Army Tech

Singapore’s Version of Iron Dome

I just had a random brainwave today to build portable air defence systems atop HDB flats around Singapore. Perhaps this can form the basis for a future research project at CMU! ๐Ÿ˜€


An interesting article from Haaretz.

A Paris-based online magazine covering intelligence and security issues this week called Singapore one of the most important customers of Israel’s defense industry, laying bare the active, though secret, relationship between Israel and Singapore that began more than 40 years ago – a statement that comes after years in which Israel censored all local articles on the subject.

Intelligence Online, which is published in English on a bimonthly basis, states that the Southeast Asian island state helped finance the Iron Dome system designed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to intercept short-range missiles and rockets, in exchange for which it is supposed to receive several Iron Dome systems to deploy on its territory.

Even more interesting is the possibility the article raises that Iron Dome was designed first and foremost for the benefit of Singapore – not for the protection of Sderot and the southern communities in Israel that suffered from Qassam rocket attacks and mortar fire for seven years and are still suffering (though Iron Dome is not capable of intercepting mortar shells).

Israeli media have previously hinted at this, but the Defense Ministry has vehemently denied it.

The suspicions were bolstered by the fact that after the system was developed and one battery had been deployed as an Israel Defense Forces base, it turned out that the Defense Ministry had no budget for additional batteries. In that case, why was there a need to develop a system for which there is no budget and which the IDF does not intend to deploy?

According to Intelligence Online, which focuses on arms transactions between countries and corporations and on appointments of intelligence personnel and their clandestine activity, the Iron Dome transaction is the latest between Israel and Singapore.

The Web site, whose articles are available only to paid subscribers, has thousands of readers, including Israelis.

Iron Dome, which its developers said was tested successfully a few months ago, as Israeli media have previously reported, cost roughly $250 million to develop.

One battery, whose production cost is about $50 million, has already been deployed at a base in the south of the country, but so far has not been readied for operational purposes and has not yet been activated.

The anti-aircraft division of the Israel Air Force, which is responsible for operating Iron Dome, is training teams at a base in the north.

They will be operating the system in Israel, with the aim of intercepting Qassam and Katyusha rockets up to a distance of 40 kilometers.

Vulcan-Phalanx: cheaper and more accessible

Intelligence Online also repeats an argument published in recent years in Israel to the effect that if the Defense Ministry had really wanted to protect the residents of the south quickly and cheaply, it could have acquired a cheaper and more accessible defense system than Iron Dome: the batteries of the Vulcan-Phalanx cannon system manufactured by Raytheon.

The land-based version of the batteries, called Centurion, are deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they are used to protect American and NATO forces.

Although Defense Minister Ehud Barak has told Haaretz several times that Israel will acquire the Vulcan-Phalanx system, that has yet to happen.

In other words, the Defense Ministry may have given Rafael a development budget as a way of positioning the project as an Israeli military system that is ostensibly being used by the IDF but is really aimed at improving Israel’s chances of selling it to Singapore and other countries.

Small country, hostile population

The cooperation between Israel and Singapore rests on the two small countries’ shared sense of being under threat, since both are surrounded by a hostile Muslim population and want advanced weapons systems to maintain a qualitative advantage over their neighbors.

The Intelligence Online article argues that the fight against fundamentalist Islamic terror over the past decade has increased the cooperation between the two countries, as well as their sense of a shared destiny. In recent years, Singapore has confronted threats by Jemaah Islamiyah, a terrorist group that operates in Southeast Asia.

The island state, a neighbor of Indonesia and Malaysia, has arrested dozens of the group’s operatives and exposed plans to attack the Israeli, American and Australian embassies, along with ships from those countries. One of Singapore’s main sources of income is the Port of Singapore, which claims to be the busiest port in the world.

According to the article, immediately after Singapore declared its independence in 1965 it asked Israel to help it establish an army. IDF officers including Rehavam Ze’evi (who became a right-wing cabinet member assassinated in 2001) and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (now the industry, trade and labor minister) were sent to Singapore to head large delegations of military advisers, and helped build the army on the model of the IDF. Israeli military representatives have been active since then at the Israeli Embassy in Singapore, which was opened in 1969.

One of the issues the IDF representatives deal with is promoting large arms deals. Transactions mentioned in the article include Singapore’s purchase of Barak surface-to-air missiles manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel’s upgrading of fighter planes belonging to Singapore’s air force.

In addition, Rafael supplied drones for naval missions and Israel’s Elbit Systems supplied its Hermes drone.

Intelligence Online also says there is naval cooperation between the two countries, and notes that the commander of Israel’s navy, Admiral Eli Marom, had previously represented Israel in Singapore.


As well as from UPI

Singapore is reported to be acquiring Israel’s new Iron Dome anti-missile air-defense system under a once-secret military cooperation pact with the Jewish state that dates to the 1960s.

Indeed, according to the Paris Intelligence Online Web site, Singapore helped finance the development of the system by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

It says that Iron Dome was always intended for the island, a key Asian shipping hub and one of the richest per capita states in the world, because of its strategic location as a trading center.

The Israeli air force, which runs the Jewish state’s air defense network, completed test-firings of the system in January and the first battery is currently becoming operational.

Israeli media reports say the missiles, designed to shoot down hostile missiles with ranges of up to 25 miles, are being deployed along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

There are growing fears of a new Middle Eastern war and Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite movement in Lebanon, has an arsenal of up to 45,000 rockets and missiles, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has claimed.

Israel’s defense links with largely Chinese Singapore go back to 1965, shortly after the island city-state, a former British colony off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, split from the Federation of Malaysia.

Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, wanted to establish a military to defend Singapore, which has a landmass of only 274 square miles, since it was ringed by Muslim nations — as is Israel.

He turned to the Jewish state, through the Israeli ambassador in Thailand, for help. Israel sent a military mission led by Maj. Gen. Rehavam Ze’evi, then deputy head of the military’s operations branch. (Ze’evi was assassinated in Jerusalem by Palestinian gunmen in October 2001.)

Lee insisted on secrecy because he didn’t want to antagonize his Muslim neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia. The team of Israeli instructors arrived in October 1965. Lee wrote in his 2000 autobiography: “To disguise their presence, we called them ‘Mexicans.’ They looked swarthy enough.”

Today, Singapore’s armed forces, 72,500-strong, are considered one of the most advanced militaries in Southeast Asia.

Iron Dome will be a crucial element in Singapore’s drive to build a defensive shield around one of the world’s biggest and most important ports.

Israel is determining how many batteries of Iron Dome and two other systems that will make up its planned multi-layered missile shield, will be required. Each battery, which costs $50 million, can cover an area of around 60 square miles, which means 13 of them would be needed to cover all of Israel.

The Arrow-2 high-altitude anti-missile system, the only tier to be fully tested and established, cost some $2 billion to develop, largely with U.S. funds.

Israel shunned buying already developed U.S. systems, which would be cheaper. So far, the Defense Ministry has budgeted for one Iron Dome battery but will clearly need several more.

“So why develop such an expensive system, instead of acquiring Raytheon’s cheaper Centurion system?” Intelligence Online asked.

“Some Israeli arms programs are too costly for the local market and are developed principally for export. Iron Dome is a typical example.

“From the outset, Iron Dome was always intended for Singapore, which helped finance its development,” Intelligence Online explained. “Iron Dome will be battle-tested in Israel ahead of export to Singapore at a late date.”

Singapore has bought Israeli weapons systems extensively over the years and Israeli defense companies regularly participate at the annual Singapore Air Show.

Israeli Aerospace Industries, state-owned flagship of Israel’s defense industry, has sold Singapore the Barak-1 naval anti-aircraft system. Rafael’s electronic warfare systems are widely deployed with the Singapore navy.

IAI upgraded the Singapore air force’s old 1960s-era Northrop F-5 Tiger fighters, and with Elbit Systems and Singapore Aerospace won a contract in 1997 to modernize Turkey’s fleet of F-5A/B and NF-5A/B aircraft fighter jets.

Singapore has also acquired unmanned aerial vehicles from Elbit and Rafael for surveillance to enhance maritime security in the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.



60 Days to ORD

Screw the New Year’s countdown!

This is my countdown!



3 More Months

3 more months. Exactly

It’s like a journey you know you want to end but can’t so easily end.

And every night you argue that it’s a waste of time, but rationality says otherwise.

I think I’m talking nonsense at this hour lol. Sheesh. 9.30pm and sleeping now. This has to be the earliest bedtime since primary school.

Praying for a safe and incident-free swimming training tomorrow… ๐Ÿ™‚

Army Oh Shit! Random

Cyber Monday Blues

Lol. I got nothing for Cyber Monday, cos my money has been spread thin over a couple of investments, and my bank balance is a little too low for comfort, especially when I need to pay for uni apps in December.

I haven’t been feeling too well lately. I saw the MO and I got Att B and stupid Benny still say must get out of bunk and go for normal lectures and shit. Glad he’s transferred after a quarrel with MAJ Ho woohoo! I managed to get a dermatologist appt at NSC and wisdom teeth surgery at Alexandra, free courtesy of my 11B!

And I love my new old iPad! ๐Ÿ˜€ All-day battery power ftw!


Army Cool Tech

Quad Rotor UAV

I’m going to get started on my mini UAV project with Renyong. Let’s do this! ๐Ÿ˜€

Toy Safety Regulations




Army Factions

The 4 new specs have arrived and boy, what a motley crew we have here. A month on, and I see factions forming, with Lyndon joining the Dick-holas duo, and Ryan Nicholas, Kieng Wee and Bryant joining me and Zac ๐Ÿ™‚ ย RN, KW and B doesn’t like L cos L is so haughty, just like D. “He still calls us cadets” said B morosely. RN chips in helpfully, “That cheebye Lyndon…”

Wow, what a no-words-minced bunch of people. Haha.





ORD in 4 Months!

Gosh I can’t wait!



PM in Wallaby

Visit to Ex Wallaby 2012

Army Life

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Army News

In Polite and Vehement Objection to ‘Singaporeans Too Weak? LOL’

Ever since PTE Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron passed away in an unfortunate training incident, there has been a flurry of discussions and comments. I watched first with interest, then frustration, and then finally anger. Anger that we’ve trivialized the issue. Anger that we are doubting our own in defending our home. And anger that we perhaps do not appreciate the work and sacrifice our citizen soldiers do.

It is my duty to speak out for them.

I am a Company Commander (OC) of Bravo Company, 14th Mono 4SIR, a sister battalion of 3SIR. Although I do not know the soldier personally, I can understand the loss of a soldier. Because the soldiers we have are the toughest, most motivated and most committed bunch of people I know. The things they’ve done, just like the things countless soldiers have done before, nobody will understand until they’ve been through it.

Just take the smoke grenades. My soldiers don’t just throw one. They don’t throw a few. In an urban break-in fight, they throw a BARRAGE of smoke grenades – all coordinated to create a huge smokescreen to disorientate the enemy and provide some concealment. What for? Because in a real battle, they will be charging in the face of deadly bullets, fired by enemies entrenched behind windows and mouseholes. Without fear, but with courage of a warrior. The smokes give them a fighting chance to survive. We train as we fight. Is this weak?

Our unit just came back from an training stint overseas. Part of it, was a 8-day outfield evaluation. 8 days, 3 missions, all out in the field. 1st mission – 30km tactical walk in one night, up and down undulating terrain, carrying packs up to 15kg. And at the end of it, at daybreak, violently and aggressively assaulting an objective. No rest right after that. Transit to 2nd mission of defence. 2 nights. Little sleep, watchful eyes, valiantly defending what we have captured. And 3rd mission. 20km. Mountain hook. Climbing an altitude of 500m. And then down. And at daybreak, violently fighting, again.

And in a Battalion of 500-odd soldiers, number of soldiers who gave up or fell out due to injuries? ZERO. BIG FAT ZERO. All of them had the look in their eyes. Is this weak?

And these doesn’t happen overnight. In 2 active years, they train hard for this, so that they can walk, they can last, they can fight. And in the 2 years, they do more than just train.

In Homeland Security, for 4 weeks over Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year, Chinese New Year, while the rest of us celebrate, our soldiers stood guard in Jurong Island, Changi Airport and Sembawang Wharves. Live 5.56mm rounds in magazines. Live 7.62mm rounds on MGs, mounted on patrol vehicles. With watchful eyes, they deterred any aggressive action in the economic and strategic centres of our country. And 24/7 our citizen soldiers are always there. Is this weak?

Our soldiers participated in bilateral exercises with our neighbours, promoting friendly relations and peace. They stood shoulder to shoulder with professional armies, and guess what? Our citizen soldiers impressed. Is this weak?

Our soldiers went on standby. In short notice, they will be weapons drawn, ammunition loaded, vehicles out, ready to respond to any call of duty the nation requires. Yes, Mas Selamat and a Tekong robber was probably the highlights in the last decade. But do we want more to happen? Are we glad our soldiers can respond, even to the smallest threat to our nation? And 24/7, citizen soldiers stand by, ready to respond, while the rest of us sleep. Is this weak?

Do not be mistaken. Our training is tough. There are always risks involved in training to fight. To say we can erase the risks is to say lets train a paper tiger, an Army with no aggression, an Army that cannot last, an Army that cannot defend. But what we do is to mitigate and minimize these risks. Have the safety systems in place. Train progressively. Condition the body. And most importantly, take care of our people. But the risks will not disappear. This is the cost our society needs to pay for its own defence and survival. Are we prepared to continuing saying yes, or hide behind our cowardice and pray someone will save us one day?

Are there near-misses, definitely. I was in Officer Cadet School before this, training Officers, training leaders. The training is tough, because we need to ensure these young boys can lead, and these young boys will never give up in adversity. I will always remember G, who collapsed during training despite our watchful eyes. I will never forget the safety rover speeding and swerving through traffic to get him to a doctor. I will never forget his eyes opening and closing, his speech slurring, his body shaking. I will never forget holding his hand, keeping a strong face, and keeping him awake. I will never forget in desperation to get him to respond, I recited the Officer’s Creed. And I will never forget, in his semi-conscious state – he repeated – “I am… an Officer… of the Singapore Armed Forces… My duty… is to lead… to excel… to overcome… I lead my men… by example… I dedicated… my life… to Singapore…”ย 

G commissioned, became a Platoon Commander, and was a great leader of men. Is this weak?

G, yes, Officer Cadet, but he’s not the only one with such determination. Our mono-intake soldiers – yes, some of them will try to fake injuries, malinger their way out of training. But most – I have to watch them closely not because they are faking, but I have to watch them closely, because despite injuries, these soldiers want to push on. The L9 (undeployable in field) soldier asking me whether he can go outfield. The soldier who sprained an ankle during soccer, with his leg in a cast, apologized to me for not able to train. The soldier, who on the eve of flying for overseas training had stomach ulcers and internal bleeding, asked me whether I can force his discharge from hospital so that he can fly. The soldiers, with back, knee, ankle injuries, that I have to force to sit out. There any many more stories. Is this weak?

Of course, we have our Jeremy Kos. Read it here ( His logic is impleccable. Why serve so hard, when you may injure yourself? Do the bare minimum, serve the two years. Flawless logic. But let me ask you, when the first shot is fired, who do you want on the frontline? Our Jeremy, who I suspect, in his flawless logic, will save his own skin first, ‘staying alive and injury-free’, or my dear G, who I suspect, with bullets lodged in his thigh, shoulder and a sharpnel to his neck, will continue to fight on. Who do you want defending your country?

That is the nature of National Service. We train hard for something we hope we never have to do. But if the button is pressed, we’d better be ready.

But why are they so silent? Why do they not speak up? Why do they allow themselves to be insulted by the minority? Because they are professional citizen soldiers. They serve, so they do not boast. They do what the nation requires of them. They, our citizen soldiers, go on with their duty, 24/7, most of the time. All they ask for, is that their leaders take care of them, their families and girlfriends a little love, and the nation a little appreciation.

George Orwell says – “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”ย Are my soldiers ready to do violence if need be? I bet my life they are.

What is worrying is that these are not career soldiers, signed on for life. These are citizen soldiers, young 18-year old boys. These are our very own people. When we talk “the Army”, its not regulars like us, it is these NSFs, and NSmen. Our friends, our brothers, our sons, our fathers, our boyfriends. Has our society lost their appreciation for them? Has our society forget what they have done? Has our society – worryingly – lost the will to defend itself?

PTE Lee’s passing is sorrowful. But lets take his passing as an awakening – an awakening to appreciate what our citizen soldiers have done for us for the past 45 years. That there are sacrifices made, be it time, effort, or sometimes – life.

Do share this, to speak out for our citizen soldiers. We all know with social media, the noisiest wins. We can allow the vocal minority to belittle all the sacrifices – including PTE Lee’s life – or we can be united, be loud, and be heard.ย Write your own story and experience, like he did ( With NSmen like him, I’m confident our citizen soldiers will continue to defend what we call home.

Most of us will die while doing meaningless stuff. But he died while serving his country. Its not what we lived for, but what we die for.


For PTE Lee Rui Feng Dominique Sarron. Rest in Peace.

Army Comic Relief

Goh Si Yuan’s Parting Words to Alpha COY

Something I find amiss, which perhaps only affects me, but still I find necessary to speak out, is the unfair and inconsistent system sometimes.

I believe, without going into details, that actions dealt should be consistent, and when anyone else meets the same criteria for such action, it should be taken against them. Also, punishment dealt should be proportional to the offence committed, and not have a whole bunch of cadets dumped wholesale into the same pile, creating a mixpot of those with severe disciplinary issue with those wrongly accused.

Also, hearsay and vile words should only be taken with factual evidence, and drag an innocent man into a kangaroo court. It is akin to having the judge coming into proceedings already finding the plaintiff guilty, and desperately try to find evidence to charge him with. It is a system I wouldn’t be surprised to find in China or Russia.

Dishing out action without even affirming or finding any proof is something I am dissatisfied about as welll.

To conclude, such event has made me very disillusioned and stained an otherwise excellent learning time in Alpha, and has challenged my preconception that there was a hint of fairness within the command team.

Cheers for reading.

Last Modified 23/08/2011 11:18 PM by Goh Si Yuan