Singapore to deploy S$45m worth defence tech labs to counter terrorism and drone attacks

Singapore is all geared up to launch two new defence tech labs to aid next-gen Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in their counter-terrorism operations and prevention of potential drone attacks. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has earmarked S$45m (US$31.8 million) annual funding for creation of two new labs 'Defence Science and Technology Agency' (DSTA) and 'DSO National Laboratories' as part of the emerging trends in defence technology.

The new robotic lab will be setup at DSO in April this year with its focus on unmanned aerial and ground vehicles assisting soldiers in special defence operations. Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) explained in the parliament that its defence engineers will team up to work on prototyping, integration, simulation, and testing of systems prior to field trials for the SAF.

"Six Singapore Infantry Regiment soldiers are currently experimenting with unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to perform missions. The Navy has gone further and is putting Unmanned Surface Vehicles which can navigate and avoid collisions autonomously into operations," Dr Ng explained.

Meanwhile, the DSTA will be working on analytics and artificial intelligence to help counter terrorism operations through data monitoring as well as exploiting real-time information derived from Internet of Things and platforms.

An inaugural Defence Technology Summit is scheduled for early 2018 in Singapore, which will be a biennial event hosted by DSTA in partnership with Singapore's universities, A*STAR and government agencies like GovTech, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, National Research Foundation and Singapore Economic Development Board.

Singapore has over 5,000 defence engineers and scientists, while related awards and scholarships for the future will be hiked by 40% by 2025.