Want to be at the controls of a navy ship?

Members of the public will get an opportunity, at next month's SGDefence Exhibition, to feel what it is like at the helm of a littoral mission vessel, such as the Independence. The Nov 4-8 event will be at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Cen
Members of the public will get an opportunity, at next month's SGDefence Exhibition, to feel what it is like at the helm of a littoral mission vessel, such as the Independence. The Nov 4-8 event will be at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Hall A.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

You can at SGDefence event, to mark defence tech's 50th year

It's your chance to get behind the controls of Singapore's newest navy ship - and even encounter hostile targets that may come on board.

A simulator at next month's SGDefence Exhibition will allow the public an opportunity to feel what it is like at the helm of a littoral (or close to shore) mission vessel.

The free Nov 4-8 event at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Hall A will also let people get up close to unmanned vehicles used for reconnaissance efforts, and take on virtual targets with simulated weapons in an augmented reality trainer.

Spread across over 4,000 sq m, the exhibition will showcase innovations developed by Singapore's defence technology community.

It is just one of a series of events to mark 50 years since the community - made up of engineers and scientists - began. They include the launch of a commemorative book series and an anniversary dinner.

Permanent Secretary (Defence Development) Ng Chee Khern said the exhibition will give members of the public a better understanding of what the community does. There will be more than 60 exhibits across five thematic clusters.

They will learn about the community's humble beginnings, the capabilities it has built up over the years and the possibilities of defence technology in the future.

Mr Ng also hopes the exhibition will inspire young people to become defence scientists and engineers.

In 1966, the defence technology community started as a three-man team within the logistics division in the then Ministry of Interior and Defence. It now comprises 5,000 defence engineers and scientists.

Among their innovations are the Terrex armoured infantry carrier, which has the ability to network with other fighting machines like attack helicopters, and the transparent ceramic armour, which is lighter than conventional glass armour and can withstand armour-piercing rounds at close range.

Mr Ng said the growth of Singa- pore's defence technology capabilities can be attributed to generations of scientists and engineers "who dared to dream and were audacious enough to think they can do more than they perhaps have a right to".

He noted that technology is the "force multiplier" for the Singapore Armed Forces. "We have therefore consistently used technology and invested in developing our local talent to meet our nation's defence needs. This strategy has paid off."

He added: "With the growing complexity of global threats, our community of scientists and defence engineers - the tech wizards behind the battle lines - have developed indigenous defence technology innovations that keep Singapore safe."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Want to be at the controls of a navy ship?'. Print Edition | Subscribe