Defence tech summit starts this week

Some 400 policy wonks, industry experts and academics from 15 countries, including Britain, South Korea and China, will meet in Singapore this week to discuss new ways of developing military technology.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will be delivering keynote addresses at the inaugural Singapore Defence Technology Summit.

The three-day meeting, which starts on Wednesday, will allow defence experts to network and explore partnerships and innovative suggestions, said Mr Hor Gar Yin, deputy chief executive (operations) at the Defence Science and Technology Agency.

The summit's theme is on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on defence and security, said Mr Hor, who is organising the event. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the fusion between the technological and physical world.

Topics such as cyber security, unmanned autonomous vehicles and big data will be on the agenda. At the event, 38 global experts will lead a series of plenary and breakout sessions.

Attendees will also be shown how Singapore uses technology to ward off security threats. They will be visiting technology centres such as the Port Operations Control Centre, ST Engineering and the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Littoral Mission Vessel.

On display will be a new fleet management system that the RSN will be introducing in phases by the end of the year. It is expected to provide commanders with a better view of their fleet's abilities to stay out at sea for a longer period if necessary.

The diversity of the summit's attendees is what sets it apart from other meetings, said Mr Hor, noting that delegates come from the public, private and academic sectors. he said: "The summit will provide rich perspectives and spur insightful discussions on key drivers of change."

The summit, which was announced during the Budget debate last year, is part of Singapore's push towards a leaner and more technologically-centric military.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'Defence tech summit starts this week'. Print Edition | Subscribe