SAF to buy Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system

Diagram of the third generation of the Networked Air Defence System. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ARMED FORCES
Diagram of the third generation of the Networked Air Defence System. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ARMED FORCES
The Singapore Armed Forces will buy a new Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system, to boost Singapore's air defence shield. -- PHOTO: MBDA
The Singapore Armed Forces will buy a new Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system, to boost Singapore's air defence shield. -- PHOTO: MBDA
The Singapore Armed Forces will buy a new Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system, to boost Singapore's air defence shield. -- PHOTO: MBDA
The Singapore Armed Forces will buy a new Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system, to boost Singapore's air defence shield. -- PHOTO: MBDA

The Singapore Armed Forces will buy a new Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system, to boost Singapore's air defence shield.

Announcing the acquisition on Monday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said advanced militaries in France and Italy use the new system, which is "many times more potent" than the current I-Hawk ground-based air defence system.

"The Aster will allow us to engage multiple threats simultaneously and from a longer distance," Dr Ng told Parliament, adding that the new system will complement a mobile and shorter-range ground-based air defence system known as Spyder.

He was responding to Nee Soon GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak on the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) operational readiness with the planned relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase to Changi East at around 2030. Dr Ng did not say how much the move, which was announced last month, would cost.

The RSAF is also looking to upgrade its fighter fleet, such as modernising the avionics system and extending the lifespan of the F-16s.

The advanced capabilities being built up gave Mindef and SAF the confidence to move Paya Lebar Airbase, following a 2011 study of capabilities and security threats for the long term, Dr Ng said.

"We satisfied ourselves that our security would not be compromised and that relocation of PLAB could take place after existing airbases at Changi East and Tengah have been expanded to accommodate relocated assets and facilities," he said.

He added that the move will be costly, but will yield "billion dollars' worth of positive returns to the people in Singapore" in terms of land released for development and the removal of height restrictions in the area.

chinlian@sph.com.sg