Sunday, April 26, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 20 pix: Bloodhound SAM Site RAF Seletar

This aerial view of RAF Seletar shows a Bloodhound missile site operated by Royal Air Force (RAF) 65 (SAM) Squadron in the 1960s. It was contributed by a former British serviceman who served in Singapore. The Bloodhound SAMs appear to be distributed in clusters of four with a total of nine clusters visible.

The 65 (SAM) SQN site at RAF Seletar was known as Missile Site One. Here're some views of MS1 seen from the Johor Strait. Pictures are from the National Archives of Singapore.

The Bloodhound site was renamed Missile Site Alpha after the Singapore Air Defence Command, the precursor to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), took over the RAF Bloodhounds in 1971.

The Bloodhound SAM was guided by the Type 87 Scorpion target illumination radar, visible here towering over the missile sections. 

Here's an old article I wrote on RSAF Bloodhound missile sites.

Mindef does 'national service' too

In land-scarce Singapore, even the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) performs "national service" when it gives up defence land that can be put to better uses. -My Paper

By David Boey

Thu, Mar 28, 2013
My Paper

SINGAPORE - In land-scarce Singapore, even the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) performs "national service" when it gives up defence land that can be put to better uses.

One example is the ITE College Central campus in Ang Mo Kio.

It sits on real estate once protected by Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) sentries, high fences and barbed wire, but is now an open campus whose sports facilities, FairPrice supermarket and restaurants have added much value to residents just across the road.

More than just four walls and a ceiling, the air-conditioned, Internet-enabled classrooms and well- equipped teaching facilities - you can find a Boeing 737 airliner inside, used as a teaching aid for aero-nautical-engineering students - are matched with an open concept design that encourages residents to enliven the campus.

This represents a new paradigm for school facilities that were once dormant after school hours, dead on weekends behind locked gates.

The decision to shape ITE College Central in this way underlines more than just our Government's commitment to, and support for, nurturing the next generation of industry professionals.

The very existence of the campus on former Mindef land indicates that space can be reallocated for different national needs within our lifetime, provided that we invest in good planning that ensures concurrent and competing demands for living space are weighed carefully.

The roughly 10.6ha of land taken from the SAF's Amoy Quee Camp to build the ITE has a colourful past.

The land formed part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) launch site for Bloodhound Mark II surface-to-air missiles and was once part of Singapore's largest pineapple plantation - run by the SAF. Amoy Quee Camp is still there, just downsized after some defence land was allocated for education purposes.

The Bloodhound launch site in Ang Mo Kio, known as Missile Site Bravo, was one of three air- force sites armed with missiles that could shoot down hostile aircraft up to 80km away.

Missile Site Bravo was developed in 1972 when defence planners at the then Ministry of Interior and Defence (now Mindef) recommended that Bloodhounds be deployed to two other launch sites, apart from the original Bloodhound base in Seletar.

Defence planners reasoned that Singapore should avoid putting all its eggs in one basket at Missile Site Alpha in Seletar, so land was set aside for missile sites Bravo in Ang Mo Kio and Charlie in Lim Chu Kang (next to Nanyang Technological University), for the air force to operate some 60 Bloodhound missiles.

Seletar was the place where Britain's Royal Air Force deployed all its Bloodhounds before British forces withdrew from Singapore. The Bloodhound missile launchers were surrounded by open land several hundred metres from the fenceline. The generous footprint around each missile site was there for a purpose.

When launched, each 8.5m- long Bloodhound was propelled into the air by a pair of ramjet motors and four powerful boost rocket motors which pushed it to twice the speed of sound.

The boosters were designed to break away from the missile once their job of getting it airborne was done. Vacant land ringed Bloodhound launch pads as you would not want missile boosters, each several metres long, falling onto populated areas.

Bloodhound missiles served Singapore for 20 years till they were phased out on April 1, 1990. Thanks to astute planning two decades back, the landscape in this corner of Ang Mo Kio has been transformed beyond recognition, with Nanyang Polytechnic and now ITE College Central built on part of the RSAF missile base.

This year, while more than 10,000 ITE students and more than 1,000 staff have moved into their advanced-learning venue at ITE College Central, few may realise that the campus would not have reached fruition if government departments had clung on to historical land-use parameters.

The seed for the growth of ITE teaching facilities was planted 20 years ago, when government planners set their eyes on the future, which is our today.

1 comment:

回春 said...

I was in Amoy Quee from 94 to 96 and spent many days around the launchpads. I remember thinking that there was a hell of a lot of wasted space around the site - thanks for explaining why!