Monday, February 8, 2016

Tidbits on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

Enjoying your long weekend?

Here are some tidbits on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for you to mull over the holiday season:

The stealthiest asset in Fleet RSN is also its oldest: the former Royal Swedish Navy diesel-electric submarines.

Missile Gun Boats (above) were armed with two types of anti-ship missiles, which is a more diverse anti-ship warload than any other class of RSN man-of-war.

The aerials for Singapore's longest range experimental radar, developed by researchers from Singapore's Defence Science & Technology Agency and the Nanyang Technological University and ONERA from France, were mounted on the east breakwater pier at the RSN's Changi Naval Base. The 100-metre long aerials were used by the experimental HFSW long-range radar.

When the Singapore Armed Forces replaced the V-200 with the M-113 in the early 1970s, it gave up an armoured fighting vehicle with a turret-mounted 20mm Oerlikon cannon and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun and a roof-mounted GPMG for a 12.7mm heavy machine gun in an open cupola. It took SAF Armour more than 20 years to close the firepower and protection deficit. The gap was closed when M-113s were upgraded to Ultra standard and some vehicles were armed with the Rafael 25mm overhead weapon station.

The Singapore Army operates more Bronco variants than you have fingers and toes.

When the Commando Special Operations Force (SOF) ended the hijacking of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ117 on 26 March 1991, the unit's identity was secret. It took six more years before the SOF name was declassified on 20 February 1997 - which was some 13 years after SOF was formed in 1984.

The hitting power of the Army's Soltam 160mm Very Heavy Mortars was unmatched until the Bronco 120mm Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System entered service.

Two SAF weapons trace their genealogy to the Second World War: these are the 75mm gun on the AMX-13 (which the French adapted from the Krupp 7.5cm gun on the Panther tank) and the 30mm ADEN gun on RSAF Hawker Hunters (which was based on the Mauser MG213 cannon developed for the Luftwaffe to engage Allied heavy bombers).

The SAF operated the most powerful variants of these weapons:

  • Hawker Hunter
  • AMX-13 light tank
  • F-5E/F Tiger II

The anti-tank weapon with the longest range was not operated by the Armour or Infantry, but by the Singapore Artillery. That weapon system has now been retired as the SAF has other ways to kill MBTs at long-range.

With a max range of 80km, the RSAF Bloodhound had the longest reach among all former and existing RSAF SAMs.

The grass fields around Bloodhound surface to air missile batteries at Ang Mo Kio, Missile Site Bravo, were maintained as a buffer for the Bloodhound missile rocket boosters. The retirement of the Bloodhounds in 1990 freed this stretch of land for redevelopment. Nanyang Polytechnic and ITE Central now sit on this land.

If the control towers at RSAF air bases are put out of action, the business continuity plan will kick into action. Air base and flying activities can be monitored and controlled from where the sun doesn't shine, giving RSAF air bases a measure of resilience.

The RSAF's 160 Squadron retired its 35mm Oerlikons without saying what replaced the anti-aircraft gun. But the unit remains as an active air defence squadron. Guess what 160 SQN is armed with.


Donald said...

Mr. Boey is intriguing and cryptic as always. might Pointer Volume 40, Number 1 offer a hint on the RSAF perceives GBAD?

shawncentric said...

Point of fact.

The AMX-13 is/was available with a 90mm & 105mm cannon as well as various upgrades including ATGM mounts. Unless it was kept a secret, the army never up-gunned the SM1 from the original 75mm that came with the second-hand tanks.

In fact, the Indonesian Army currently operates unarmoured 90mm armed AMX-13s.

David Boey said...

Hi Shawn,
The 75mm gun on SAF SM1 light tanks was not upgraded.

But the ammo was.



w.h said...

About 160 SQN: I wonder if its mission of airfield defence is still relevant…

tragickingdom said...

Which is that long range anti-tank artillery weapon referred to?

Freespirit said...

What is the reference to F-5E/F pointing to?
F-5 are armed with M39 20mm guns.