Keeping watch up high

Keeping watch up high
(During their time at Afghanistan), the (SAF’s) UAV task force and Imagery Analysis Team received accolades from many military commanders and political leaders. — Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) now has the capability to see further into the battlefield, and for longer periods of time, thanks to its latest advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - the Hermes 450 (H-450).

Acquired in 2007, this drone received its full operational capability status in a ceremony last week officiated by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

In his speech during the ceremony at Murai Camp, Dr Ng said: "UAVs have now become a critical asset to many military operations and have proven themselves to make a decisive difference to outcomes, whether... in peacetime operations or battles.

"The Hermes 450 is one of the most capable UAVs in its class and indeed, the world.

"Compared to older UAVs, the Hermes 450 enhances our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with its extended endurance, advanced avionics and more capable sensors."


Manufactured by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based defence electronics company, the H-450 will be deployed as an "eye in the sky" to provide real-time updates to troops and designate targets for combat aircraft.

Dr Ng also paid tribute to the SAF's UAV task force that spent six years operating in Afghanistan providing surveillance over key roads and identified threats such as improvised explosive devices for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stationed there.

"The UAV task force and Imagery Analysis Team received accolades from many military commanders and political leaders. When I visited (Afghan province) Uruzgan, they showed me their command centre of the ISAF troops (and) how our Imagery Analyst Team was very, very effective," he said.

"Then, they were building a new command centre - an expanded one - and right up there in the first row, they pointed to me, 'This is for your SAF, more places for them.'

"That's a very strong testament of what others think of our capabilities."


This article was first published on April 6, 2015.
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