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New military facility will ramp up realism for SAF training

SINGAPORE — From dense clusters of shophouses to low-rise residences, a sprawling military training facility the size of about 120 football fields will be built southwest of Lim Chu Kang, in an effort to ramp up training realism for soldiers.

New military facility will ramp up realism for SAF training

Still image taken from video of a map of the SAFTI training area. Photo: MINDEF

SINGAPORE — From dense clusters of shophouses to low-rise residences, a sprawling military training facility the size of about 120 football fields will be built southwest of Lim Chu Kang, in an effort to ramp up training realism for soldiers. 

The 88ha Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (Safti) City will include 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. 

(Map of the SAFTI training area. Graphic: MINDEF)

While the Republic was building training facilities overseas, Dr Ng said such world-class facilities must be available on home turf too. “We must guard against over-dependence on overseas training grounds,” he said, noting that the bulk of training was still done here, especially for the Army. 

Composed of two sectors, Safti City’s 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. 

(An artist's impression of SAFTI City Sector 1. Graphic: MINDEF)

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.

(An artist's impression of SAFTI City Sector 2. Graphic: MINDEF)

Through it all, a serviceman and unit’s combat actions will be tracked in real-time using battlefield instrumentation and video cameras. Data collected 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. “Safti City (will) allow any battalion to fight across different terrains successively,” said Dr Ng, adding that it would take national service training to a “much higher level of realism and effectiveness”.

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. 

(An artist's impression of the Instrumented Battle Circuits (IBACs). Graphic: MINDEF)

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 will allow intensified and more efficient training in smaller spaces. 

Apart from greater realism and interactivity — with features such as simulated artillery bombardment and air strikes — these battle circuits will also have an improved battlefield-monitoring system. 

Tapping data analytics and user-centric debriefing tools, it will provide feedback on soldiers’ and units’ training to improve performance. 

 

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story said that the training facility will be as big as Bishan town. Mindef has clarified that this is incorrect; Safti City is smaller than Bishan.

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