ideals of Revolution of Military Affairs (RMA) fostered for several
years were brought to the forefront by the 911 attacks and subsequent
war on terror. The drive by leading defence forces to create better
networked and integrated military forces gathered momentum in 2002.
Against this backdrop, ST Engg remained engaged in gearing itself
for the demands of high-tech, knowledge-based warfare. During the
year, the Group streamlined its defence business structure which
includes the restructuring of ST Dynamics into an Advanced Engineering
Centre to spearhead the development of a broader portfolio of future
technologies and capabilities. A dedicated arm for the development
and production of guided weapons and advanced ordnance was also
Key force transformation trends signal a total revamp of existing
concepts on how armed forces are trained, organised, equipped and
supported for combat. Central to this idea is the circulation of
information on activity within the area of operations or battle
space. Command decisions on the use of combat power will be based
on inputs collated from battlefield sensors like unmanned sensors
and vehicles, radars and satellites, and disseminated within a secure
information network. Defence engineers are working on battle management
software which will give war fighters a technological edge, with
sharper insights into the command structure, strength, movements
and deployment patterns of opposing forces.
Such comprehensive awareness relies on the creation of a robust
network linking sensors with the means to deliver massive firepower
with deadly accuracy by day or night. Powerful data management software
and artificial intelligence allow autonomous processing and near
real-time display of symbols showing friendly forces and threats,
thereby enabling commanders to strike aggressor forces with precision
firepower, minutes after hostile forces appear in the battle space.
Combat operations will be followed by battle damage assessment in
high-threat areas using long-range scanners or expendable devices
like unmanned vehicles. Such assessment support command decisions
on the effectiveness of the strikes, whether follow-up action is
needed or if battlefield opportunities should be exploited. Network-centric
warfare is planned to allow commanders to prioritise and allocate
war fighting assets judiciously, thereby reducing friendly casualties
while maximising damage to hostile forces.
In future high intensity battles, war fighters will need to harness
technology to relay information quickly and securely. The need to
create a survivable network and develop various military applications
suitable for network-centric warfare places high technological demands
on the defence industry to turn these requirements into workable
Technologies used for advanced war fighting systems broadly address
seven key, mutually supportive elements that ensure combat power
is well-integrated and optimised for operations. These elements
are: strike, protect, move, sustain, sense, information warfare
and C4ISTAR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,
Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance).
ST Engg has formed core groups of integrated programme teams and
task forces comprising engineers and managers to examine future
battlefield requirements. These teams are drawn from various Centres
of Excellence within ST Engg so that the need is assessed in totality
across systems and platforms. The objective is to translate these
requirements into workable and affordable weapon systems, and to
devise new concepts of operations for an integrated warfare environment.
Skill sets in military technology developed by these study teams
underpin ST Engg's drive to build capabilities that allow it to
help integrated military forces plan, design, develop, manufacture,
operate and sustain war fighting solutions with lethal consequences.
Allied to this effort is ST Engg's move to send its engineers for
post-graduate education in Defence Technology and Systems (DTS)
run by the National University of Singapore and the US Naval Postgraduate
School. The DTS project expands the talent pool of those who understand
the dynamic complexity of military forces, and also forges strong
bonds between the operational, scientific and technological groups
in the defence industry. Over time, ST Engg can leverage on such
links as the company pursues its growth strategy to ensure sustainable
value creation for its stakeholders.
Although ST Engg has a growing international footprint, its resources
in defence research and development, test and evaluation cannot
match the broad based demand of the security forces. ST Engg will
concentrate on niche technologies like secured and robust network,
sensors, simulations, unmanned systems and guided weapons, and aims
to offer best-in-class solutions in such arenas.
ST Engg also recognises that not all war fighting solutions need
advanced, sophisticated technology nor can war fighters afford
to in many cases. There are scores of existing legacy systems whose
combat potential can be improved through the fusion of defence technology
that is now available. For instance, weapon stations for ground
vehicles based on existing 40 mm automatic grenade launcher can
be adapted with an air-bursting ammunition kit and fire control
system which will at least quadruple its effectiveness. Gravity
bombs can be transformed into precision-guided munitions with add-on
devices which integrate a Global Positioning System and Inertial
Measurement Unit with a range extension device for conventional
NEW FOCUS AREAS
ST Engg's ambitions to lead and dominate niche areas in defence
technology can be seen from its move to realign the focus of two
of its subsidiaries. In May 2002, ST Engg moved the Guided Weapons
business of ST Dynamics to Chartered Ammunition Industries (CAI).
That same month, ST Dynamics was revamped to concentrate on the
development of unmanned systems and advanced technologies, including
disruptive and dual-use technologies. FusionWorks has been adopted
as a working name for the team.
ST Engg will build CAI into a guided weapons specialist through
the integration of capabilities across the Group. FusionWorks will
look at developing unmanned vehicles and technology in areas like
robotics, power sources and guidance packages that can be used on
board unmanned systems on land, in the air or at sea. The unmanned
vehicles conceptualised by FusionWorks can range from Tactical Unmanned
Aerial Vehicles (TUAVs) to mini UAVs optimised as Organic Aerial
ST Engg is unique as few defence companies in the world enjoy ready
access to engineers whose core skills span land, air, maritime,
electronics and advanced engineering industries.
FusionWorks will also work with its partners to deliver innovative
yet affordable unmanned vehicles. Co-developed with a US partner,
the FanTail, a shrouded vertical take-off and landing UAV is one
such example. FusionWorks adds value by programming the UAV with
autonomous flight control, terrain avoidance sensors and engine
optimised for lower noise and fuel economy. Once the design is optimised,
the FanTail UAV will have a launch-and-leave capability and could
be as common as smoke dischargers on today's armoured fighting vehicles.
The compact UAV can thus be launched from vehicles to reconnoitre
high-threat areas in urban terrain or in littoral zones as part
of Future Combat Systems.
The FanTail UAV can also be used for homeland defence. For example,
a swarm of FanTail UAVs could be slaved to an autonomous intrusion
detection system rigged round a key installation like an airport,
oil field or petrochemical plant. They are launched automatically
to scout suspected breaches prior to human intervention or other
FusionWorks will also serve as a centre for advanced engineering
to test and develop new capabilities that have long gestation periods.
One area will be the focus on system intelligence algorithms which
will be applied on sensors or unmanned systems.
ST Engg has set up a Technology Investment Fund to invest in technologies
that may support new war fighting concepts. Such technologies are
expected to mature over the mid to long term with potential for
both commercial and military uses.
New Focus Area