NDP 2020: Mobile column to cover record 200km route and reach more heartland areas

SPH Brightcove Video
While scaled down for this year's National Day Parade, the mobile column will travel into the heartlands and salute healthcare workers as it travels past several key locations.
There will be 22 different types of equipment rumbling through five routes. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - The mobile column, a drive-past of military vehicles and assets, will be scaled down for this year's National Day Parade, with 66 assets from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on display.

There will be 22 different types of equipment rumbling through five routes as the mobile column makes its way into the heartland for the second year in a row.

This includes the crowd favourite Leopard 2SG main battle tank and the SPF's new, next-generation fast response car.

The mobile column in last year's NDP featured 79 types of equipment and a total of 171 assets.

Each of the five routes for this year - in the north, south, west, north-east and south-east areas of Singapore - will feature 13 or 14 assets and 60 to 70 participants, including the mobile column crew. About 100 front-line workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic and essential workers will also be aboard the vehicles.

The routes will cover a total distance of about 200km, the longest distance covered by a mobile column in the heartland to date. Last year's routes totalled 133km and the previous one in 2010 totalled 80km.

"The NDP mobile column is a display of our nation's strength and unity. It is a perennial Singaporean favourite," said Lieutenant-Colonel Low Youwen, chairman of the mobile column committee, at a media briefing on Saturday (Aug 1).

He said the goal was to bring the mobile column to as many residential areas as possible so viewers can experience it safely from their homes.

Lt-Col Low said the NDP organisers have adopted safe management measures to ensure the mobile column segment of the parade is carried out safely, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the mobile column will also salute healthcare workers as it travels past several key locations.

These include Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and the community isolation facility at Singapore Expo.

One of the crew members participating in the mobile column this year is Captain Eastina Tan, 29, who is the formation liaison officer for the Terrex infantry carrier platform.

The SAF regular, who is taking part in the NDP for the second time, said honouring healthcare workers on the front line as part of the mobile column will be especially meaningful for her, as her mother is a nurse with the Methodist Welfare Society who continued to look after patients during the circuit breaker period.

Cpt Tan said the drive-past and salute will pay tribute to the perseverance and dedication of front-line workers during the pandemic.

Another serviceman taking part is Cpt Syafiq Mohd Abdul Muhaimin Ong, 25, an SCDF regular who has been deployed to the command centre of a government quarantine facility to help with administrative and logistical work.

He will be a vehicle commander for one of the SCDF's fifth-generation Pump Ladder fire engines in the mobile column.

SPH Brightcove Video
The Straits Times goes behind the scenes of the first rehearsal opened to media for the morning section of NDP2020, which is set to be a very different National Day Parade.

"This NDP is not just a tribute to our front-line fighters, but also a celebration of Singaporeans' resilience, adaptability and compassion," said Cpt Syafiq.

Station Inspector Jacky Kwan, 38, will be a vehicle commander for the only asset to make its NDP debut this year, the SPF's next-generation fast response car.

The new police dispatch vehicle is being rolled out progressively, with new systems and features to help ground response officers like him respond quickly to 999 calls.

Station Insp Kwan, who is participating in the NDP for the first time, will drive past his own neighbourhood in the Whampoa area on his designated route.

He added that his son and daughter, aged seven and five respectively, are looking forward to cheering him on.

The mobile column will travel through Singapore from 10am to 1pm on National Day, after the morning parade at the Padang.

It will also be broadcast live on free-to-air TV channels and the NDPeeps YouTube channel.

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