Sunday, June 20, 2010
Eight things to note about the NDP 2010 Mobile Column
The Mobile Column that is practising for the National Day Parade 2010 is the most powerfully-armed and capable ever.
Come 9 August 2010, after the Mobile Column presents its compliments to the Singapore President at the Padang, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) war machines will fan out to five heartland National Day celebration venues across the island.
Many Military defence elements in the NDP 2010 Mobile Column are parade virgins.
Here are some jottings from my notebook after the first Combined Rehearsal (CR1) held on a sun-baked Padang in Singapore's city centre.
Home Team elements will be addressed in a separate post.
1. Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks. They serve with the 48th Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment. Two types were seen during the Mobile Column's first Combined Rehearsal (CR1), the vanilla Leo2s in German warpaint alongside an up-armoured version with enhanced frontal and rear aspect protection. What you don't see is the defence electronics that links each Leo2 MBT with the SAF's battlefield command network which gives each tank commander a clearer idea his battlespace.
I hope the Mobile Column keeps the mix of vanilla Leo2s and zhnged Leopards (zhng is a local slang for "enhanced") so people can see the difference.
2. Terrex AV8 infantry fighting vehicles. Developed by Singapore Technologies Kinetics, three variants of the Terrex will drive past City Hall for the first time. These include the Terrex Command Post, Terrex OWS with a 40mm CIS 40 automatic grenade launcher and 7.62mm GPMG and a variant with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun paired with a 7.62mm GPMG. All the infantry weapons were made by STK.
3. Singapore Artillery contingent. The pair of Man five-tonner trucks that took part in CR1 right behind the MB240GD command jeep are unlikely to appear during the actual parade. Look out for the war machine that will appear in its place... : )
4. The Bronco all-terrain tracked carrier (i.e. known as the Warthog in British Army service) fitted for the STrike ObseRver Mission (STORM) battlefield surveillance and target designation role is another Mobile Column debutant.
5. The Singapore Combat Engineers M3 amphibious bridge layer is a new entrant to the Mobile Column attendance list. Singaporeans may remember the M3 as the platform for the Presidential Salute gun battery during last year's parade.
6. The Combat Service Support elements such as the field kitchen, field shower and washing machines are elements responsible for sustaining the Singapore Army's defence readiness during prolonged outfield operations. CSS elements kill bad morale. That's why they're so vital.
7. The Republic of Singapore Navy's Protector unmanned surface vessel will make its parade debut mounted on a trailer. This is another milestone for the Mobile Column.
8. Assorted odds and ends:
* The Military Intelligence contingent will parade for the first time with a hand-held unmanned aerial vehicle and a Bronco signals vehicle.
* The BX2s with turret-mounted 30mm Bushmaster cannon and 7.62mm co-axial GPMG are Mobile Column virgins.
* LARC-V amphibious vehicles will be seen for the first time armed.
* The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Corps' mobile field hospital is new.
* The Packbot robot that serves the SAF Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives (CBRE) Defence Group is another first timer to the Mobile Column.
Posted by David Boey at 12:52 PM