Coast Guard seeking fast boat training simulator

Coast Guard seeking fast boat training simulator
A pair of Police Coast Guard Fast Interceptor boats executing high-speed manoeuvres during the 2012 National Day Parade.

Police Coast Guard (PCG) officers who operate Fast Interceptor boats have to work at high speeds, sometimes in choppy waters and with poor visibility.

To help officers steer adroitly in challenging environments, the PCG is looking to get a simulator to train them. This will allow its specialist maritime officers to practise "high-speed tactical manoeuvring and interception" at up to 60 knots (111kmh), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a Request For Information document last week for firms to provide more information on the simulator.

"The virtual simulation environment shall be modelled according to the coastal terrain of Singapore and the Singapore Territorial Waters," said the MHA.

Operators should be able to adjust settings such as sea traffic, and define the course and speed for each ship. They should also be able to classify boats as friendly or hostile, and simulate pirates or smugglers on board the vessels.

The documents state that the Fast Interceptor Boat Simulator should also have a motion platform to allow coast guard officers to experience the linear and rotational motions of a sea craft.

The simulator's bridge equipment and steering console will be customised to fit the coast guard boats in operation. It should be able to take up to three crew members for manoeuvring training.

The simulator should also have a computer-generated view of between 210 and 240 degrees, and be able to replicate weather and sea conditions. The weather simulation will involve hydrodynamic forces, including visual effects from wind, seas and currents based on customised input, said MHA. Visibility parameters should also be adjustable.

Currently, the PCG has a virtual training environment on two motion-platform firing simulation trainers, five boat tactical trainers and a simulated command and control centre.

In 2000, it launched six new highly-manoeuvrable interceptor speedboats, bringing the total number of these to 11.

Concerns about Singapore's coastal security surfaced in August last year after three people sneaked into Singapore in a catamaran via Raffles Marina. They were all arrested and jailed. Two months later, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean told Parliament there would be a review of security measures on land and at sea.

Mr Collin Koh of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, called the simulator for fast interceptor boats timely, given the heightened threat posed by terrorist groups.

It would also provide a realistic training environment and help overcome the lack of water space around Singapore for training, said Mr Koh, an associate research fellow who specialises in naval affairs and technologies.

He said: "The tender will require a very high level of realism - the simulator must be able to provide the conditions that the occupants of the boat will experience when manoeuvring the boat at high speed in the water."

This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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