Minister for Defense Visits Exercise Forging Sabre 2013


Minister for Defense Dr. Ng Eng Hen visited Exercise Forging Sabre 2013 (XFS 13) in Phoenix, Arizona, USA earlier today (Singapore time). The integrated strike exercise, conducted from 2 to 17 December 2013, involves about 700 airmen and soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as well as assets such as the F-15SG and F-16C/D fighter aircraft, Apache AH-64D and Chinook CH-47 helicopters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from the Singapore Army.

Dr Ng witnessed an integrated live-firing by multiple sensor and shooter platforms, orchestrated by the exercise command post staffed by Active and Operationally Ready National Servicemen from the RSAF and the Army. Also present to witness the live-firing were Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Foreign Affairs Dr. Lim Wee Kiak, Chief of Air Force (CAF) Major-General Hoo Cher Mou, and other senior SAF officers. This year's exercise sees a wider range of precision strike munitions employed as compared to past installments, including the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), Laser JDAMs, Radar and Laser Hellfire missiles, and GBU-12 Laser Guided Bombs, to destroy static and moving targets in day and night mission scenarios. This is also the first time the HIMARS is firing Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets in an SAF live-firing exercise.

Speaking after viewing the integrated live-firing and visiting the exercise command post, Dr Ng noted that XFS 13 provided the 3rd Generation SAF an excellent opportunity to validate its integrated strike capabilities in a realistic and challenging environment. He said, "The ability to pick up real-time moving targets, track them, and execute them and strike at them while they are moving is something very difficult to do militarily. It calls for a very high state of what we call sense-making - the ability to know what is happening at that point of time because things can change". Dr Ng also added, "It speaks of the professionalism we have and the years of continuous effort. We have come a long way, and it gives us a lot of confidence about the abilities of the SAF."

Overseas training and detachments allow the SAF to overcome land and airspace constraints in Singapore. Apart from supporting the conduct of training exercises such as XFS 13, the US also supports the RSAF's F-15SG, F-16C/D, Apache AH-64D and Chinook CH-47 training detachments as well as the Army's HIMARS training. The training that the SAF has been able to conduct in the US enables it to further build up its operational capabilities and readiness, and is a testament to the excellent and longstanding defense relationship between Singapore and the US.