live-firing of the military platforms on display at the parade.

These include the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 Primus, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tank, Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat and AH-64D Apache helicopter.

A team of 62 people has been spending about four days a week preparing and mounting the pyrotechnics for the show. The fireworks are delivered to a preparation area nearby, inspected, then packed and transported to The Float @ Marina Bay.

There are 69 pyrotechnic mounting points on the stage area, barges and pontoons on the water. Twenty-six wireless modules will connect military platforms and equipment - such as the improvised explosive device bag used during the simulated terrorist attack - to the firing system.

An exclusion zone spanning a 200m radius from the pyrotechnic mounting points will ensure the safety of audience members and performers during the pyrotechnic displays.

Steps have been taken to limit the environmental impact of the fireworks.

For instance, overseas acceptance tests have been conducted on firework samples to ensure they were not "long-burning" - in other words, that they would be fully burnt before the debris reaches the water.

PUB, the national water agency, has also been collecting water samples after every firing round to ensure no extra contaminants have entered the water in the bay area.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'NDP to simulate terror attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe