National Day Parade to feature whole-of-govt response to 'terror attack', with realistic effects

Mini rocket pods that will simulate the ROCKET TRAIL of a High Mobile Artillery Rocket System (Himars) being fired, at The Float @ Marina Bay.
Mini rocket pods that will simulate the ROCKET TRAIL of a High Mobile Artillery Rocket System (Himars) being fired, at The Float @ Marina Bay.ST VIDEO: TOH WEN LI
Mini rocket pods that will simulate the ROCKET TRAIL of a High Mobile Artillery Rocket System (Himars) being fired, at The Float @ Marina Bay.
Mini rocket pods that will simulate the ROCKET TRAIL of a High Mobile Artillery Rocket System (Himars) being fired, at The Float @ Marina Bay.ST PHOTO: TOH WEN LI

SINGAPORE - This year's National Day Parade (NDP) will simulate for the first time a whole-of-government response to a terrorist attack.

And with gunfights, explosions, and the storming of a terrorist hideout, the scene - enhanced for the first time with movie-style special effects - is meant to seem as realistic as possible.

For instance, when "bullets" strike their targets, enlarged igniters create sparks while fake blood comes spurting out. There will also be liquefied petroleum gas explosions - bursting into flames and lasting throughout much of the segment.

The parade's fireworks land conducting officer Chea Wei Tien said this terrorist attack simulation is timely, given the recent spate of attacks around the world.

"We need to create realistic effects to simulate what exactly our military platform is capable of," she said. "This would act as a deterrent to would-be aggressors, and give people confidence in our defence capability even as they do their part by staying vigilant."

Experts from Glorious Group, which specialises in pyrotechnics and fireworks, were roped in to help with the movie-style special effects.

The firework display in the finale, choreographed to music, will last for more than four minutes.

During the finale, different-level fireworks will be released - low, middle, and high fireworks going up to 220m - over the water. 

And for the first time, a “petal effect” will be introduced during the NDP finale, meant to resemble a flower in bloom.

To achieve this, the fireworks are placed in different positions and at different angles, to be released progressively to form a flower pattern.

 
 

Audience members can also look forward to various pyrotechnic effects during the Dynamic Defence Display (D3) Segment 1, which will simulate the live-firing of the military platforms on display at the parade.

These include the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 Primus, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tank, Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat and AH-64D Apache helicopter.

A team of 62 people has been spending about four days a week preparing and mounting the pyrotechnics for the show. The fireworks are delivered to a preparation area nearby, inspected, then packed and transported to The Float @ Marina Bay.

There are 69 pyrotechnic mounting points on the stage area, barges and pontoons on the water. Twenty-six wireless modules will connect military platforms and equipment - such as the improvised explosive device bag and bullet vests used during the D3 Segment 2 - to the firing system.

An exclusion zone spanning a 200m radius from the pyrotechnic mounting points will ensure the safety of audience members and performers during the pyrotechnic displays.

Steps have been taken to limit the environmental impact of the fireworks.

For instance, overseas acceptance tests have been conducted on firework samples to ensure they were not "long-burning" - in other words, that they would be fully burnt before the debris reaches the water.

PUB, the national water agency, has also been collecting water samples after every firing round to ensure no extra contaminants have entered the water in the bay area.