SINGAPORE - A new training ground roughly the size of Bishan town will be built in western Singapore to let soldiers hone their urban fighting skills in real-life settings such as high-rise buildings, warehouses, and even an MRT station with multiple exits.
This 88ha area, dubbed the Safti City, will allow soldiers to train in a dense urban environment that closely resembles Singapore's landscape when it is completed in the west of the country in 10 years, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday (March 3) in Parliament.
One sector of Safti City will be packed with clusters of shophouses, high-rise interconnected buildings, low-rise residences, basement carparks, a bus interchange and a MRT station. Another sector near the Poyan Reservoir will house a petrochemical complex, warehouses, container parks and industrial buildings.
With more than 200 buildings and extensive road networks, Safti City will provide a realistic experience of fighting in a concrete jungle like Singapore, Dr Ng said at the Ministry of Defence's Committee of Supply debate.
"Safti City will take our NS training to a much higher level of realism and effectiveness," he said.
The first-of-its-kind facility here will allow troops to train in different types of operations, from counter-terrorism to coastal defence and to disaster relief.
Safti City, which will cost about $900 million, will 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.
Battlefield effects simulators will also create an immersive environment to make training more engaging.
As part of the revamp of the military premises in western Singapore, new grounds for infantry and armoured vehicle drills will be developed in the 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.
For instance, in Murai, soldiers will simulate different combat situations such as dealing with an improvised explosive device attack or interacting with civilians in conflict zones.
Over in Ama Keng, Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles, Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Leopard Main Battle Tanks can execute ambush and artillery drills.
Up to three infantry companies - about 400 people - will be able to train at Pasir Laba, where they will be able to fire live ammunition at three-dimensional mobile targets.
The battle circuits are designed to allow more intensive and efficient training on small plots of land, as the army's requirement for training land has grown with the number of motorised units.
Like Safti City, the battle circuits will feature battlefield effects and monitoring systems.