Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen today committed S$45 million (US$31.8 million) for two new laboratories in the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and DSO National Laboratories organisations. The seed grant will be given each year to enable the adoption of the emerging technological innovations in the defence technology organisations. He was quoted saying,
Modern militaries are powered by technology, and the next-generation SAF (Singapore Armed Forces), even more so.
The new robotic laboratory will be set up in the DSO National Laboratories in April this year. It will focus on designing and inventing robots fighting alongside with soldiers. Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in the Parliament explained that it will act as a one-stop facility that will enable engineers to work on prototyping, integration, simulation and testing of systems prior to field trials for the Singapore Armed Forces. Dr. Ng said,
The work on robotics has already begun. 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.
While, DSTA, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, will expand to include an analytics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It will responsible for developing counter-terrorism operations through data analytics, exploiting the real-time information that can be derived from the Internet of Things and platforms.
Singapore will be organizing an inaugural Defence Technology Summit in early 2018. It will be hosted by DSTA in association with Singapore’s universities, A*STAR and government agencies like GovTech, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, National Research Foundation and Singapore Economic Development Board. The Summit will provide a global platform and is targeted as a biennial event.
Dr. Ng mentioned Singapore has around 5,000 defence engineers and scientists, with the number of related scholarships and awards on offer are expected to hike up by 40 per cent by 2025.