SAF to set up sustainability office, trial cleaner fuels for some fighter jets in latest push to go green
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will set up a sustainability office and trial cleaner fuels for some of its fighter jets in its latest efforts to go green.
SAF and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) will also reduce water consumption by using more efficient water fittings, and install smart meters in all their buildings to monitor greenhouse gas emissions as well as waste and water consumption and reach required targets.
“By 2030, MINDEF/SAF will reduce the growth of overall carbon emissions by two-thirds compared to business as usual,” the ministry said in a factsheet on Monday (Mar 1). “By 2050, we aim to halve the 2030 emissions in line with national strategy.”
This comes as Singapore on Feb 10 unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a whole-of-nation movement to fight climate change and push towards halving the country’s 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“In line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 (SGP30), MINDEF and SAF will more than do our part,” the ministry said on Friday. “We will meet the national targets set under the SGP30, without compromising operational readiness.”
READ: SAF on a mission to go green, starting with new hangar that produces more energy than it consumes
MINDEF also announced last year that it would replace its admin vehicles with hybrid models, install solar panels on more of its buildings and introduce a food waste management system in more camps.
MINDEF said the new SAF Sustainability Office will drive the planning and compliance of these sustainability efforts. The office will report to the SAF’s Chief of Staff-Joint Staff, who will assume the role of SAF Chief Sustainability Officer.
“The office will be advised by an external advisory panel made up of experts in various fields,” MINDEF said.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Monday that the office will implement a structure to achieve sustainability outcomes and "not get distracted along the way".
"There is another force that can dissipate our efforts. If each group champions its favourite environmental cause, the SAF could be pulled in different and unproductive directions," he said in his ministry's Committee of Supply speech.
"MINDEF/SAF must start off on and maintain the correct trajectory, guided by science, data and evidence on effective outcomes."
CLEANER JET FUEL
MINDEF said the SAF will reduce emissions from its platforms where technology is available and cost effective, and without losing operational effectiveness or incurring a “sharp rise” in spending.
MINDEF pointed out that for combat platforms, cost-effective green fuels are not commercially available yet. Nevertheless, it said the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will trial green aviation fuel for some of its F-16 fighter jets.
“This is to understand the engineering, logistics and infrastructure works needed to scale up its use when green fuels become more cost effective,” MINDEF said.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will adopt readily available technology, such as energy-efficient LED lights for its entire fleet.
“For newer ships like the littoral mission vessels, the RSN will introduce zero emissions ozone-free water-mist fire suppression systems and look into using advanced garbage converters that reduce the waste volume by up to 80 per cent,” MINDEF added.
REDUCING WASTE AND WATER
MINDEF also announced that it would extend food waste segregation and recycling processes to all its cookhouses by 2024. It has engaged waste disposal contractors to recycle and repurpose electronic waste, waste oil, chemicals and scrap metal.
“We will also increase the number of recycling bins in all camps and bases,” it stated. “The aim is to reduce waste by 30 per cent by 2030.”
To reduce our usage, MINDEF and the SAF will progressively replace water fittings with more efficient ones that have at least three ticks under the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme. The target is to reduce water consumption by 10 per cent by 2030.
“We have also implemented rainwater harvesting systems in selected camps and will continue to invest in water-recycling systems, such as those for vehicular washing and sanitation,” MINDEF said.
MINDEF and the SAF will also install smart utility metering systems progressively for all its buildings.
MINDEF said this will enable units to know how much they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and waste or water consumption, allowing unit commanders to take ownership and make necessary changes.
“When the roll-out of smart metering systems is complete, unit commanders will be equipped to know how they compare with their peers and benchmarks, and to reach their required targets,” it added.
Digital solutions will also be implemented in other areas of MINDEF and the SAF to improve organisational effectiveness.
These include an RSAF military transport fleet management app that streamlines administrative processes for transport operators and supervisors by digitalising manual recording, for instance in logbook entries, driver’s performance cards and vehicle maintenance forms.
The app also automates the tracking of mileage, duration of journey as well as vehicles’ maintenance schedules.
At Paya Lebar Air Base, where it is on trial, the app has reduced the time taken for administrative processes by 75 per cent and the probability of human errors, MINDEF said. It will be progressively rolled out across the RSAF.
In the bigger picture, MINDEF said it will leverage commercial cloud platforms to host less sensitive digital services, functions and data, enabling faster delivery of new digital services, increased system availability and scalability.
“The MINDEF Commercial Cloud will be ready to host the first tranche of pilot digital products for internal organisational needs from mid-2021,” it said.
MINDEF and SAF will also develop a dedicated cloud housed on their own servers, to store classified information and workloads will.
“This will allow us to reap the benefits of cloud computing securely while greatly reducing the exposure of our data to external sources and cybersecurity risks,” MINDEF said.
MINDEF said it began operating a Digital Factory in September 2020 to design, test and scale even more digital products that optimise service experience, business processes and productivity.
“The factory is a collaborative facility to securely build and deploy software up to three times faster than before,” it said. “It is a set-up where project leads, developers and user experience designers can come together.”
The Digital Factory has since developed six user-centric prototypes, which will be piloted starting from mid-2021, MINDEF added.
Dr Ng said the factory has allowed researchers to build and deploy software up to three times faster than before.
"We are already employing artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics to enable new warfighting concepts and force multipliers for the next-gen SAF," he added.