- POSTED: 16 Sep 2013 14:46
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Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will soon acquire a new surface-to-air missile system called the ASTER-30.
SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will soon acquire a new surface-to-air missile system called the ASTER-30.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Dr Ng said the RSAF is putting in place a state of the art multi-layered air defence system to provide a comprehensive shield to protect Singapore against airborne threats.
The ASTER-30 missile defence system against airborne threats is used by advanced militaries such as France and Italy, and is many times more potent than the current I-Hawk ground based air defence system.
The new system will allow the RSAF to engage multiple threats simultaneously and from a longer distance.
In addition, the RSAF will also upgrade its F-16 fighter jets to modernise the electronic systems and extend the equipment lifespan.
Dr Ng said these advance capabilities have now provided confidence for the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Singapore Armed Forces to consider relocating Paya Lebar air base in the long term to meet national development needs.
He also said the long-term security of Singapore will not be compromised as a result of the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase to Changi.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced at the National Day Rally that a new military airbase and fourth runway will be built at Changi East.
Dr Ng said the relocation of the airbase could only take place after existing air bases at Changi East and Tengah have been expanded.
Dr Ng explained these expansion plans are necessary to house relocated fighter and support squadrons as well as accommodate facilities currently housed in Paya Lebar.
He was responding to a question by MP for Nee Soon GRC Lim Wee Kiak on whether Singapore's security needs will be compromised with plans to relocate Paya Lebar air base.
Dr Ng said in 2011, MINDEF conducted a thorough assessment of capability and security threats over the long term.
The prime consideration has been that the security and sovereignty of the country must never be compromised.
Dr Ng said while the relocation will be costly, it will generate billions of dollars in returns to Singaporeans.
He said: "Superior air defence and strike capabilities have been built up through prudent and steady investments of resources and land allocation for our defence needs.
"And over the years, we have acquired, adapted and developed advanced technologies and state-of-art platforms to provide more accurate and timely early warning and situational awareness of potential threats. We will continue to invest in these capabilities."
Nominated Member of Parliament, Nicholas Fang, asked Dr Ng whether there is a potential in the future to consolidate all the airbase facilities in one location.
Dr Ng replied that there are no plans to do so.
He explained: "It is not our intent to squeeze our defence assets to the most efficient. There's the issue of ability of operational needs and this configuration with an expanded Changi Air Base and an expanded Tengah Air Base fulfills those needs.
"We think that, going forward for a very long time, the relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base is a long term initiative and we've given it the timeline, perhaps 2030. This will serve us for the longer term and there are no plans and no studies to even further consolidate."