To Singapore-watchers familiar with the island's military geography, a map (click above or Google your own hi-res copy) showing how land might be used in the Lion City in 2030 unearths nuggets of defence information.
Sizeable areas of the island will still be classified for "Special use" by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), even as familiar military training grounds are given up on mainland Singapore in the name of national development.
Tengah Air Base
The question mark that hung over Tengah Air Base (TAB) on Thursday night, when reports that a Tengah housing estate would be developed, has been erased. The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) largest fighter base will stay put in 17 years' time even as surrounding areas make way for a new town for 55,000 homes about three to five years' from now.
While TAB remains, two sizeable camps in the west are noticeably absent from the Singapore Ministry of National Development's Land Use Plan 2030.
Tuas Naval Base and Tg Gul
These are the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Tuas Naval Base (TNB) and the Singapore Army's Tanjong Gul Camp. The footprint now occupied by these areas has been coloured for Industry use.
A "Special use" rectangle on the extreme western end of Singapore could be the candidate to replace Tuas Naval Base. This seafront property is strategically located. The site fronts the southernmost entrance to the Malacca Strait and will allow RSN warships unimpeded access to the strait and sea lanes in the Singapore Strait compared to TNB, which by 2030 will find its access to open sea blocked by an enlarged Jurong Island as well as congested shipping channels.
If TNB stays where it is, sea denial missions involving sea mines laid by converted trawlers or merchant ships during a period of tension could lock in naval base residents once the balloon goes up.
Moving eastward from Tuas, the SAFTI Military Institute remains a recognisable geographical landmark. A sliver of land off Tengah Reservoir is likely where a concrete tower for visual and electronic observation has been built for the SAF.
The "Special use" patch next to the red "Institution" area indicates the RSAF's Missile Site Charlie is safe. Decades ago, the site was home to RSAF Bloodhound long-range SAMs. It is now said to bristle with truck-mounted Spyder missiles. In the very near future, it is thought that a new type of guided munition could possibly occupy MS "C" - but this is a wild guess.
As we move north, we find that TAB stays where it has always been since the base was built by the British before WW2. Murai Camp, home to the RSAF's UAV squadrons, will stay put. Swathes of pink indicate where housing estates - some new, some planned - will be sited.
The Armour community will recognise that Sungei Gedong Camp, Home of the Armour, will still be where it has always been in the backwoods of Singapore.
The Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the RSAF radar station/command centre atop Bukit Gombak keep their GPS coordinates.
Largest camp complex?
Other familiar sites include Sembawang Air Base, home to the RSAF's rotary wing community, Paya Lebar Air Base as well as Changi Air Base (West), including possibly Loop-3 Merah.
And just as TAB is noticeably absent in the west, the RSAF will apparently
To the east, one can make out the basins of the RSN's Changi Naval Base (CNB). The "Special use" land adjacent to the naval base is possibly land reserved for an upcoming SAF camp complex - again, this is a shot in the dark. Looking at the footprint of this camp complex, this facility is likely to be one of the largest Army camps in Singapore. A camp complex is a military installation designed to share common facilities such as the cook house, shooting ranges and sports facilities like soccer fields, running track and swimming pools.
Another fixture in the east is Bedok Camp, Home of the Guards heliborne infantry. Built astride the East Coast Parkway's 4km to 5km mark, it is possible that the expressway outside the camp can be turned into an emergency runway. Observers who remarked that the runway is too short for fast jets would do well to remember that Guards fly into battle aboard helicopters - which could explain why the
It is instructive to note that land reclamation on Tekong, currently Singapore's largest offshore island, is due to commence "in the nearer term". The island remains largely green in 2013. This is because Tekong (its name is Malay for "centre"), an island in between Singapore's Changi Coast and Malaysia's Johor state, will be used almost exclusively by the SAF for manoeuvre training.
Training on Tekong, which has an oil palm estate, rubber estate and a FIBUA village for urban combat training, will replace mock battles fought in the more rural parts of mainland Singapore.
To put things into perspective, the 17-year Land Use Plan means that soldiers who enlist for full-time National Service this year would have completed their NS obligations by 2030.
It may be a long time coming, but it's comforting to know that those of use still alive in 2030 should be able to find the familiar SAF camps right where they have always been.