From March 2020, all national servicemen across all ranks will get an increase of $70 to $120 in their monthly allowance to acknowledge their contributions, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How announced in Parliament during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.
Other benefits for national servicemen include:
- Extending the PreEnlistees Exercise Programme for National Service (PREP4NS) trial, which gives future national servicemen a free one-year SAFRA EnergyOne gym membership, to ActiveSG gyms
- Increasing the number of courses servicemen can take to prepare for life after national service
- Using technology to make various aspects of NS, like administration, training and healthcare, more seamless
SAF to restructure to deal with cyber, terrorism, maritime threats
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will restructure its intelligence and cyber defence units as well as acquire new ships to boost maritime security to deal with present security threats of terrorism, cyber and maritime threats.
In his speech during the debate on his ministry’s annual spending plans, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said “the SAF must again restructure decisively to meet new challenges, to remain relevant, responsive, and effective for our national defence” amid the changing geopolitics and a new environment of security challenge.
SAF to increase scale, complexity of overseas training
The SAF will increase the scale and complexity of some of its overseas training, with new and vast training areas set to be ready before the end of the decade.
One such facility is the expanded Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Australia, which will be ready in 2024. This will be combined with the new Greenvale Training Area, ready in 2028, to form an area 10 times the size of Singapore, allowing training for up to 14,000 soldiers and 2,400 vehicles over 18 weeks in a year.
Another training facility in the works is the fighter training detachment in Guam, to be ready by 2029. Singapore will deploy its F-15SGs, F-16s and supporting assets in an airspace more than 80 times the size of Singapore, allowing larger scale and more complex live firing training.
Singapore acquiring 4 F-35s to be delivered around 2026
Singapore is in the final stages of acquiring four next-generation stealth fighter jets, with an option for eight more, for training and in-depth evaluation.
Dr Ng said that the F-35s are scheduled to be delivered around 2026, and will replace the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF’s) ageing fleet of F-16s.
Emphasis on safety can be better communicated: Inspector-General
Mr Heng reiterated that the SAF is committed to training national servicemen more safely.
The SAF Inspector-General’s Office (IGO) has found areas for improvement in communication about safety down the command chain, Inspector-General Brigadier-General (BG) Tan Chee Wee said.
Other areas of improvement include:
- Open reporting
- Training supervision
- National Service (NS) training
- Last-mile leadership
SAF does its part for the environment
The SAF unveiled its first net energy positive building – a new eight-storey hangar that uses solar panels and natural ventilation features.
MINDEF said it is working with the Defence Science and Technology Agency to insert green features in new buildings during the design phase. Some examples of energy-efficient buildings include the Ordnance Engineering School in Kranji Camp 3, which uses solar lighting and natural ventilation to generate its own electricity to fully meet demand.
The SAF will also install solar panels in 12 SAF camps to generate enough electricity to power 5,500 four-room flats.