A military training facility will be built southwest of Lim Chu Kang, to build up training realism for soldiers, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen announced in Parliament on Friday (3 March).
The 88-ha Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (SAFTI) City will spread more than 200 buildings including dense clusters of shop houses to low-rise residences, and extensive networks of roads enabling soldiers to train for operations from homeland security to counter-terrorism.
The facility will be constructed about a decade, split into two sectors with a S$900 million budget, Dr Ng informed. “Singapore has finite land and we are building new training facilities overseas. But at the same time, we must have world-class training facilities in Singapore itself,” he said.
Mentioning that modern warfare and peacekeeping missions are more likely to take place in built-up cities, 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.”
The first sector will be located at the northern edge of the Poyan Reservoir, to be allocated for training servicemen in island defense competencies, including coastal defense operations.
It will comprise a petrochemical complex, warehouses and container parks.
The second sector, prepared for sharpening competencies in homeland security and urban operations, will have urban features simulating Singapore’s dense commercial residential areas and environment, including high-rise buildings, low-rise residences, an MRT station with multiple exits and a bus interchange.
It will also meant for the Army to train servicemen for disaster-relief operations, and for civil contingencies like floods to support the Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr Ng explained.
The serviceman and unit’s combat actions will be tracked in real-time using battlefield instrumentation and video cameras. The conjoined data will be used for effective training debriefs.
The facility will also be equipped with battlefield-effect simulators to bring about an immersive environment for more realistic training.
Along with this plan, in existing SAF training areas in western Singapore three battle circuits will also be developed. These will be placed in the Pasir Laba and Ama Keng training areas, and the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF).
The Pasir Laba circuit will be used for light, motorised and mechanised infantry operations, up to three infantry companies to train at the same time. It will include, among other facility, battle courses where platoons can train their drills for attack and defense scenarios.
The Ama Keng circuit will allow motorised or mechanised infantry platoons to train drill-based training, enabling two such platoons in unison. The battle drills will include ambush exercises and securing and clearing mine clusters.
And the existing MUTF sector will transform to feature nine section-level battle lanes, which can run together, enabling light and motorised infantry sections to sharpen their cognitive and psycho motor skills in operating in a complex urban space.
These battle circuits will also have an improved battlefield-monitoring system and are aimed to intensify and conduct more efficient training in smaller spaces.
Dr Ng had also announced the plan via his Facebook.