SINGAPORE - Singapore's skies will soon be defended by a surface-to-air missile system that will be much more effective than the current system and require 90 per cent less manpower.
The Aster-30 missile system is now being prepared for deployment, though no official date has been fixed.
It will make its first public appearance at the National Day Parade on Friday (Aug 9) as part of the mobile column.
Members of the public can also see the Aster system up close in Bishan on Saturday, during a showcase of national defence systems in heartland areas.
At a media briefing last Saturday, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) mobile column packet team leader, Second Warrant Officer Eu Wei Lek, said the system's public debut shows the RSAF's readiness and capability to defend the nation.
He said the Aster-30 ground-based air defence system is the latest such system that the RSAF has purchased.
"It's not an asset that can be deployed every day for public viewing. So, through this mobile column, I really feel very proud to showcase the assets that we have."
The Aster is part of the RSAF's ongoing efforts to enhance its integrated air defence system, which comprises a combination of advanced sensors, command and control systems, and weapon systems.
Singapore took its first delivery of the French-made Aster last year.
The RSAF declined to reveal the number of Aster systems it has purchased, citing security reasons.
Range in kilometres at which the Aster-30 can intercept air threats.
Number of people needed to operate the Aster-30.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the system's purchase in 2013. He said then that advanced militaries in France and Italy use the Aster, which is "many times more potent" than Singapore's current I-Hawk ground-based air defence system.
Mr Ng said then that the system would allow Singapore to engage multiple threats simultaneously and from a longer distance, as well as complement a mobile and shorter-range ground-based air defence system known as Spyder.
The Aster-30 can intercept air threats at a range of 70km. It can be operated by just three people.
In contrast, the I-Hawk system, which has been in service for more than 30 years, has a range of 40km. More than 30 people are needed to operate a single I-Hawk.
Members of the public interested in viewing the Aster and other mobile defence systems outside of the National Day Parade will be able to do so on Saturday.
More than 60 vehicles will gather at the F1 Pit Building before fanning out on four different routes to five heartland areas across Singapore.
The vehicles will reach the five destination points - near Junction 8 in Bishan, where the Aster is headed; Wisma Geylang Serai; Jurong East, near Westgate; Punggol, near Waterway Point; and Woodlands, near Causeway Point - by about 6.40pm on Saturday.
They are expected to be in the heartland areas until about 8pm.
Correction note: In an earlier version of this story, a picture of the Spyder air defence system was published instead. We are sorry for the error.