Defence Minister: Singapore must beef up defence during peacetime

SINGAPORE - It will be "too little, too late" to build a defence force only when danger is about to strike, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday.

That is why Singapore, as a small state, has to build a strong defence during peacetime.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday during his ministry's budget debate, Dr Ng said the Republic "can continue to avoid sharp increases and dips in defence spending".

This is despite an 11 per cent annual growth in defence spending by its neighbours in South-east Asia.

Dr Ng also announced on Thursday its will upgrade its land, sea and air war-fighting capabilities "at a steady pace".

From next year, the Republic of Singapore Navy will start replacing its patrol vessels with new Littoral Mission Vessels.

The army will replace its ageing V-200 armoured cars with new protected response vehicles for in-country defence.

In the air, the Super Puma helicopters, which have been in service for nearly 30 years, will be replaced over the next decade.

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