SAFTI City 'the size of Bishan' to be built for army training

The current SAFTI training area will be revamped over a decade into SAFTI City - a realistic simulation environment the size of Bishan town.
Channel NewsAsia 3 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) western SAFTI training area will be revamped into a new “SAFTI City” over a decade and at a cost of about S$900 million, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Friday (Mar 3).

“Singapore has finite land and we are building new training facilities overseas,” he said. But at the same time, we must have world-class training facilities in Singapore itself. We must guard against over-dependence on overseas training grounds. It is not possible for all our NSmen to only train overseas as the bulk of our training is still conducted locally, especially for our Army.”

Noting that modern warfare and peacekeeping missions alike are now much more likely to take place in built-up cities instead, Dr Ng said: “The new SAFTI City will allow any battalion to fight across different terrains successively as they will do in real-life missions. It will therefore have both urban and conventional terrain. In the urban setting there will be low houses and high-rise buildings. In the open terrain - jungles, hills and rivers to cross.”

“But the signature change will be that state-of-the-art training simulation technologies will be designed into new physical facilities to replicate distinct operating environments.”

SAFTI City will span 88 hectares, about the size of Bishan town, and comprises two sectors of extensive road networks and more than 200 buildings.

The first sector, located at the northern edge of the Poyan Reservoir, will prepare soldiers for Island Defence competencies in places like Jurong Island, against a backdrop of a petrochemical complex, warehouses, container parks and industrial buildings.

The second sector focuses on training homeland security, disaster relief and civil contingency response operations. It will simulate Singapore’s dense urban environment through basement carparks, dense clusters of shophouses, high-rise interconnected buildings, a bus interchange, an underground MRT station with multiple surface exits, low-rise residences and rubble.

SAFTI City will also be equipped with Battlefield Instrumentation and video cameras to allow real-time tracking of the servicemen’s and unit’s combat actions. The data will be collated and processed using intelligent analytics software and packaged into learning materials.

Added Dr Ng: “There will be interactive targets and battlefield effects such as artillery attacks that will allow our soldiers to train more realistically and provide feedback about how well they performed. When completed, SAFTI City will take our NS training onto a much higher level of realism and effectiveness.”

OPTIMISING TRAINING ON LIMITED LAND

In the areas surrounding SAFTI City, three new Instrumented Battle Circuits (iBACs) will be developed in existing SAF training areas in Pasir Laba, Ama Keng and Murai.

The iBACs address Singapore’s space constraints with design and landscapes to allow intensified and more efficient training in smaller plots of land.

They come with features like interactive avatars as well as simulated artillery bombardment and airstrikes to create realistic and immersive training environments to train small-unit fighting skills, said Dr Ng. “Different scenarios can be configured for both peacetime contingency and conventional military operations,” he added.

The Pasir Laba iBAC will facilitate light, motorised and mechanised infantry training for up to three companies and feature platoon battle courses.

Meanwhile, Ama Keng can accommodate concurrent training in mounted operations by two platoons, and allow soldiers to execute battle drills from on-board combat vehicles such as the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles, Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank.

Murai’s iBAC will feature nine section-level battle lanes for infantry sections to train their cognitive and psychomotor skills using customised mission scenarios.

SOLDIER STRONG

Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung also announced that a new Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) will be operational at the end of 2017.

“This centre will focus on fitness regimes, soldier nutrition, pre-habilitation regimes to prevent injuries, and rehabilitation to help injured national servicemen recover,” said Mr Ong. “The centre will also integrate training packages on resilience to enhance the mental strength of our soldiers.”

The CESP will provide a comprehensive and scientific approach through programmes and methods developed by research specialists. It will also look at enhancing soldier performance during training and other operational uses, by collecting anthropometric data to allow the SAF to design systems that are more ergonomic.

MINDEF also said the CESP would look into fitness and recovery programmes to support soldiers after full-time National Service.


'City' the size of Bishan to be built for SAF training
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 3 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE — From dense clusters of shophouses to low-rise residences, a sprawling military training facility the size of Bishan will be built southwest of Lim Chu Kang, in an effort to ramp up training realism for soldiers.

The 88-ha Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (Safti) City will span more than 200 buildings and extensive road networks, allowing soldiers to train for operations from homeland security to counter-terrorism, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced in Parliament on Friday (March 3).

The S$900 million facility will be constructed over a decade. Split into two sectors, its first sector will be devoted to training servicemen in island defence competencies, such as coastal defence operations.

Located at the northern edge of the Poyan Reservoir, this sector will comprise elements such as a petrochemical complex, warehouses and container parks.

The second sector, devoted to sharpening competencies in homeland security and urban operations, will have urban features to simulate the dense environment of Singapore’s commercial residential areas.

These include high-rise interconnected buildings, low-rise residences, an MRT station with multiple exits and a bus interchange. It will also allow the Army to train servicemen for disaster-relief operations, as well as for civil contingencies like floods to support the Home Affairs Ministry.

Through it all, a serviceman and unit’s combat actions will be tracked in real-time using battlefield instrumentation and video cameras. Data amassed will be put through intelligent analytics software and packaged into learning materials, for effective training debriefs.

For more realistic training, the facility will also be armed with battlefield-effect simulators to bring about an immersive environment for training.

Meanwhile, three battle circuits will also be developed in existing SAF training spaces in western Singapore. They will be situated in the Pasir Laba and Ama Keng training areas, and the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF).

Allowing up to three infantry companies to train at the same time, the Pasir Laba circuit will be designated for light, motorised and mechanised infantry operations. It will feature, among other things, battle courses where platoons can hone their drills for attack and defence scenarios.

The Ama Keng circuit will allow motorised or mechanised infantry platoons to do drill-based training, enabling two such platoons to train concurrently. The battle drills include ambush drills and securing and clearing mine clusters.

Finally, an existing MUTF sector will transform to feature nine section-level battle lanes, which can run concurrently, enabling light and motorised infantry sections to hone their cognitive and psychomotor skills while operating in a complex urban space.

With more motorised and mechanised SAF units pushing up the Army’s land-use needs to conduct training, these battle circuits allow intensified and more efficient training in smaller spaces.

Apart from greater realism and interactivity — with features such as simulated artillery bombardment and airstrikes and interactive virtual avatars — these battle circuits will also have an improved battlefield-monitoring system. Tapping data analytics and user-centric debriefing tools, it will be able to provide objective feedback on soldiers’ and units’ training to improve performance.

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