Singapore declares Aster MSAM system fully operational

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has attained full operational capability (FOC) for its ground-based Aster 30 medium-range surface-to-air missile (MSAM) system, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced on 29 November.

The milestone was officiated by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How at the RSAF’s Air Defence and Operations Command at the western Lim Chu Kang Camp II facility.

According to MINDEF, the all-weather Aster 30 MSAM system is a critical part of the country’s Island Air Defence (IAD) network and is integrated with other sensors, effectors and command and control systems. This approach provides a multi-layered air defence network that enables the RSAF to engage multiple air threats simultaneously and effectively.

“As Singapore lacks geographical depth, the use of the Aster 30 missile system is particularly apt,” said Heng. “The system is able to intercept, at a further distance than the I-HAWK, a wider range of modern air threats, and this includes fighter aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even precision-guided munitions.”

MINDEF earlier confirmed that it took delivery of the Aster 30 MSAM system in 2018 to replace its ageing Raytheon MIM-23B Improved Homing All the Way Killer (I-HAWK) missile systems – which entered service in the early 1980s – and complement the shorter-range Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Surface-to-Air PYthon and DERby-Short Range (SPYDER-SR) system. The SPYDER-SR system was delivered in 2012 and attained FOC in July 2018.

The RSAF’s IAD system also features a Smart Combat Management System developed by the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA).

This system features a decision support system driven by artificial intelligence and data analytics technology, enabling automatic classification of threats to reduce operator workload and improving response time.

by Jr Ng