SINGAPORE - Full-time national servicemen (NSFs) who typically go into service vocations are getting a feel of the rifles used by Singapore soldiers through using a shooting simulator.
NSFs graded PES E, who typically take on positions such as admin support assistants or supply assistants, will get to try out the SAR-21 weapon by using the Individual Marksmanship Trainer in an indoor virtual firing range.
PES E soldiers, along with their PES C counterparts, have been training at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) School Five since it opened at Kranji Camp last October, and Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How visited the facility on Monday (March 18).
PES C means a soldier is suitable for combat service support vocations and some combat support vocations, while PES E means they can only enter combat service support and service vocations. PES is an abbreviation of Physical Employment Standards.
Under the new curriculum, the PES E and PES C soldiers will also undergo a weapon presentation ceremony and a combined graduation parade, just like their combat-fit counterparts.
This change was implemented since BMTC School Five was created, with the new curriculum aimed at providing recruits with shared defining moments.
PES C and E recruits will spend nine weeks at BMT, comprising a four-week basic soldiering phase followed by a five-week vocation specialisation phase.
Prior to this, PES C soldiers underwent a four-week basic soldiering phase while PES E soldiers underwent a two-week military assimilation programme followed by vocational training and then active service in their units.
"The mission and purpose for School Five is to transform recruits into confident, competent and committed soldiers," said the commanding officer of BMTC School Five, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Sim Kian Hwa.
He added that another enhancement to the curriculum is the Service-Fit Fitness Programme, a self-regulated physical training programme which allows recruits to train at their own pace. It is customisable so they can "train in a safe and progressive manner", said LTC Sim.
Asked how the new school addresses training safety, LTC Sim said: "We have brought on board experienced and committed commanders, from BMTC in Tekong and also other training institutes, so that we can give them (the recruits) the due care and supervision during training.
"The commanders that are with us right now are well-trained by SAF counselling centres so they are able to better manage the recruits."
Mr Heng told the media during his visit that "it is very important for us to have effective training that is safe, but also leaves a very good and impactful sense of experience with our NS men".
He also stressed that safety in training is "front and foremost in the entire design of the curriculum", adding that parents of recruits he spoke to were "confident and reassured".
Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.