SINGAPORE: There will be tighter security measures, including a harsher stance against errant drone flyers, at the National Day Parade (NDP) next Wednesday (Aug 9).
Authorities said more than 5,000 security personnel and volunteers, as well as about 500 medical staff, have been deployed for this year's parade.
Other increased security measures include the deployment of anti-terror Emergency Response Team officers at the parade for the first time, a focus on possible chemical, biological, radiological and explosive (CBRE) contingencies, as well as hostile vehicle mitigation measures to prevent vehicle dash-through incidents.
NEW RADAR SYSTEM CAN DETECT DRONES 5KM AWAY
A new anti-drone radar system has also been installed as part of tighter measures against drones and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) at the parade.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the NDP 2017 Executive Committee earlier announced that aerial activities such as flying kites and drones and hoisting tethered balloons will not be allowed over parts of Singapore on selected days and times leading up to the event.
The new Gamekeeper system is designed to detect, track and classify targets the size of small consumer drones in a 5km radius, pinpointing the general vicinity of the pilot and machine so authorities can take follow-up action.
Speaking to reporters at a media feature of the parade’s security measures on Wednesday (Aug 2), chairman for the parade’s Security and Contingency Committee Colonel Tong Yi Chuen said it was important to control the flying of drones in the area as they may affect the safety of the low flying aircraft involved in the NDP.
The system will augment the additional boots on the ground dedicated to apprehending errant flyers in and around this year’s parade, which authorities said will be less lenient than in previous years.
The system was extended to the authorities from ST Electronics “to test its drone detection capabilities, so that (they) can detect and track any unauthorised drone movements around the Marina Bay Floating Platform”, Mr Tong said.
UK-based radar technology firm Aveillant sold the system to ST Electronics in February, and it was brought in ahead of the parade’s second preview show on Saturday. According to Aveillant, Singapore is the second installation of the system in a major urban environment after Monaco. France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport is the third location to have installed the system.
On Wednesday, the police announced that 12 breaches of drone flying had been detected within the temporary restricted areas, and had been referred to the authorities for investigations, even before the installation of the Gamekeeper system.
Assistant director of the Singapore Police Force’s Major Security and Events Division, Superintendent Tay Wee Li, said advisory panels regarding the temporary ban on flying drones and other UAVs have been displayed around the Marina Bay area to alert the public of the offence.
Anyone found flying a drone within the restricted area may be arrested and face a fine of up to S$20,000 and jailed up to 12 months.