Monday, July 11, 2011

Revamped Singapore Army infantry section gives soldiers much punch... and adds to alphabet soup of military acronyms

ACMS: Advanced Combat Man System. The ACMS is the catch-all term for a range of capability-enhancing projects for Singapore Army infantry warfighters. The Infantry Capability Development Approach calls for improvements under a roadmap driven by the 4 "S" - Shoot, Sense, Shield and Sustain.

BFS: Basic Fighting System, which refers to the battlefield computer carried in a backpack that helps a 7-man infantry Section deploy and fight as part of the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) 3rd Generation Networked Force. The Singapore Army's BFS comprises the following: HMD Helmet-Mounted Display that can project maps or camera images to an eyepiece, SI or System Interactor which is a handheld computer keypad/TV remote control, SWC Soldier Wearable Computer, DRM (see below) and PRC 650 for voice and data comms.

CEA: Commander Enhancement Add-on. Function keys and scopes mounted on a modified SAR-21 5.56mm assault rifle with a Modular Mounting System (MMS). The CEA allows Section Commanders to designate targets and send voice, still images or stream video images while keeping the rifle pointed down range towards the threat. 

DRM: Dead Reckoning Module. A navigation aid that helps warfighters find their way in urban areas or thick jungle where GPS signals may be blocked.

FSS: Forward Sensor System. Weighing 3kg, a FSS can be sent by wireless link up to 200m ahead of its masters to gather video images of what lies ahead. The FSS wireless link can work in urban clutter and does not need line of sight with its master.

KHS: Key Hole Sensor. A 500g hand-held camera probe that is small enough to snake its way through key holes (hence its name) or bore holes to allow warfighters to see what lurks behind an obstruction.

LORIS NVS: The 325g LORIS night vision system is a monocular that can detect a man-size target up to 180m away, which is 1.8 times further compared to the range of an earlier NVS. It replaces the Mini-N-SEAS (Mini-Night-Single Eye Acquisition System) which could recognise targets up to 100m away.

PRC 650: A hand-held communications device (i.e. walkie talkie) that allows Team Leaders and Section Commanders to talk to one another securely.

RCF: The Round Corner Fire system helps soldiers aim their rifles round a corner, from behind cover or above a trench lip while keeping their bodies out of sight and protected from return fire. The 550g device has a camera that feeds the image from the optical sight on the SAR-21 assault rifle onto a small screen, which can be tilted towards the hidden firer to help the warfighter deliver aimed rifle fire.

TTS: Tactical Throwing Sensor. This is a 550g video camera encased in a rugged, self-propelled and remotely controlled casing. The TTS is designed to be thrown ahead of an infantry Section so that the video camera can send images back to the BFS. The new version of the TTS replaces the camera-equipped ball which made a famous appearance during a COS debate in Parliament some years ago.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to the HQ 9 Division/Infantry personnel on duty at the SAF Day event at Temasek Polytechnic who fielded queries and helped me piece together this glossary. It is fascinating to see how the Singapore Army's ACMS has grown in scope, capabilities and ruggedness, yet dropped in weight and bulk, since the prototype was unveiled for field trials years ago.


Anonymous said...

Ouch ! The first thought that comes to mind is heat exhaustion....

Anonymous said...

Thanks David. Would you care to point us to more detailed info if any is available online? As the depiction is not clear, I am unsure if the section is now split into two teams instead of three. A glossary of the acronyms would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

All the bells and whistles.

Once one of them starts to bleed, the rest will faint.

And btw, none of them will fire weapon without earplugs on.

David Boey said...

There was a pretty comprehensive ACMS display at Temasek Polytechnic on SAF Day (1 July'11).

Intend to write more. Have been busy coordinating polytechnic internships for Sept'11, plus the start of the CRs means half the weekend is spent stalking the rehearsals.

Callsign 24 said...

Is this for real?..our latest org for section level, 7 nos is freaking thin for mancount.

Anonymous said...

Callsign24, yes it has been this way for 25 years now. They started with 9 and went down to 8 and 7 a long time ago.

Callsign 24 said...

Yes, I remembered it was down to 8, but 7 was really thin.

GGK said...

two ultimax... awesome

Anonymous said...

For a 7-men section, there is still some buffer to accomodate for casualties. In my opinion, up to 3 casualties can be sustained before the section becomes ineffectual.

The remaining 4 men, divided into two 2-men teams can still be an effective fighting force operating within a platoon.

Anonymous said...

One other thing, all these fancy gadgets, why doesn't the SAF invest in proper ballistic eyewear for our soldiers, being that we have a rather high incidence of myopia (no pun intended);)

Some of the scout sections (and indeed I'm now seeing Commandos)have pretty thick prescriptions. Someone loses their pair in thick terrain, they are a liability and pretty well useless IMO.

Anonymous said...

With regards the 7 men section, it's too thin for operations in medium density vegetation IMO.

I was with a 7 men section in Reservist. YOu only needed a couple of Keng kings, several calling in sick or injured and your platton (forget section) was down to the teens. Hardly useful for covering in dense terrain.

7 men section IMO works OK for mechanised troops but is lightweight in even light jungle.

Then there's the cumbersome 3 group section movement. Looks like they have replaced it with 2 teams but where does the section leader go?

Probably easier if coordination was restricted to odds and evens but there should be at least 4 per group.

IMO 8 men is minimum. The extra man MUST be a medic. One platoon medic is a complete joke when the shooting starts.

Anonymous said...

Both Matador and SAW are a pain in the ass in close terrain.

Matador (slung) impedes movement.

SAW (With all it's length and pertrubrance)is hard to manouever through jungle.

Presumably the SAF plans to hold nodes of communication and stick to junctions and roads rather than venture too deep into jungle.

The enemy may not be so cooperative.They may cede territory and hit on all sides on their own time.

Modern ISR surveillance works to a degree in open territory. Jungle terrain is a different matter.It will still need clearing through ardous foot slogging.

There are limits still to tech. If we can't get the basics right, then we've started on the wrong foot IMO.

Anonymous said...

Finally M203 on a SAR makes no sense. We're already thin on the ground, the last thing we need is thin firepower.

A South African Streetcleaner, automated grenade launcher (of the type employed by the MAF) is the way to go.

Sling the weapon at the back or attach securely to LBV. It will allow both grenadiers greater dexterity (with SAR21 piccatiny rails)and they could be better task to carry some of these other 'mysterious acronyms'.

Current section on display in hokkien terms: "Ho Kua Bo Ho Cjia" :P

Anonymous said...

Sorry, haven't quite finished...

those goggles, are the men suppose to go on dirtbikes?

I haven't had a chance to try them on but I'd wager the goggles are fine for short duration operations (like wayang show). On longer duration, they'll propbably start coming off very quickly (and I'm talking on the soldier's own elect). Hot and foggy comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like this section is geared to fight in dense forest terrain..

David Boey said...

Hi Anonymous 15 July 1:20PM,
The goggles I brought along for Ops Flying Eagle was among the top five Most Useful items during OFE.

Wearing them allowed picture taking to continue safely at improvised helipads while rotor downwash was blowing debris all over the place.

SAF NSFs are now issued with ESS goggles. A good piece of kit. I believe they wear them only when needed and don't have it over their face all the time.

re: MAF section. Agree on the 40mm multi-shot grenade launcher.


David Boey said...

Hi Anonymous 15 July 11:54 PM,
This image was part of an infoboard showing how an SAF Infantry Section might be equipped for urban ops.


Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the clarification. Makes more sense.

I suppose I could see a 7 man section with adequte support from terrex working in an Urban setting.

but I'm still not convinced with the lack of manpower in mixed terrain/vegetation.

I still think we are thin if the battleground moves away from urban areas.

It is right to develop an emphasis on urban terrain but I wonder if we are diminishing our ability to fight in more forested area.

Afterall, if I was the enemy (Taking lessons learnt from Iraq) I would relinquish the urban landscape and use the jungle to out manouver (hit own time own target)as in Afghanistan (with the mountains)

Hopefully SAF takes the sensible step IMO and has 2 types of infantry organization. One for urban/mechanised warfare and one for more jungle intensive terrain.

Look forward to your explanation on the acronyms!

Anonymous said...

RE : Goggles...and I thought they were good for swimming too.

Ballistic eye glasses. What we really need.

zjz said...

Something out of topic here. Today's 90c paper's article on Chinese aircraft carrier quoted that Russians deploy the Yak-41M. The Yak-41M (also known as Yak-141) never get past the few developmental airframes.

Defence articles in the 90c should improved on their contents.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 16 8:13AM I would do the exact opposite. To defeat an enemy in sparsely-populated, even jungle, terrain is easy. Removing him from an unpopulated urban area is costlier in SAF lives. To defeat an enemy hiding among a city-sized civilian urban population would take an Iraq-style surge, something the SAF can ill-afford to do. You appear to have derived the wrong lessons from Iraq.

Anonymous said...

David, would you care to enlighten if the SAF has moved from a 3-2-2 to a 1-3-3 section, or if the 3-2-2 arrangement remains?

If the latter, I would interpret the picture to depict the SectCom's 3 man element in the middle. Has the SectCom's element has gained a SAW and lost an M-203? That is most unlikely and tactically illogical.

Rather I sense the usual shoddy work here: misleading captions having to fit a mis-posed picture. Students are unable to tell the difference anyway.

David Boey said...

Hi above,
The 7-man Section comprises two teams (Team 1 and Team 2) with the same small arms (SAR-21, SAR-21/M203, SAW) led by a Section Commander.

The three soldiers on the right are Team 1 while the leftmost three make up Team 2.

The arrangement seen above is for Urban Ops.


Anonymous said...

1st and 2nd Mat? That's the best name they could come up with?!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine the amount of 1206 those over loaded NSFs have to sign. At the first inkling of a hasty retreat, one would most likely discard heavy equipment.