Battle network upgrades help SAF make better decisions

An advanced, real-time battle network that shares intelligence across Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) units on where the enemies are and when to strike has become even smarter at its job.

Upgrades by the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) to the locally developed command and control (C2) system will now provide commanders and operators stationed at the Command Post with a more integrated battlefield picture to enable them to make faster and better decisions.

The DSTA yesterday outlined details of the new key features, some of which are being tested or unveiled at the ongoing Forging Sabre exercise near Phoenix, Arizona.

For instance, a new video analytics technology being tested will allow commanders to better assess the extent of damaged suffered by enemy targets and to determine quickly if strikes by the SAF were successful or if more action is required.

DSTA engineer Loke Ee Foong, the development programme manager, told reporters at Luke Air Force Base on Monday that this year's exercise will also feature a new technology: simulation components that allow commanders to devise land campaigns to aid their planning in the type of assets to deploy.

The simulation models can also conjure battlefield scenarios that may not be practical to replicate in real life, and allow commanders to train their decision-making skills.

The DSTA has also introduced "sense-making" tools into C2 to help commanders in making mission-critical decisions. The aim is to shorten the "overall sensor-to-shooter cycle", which is the time that target information is picked up by sensors until they are eliminated.

For example, a special dashboard was created to aggregate higher-level information, such as the number of available or functional assets and bases.

Colonel Liew Boon Ping, head of the Integrated System Development Group within the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and director for the air component in Forging Sabre 2017, said the increased integration thanks to the C2 upgrades allows SAF assets to be deployed in a quicker and more efficient way.

RSAF assets that are pursuing enemy targets, for example, can request for army assets to help eliminate other targets concurrently. Previously, army assets could move in only after the RSAF had completed its mission.

The set-up time of the command post has also been reduced from two weeks to one week, thanks to a server virtualisation technology that replaces bulky physical server systems with virtual ones that enable space and computing optimisations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Battle network upgrades help SAF make better decisions'. Print Edition | Subscribe