Speaking during the Defence Committee of Supply (COS) Debate
in the Singapore Parliament on 2 March, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng
Hen revealed that the Army will build Unmanned Towers to
watch over Jurong Island and the surrounding waters. Jurong Island is a
petrochemical, petroleum and natural gas hub in Singapore, linked to the
mainland by a 2.3-km causeway.
Since 2001, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been
conducting security operations at key installations such as Changi Airport,
Jurong Island and Sembawang Wharves to boost Singapore's vigilance and defence
against the threat of terrorism.
The SAF performs coastal surveillance at Jurong Island to
detect any intrusion from the sea through the deployment of servicemen on
observation towers located on the Island.
Coastal surveillance operations from the observation towers
can be challenging for servicemen due to the wide area of coverage and low
ambient light conditions in the night and during the day-night transition. Advanced
sensor systems in the Unmanned Watch Tower (UWT) will help to overcome these
The sensor systems comprise multiple high-resolution
low-light Electro-Optical Cameras to cover a wide surveillance area,
centralised remote monitoring of multiple camera systems, and video analytics
for the automatic detection of targets. The UWT is also equipped with a
long-range acoustic device to warn off intruders.
Engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA)
integrated the various surveillance and sensor feeds so that they can be
monitored remotely at the command centre. In addition, the DSO National
Laboratories designed and built the UWT with the video analytics for target
The first UWT is expected to be operational by March 2018,
and two additional systems will be deployed by September 2018. Being a
redeployable system, the UWT can be deployed anywhere on-demand to enhance the
SAF's surveillance capability for homeland security operations.
The UWT will enhance the SAF's coastal surveillance
capabilities at Jurong Island in both day and night conditions, while
optimising manpower resources.
It is expected to reduce the number of soldiers required for
these operations at Jurong Island by up to 30%. Additionally, the technology
and automation fielded in the UWT allows servicemen who were previously not
suited to be Security Troopers, to now be eligible to be deployed as Security
Troopers for homeland security operations at Jurong Island.
The SAF works closely with relevant agencies such as the
Police Coast Guard (PCG) to conduct coastal surveillance operations to ensure
the security of key installations such as Jurong Island. The SAF shares
information provided by the UWT system, such as the position, course and speed
of the potential threats, with the PCG to enhance joint coordination efforts
between both agencies.