Leopard tanks see integrated action at Exercise Wallaby 2009 Email Article Print Article Posted: 24 Nov 2009, 2245 hours (Time is GMT +8 hours)
Report by Lee Khai Yan
Photos by Esther Ong and Lee Khai Yan
From Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, Australia
The Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank, one of the key participating assets in this year's Exercise Wallaby.
The live firing at this year's Exercise Wallaby achieved a significant milestone with the integration of the fully operational 48th Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment (48 SAR) with other armour-infantry elements and Apache attack helicopters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.Apache attack helicopters taking part in the live firing on 24 Nov, at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia.
The finale scenario of the annual exercise held at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, Australia, was designed to be aligned with actual operational conditions that would stretch the unit in command of the battle group across wide expanse of terrain and at a high operational tempo.
On site to witness the integrated live firing on 24 Nov was Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen, who visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) troops participating in Exercise Wallaby 2009 as part of his four-day visit to Australia.
At the exercise, Dr Ng saw the concerted efforts of the SAF air and land platforms simultaneously hitting the planned targets. They included the Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks from 48 SAR, the BIONIX II Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the Apache AH-64D Longbow helicopters.
This year, the Armour Live Firing System (ALFS) was also deployed for the first time by an Armoured Battle Group, and with integration with attack helicopters.
Previously, soldiers had to "rehearse" with dry runs and blanks before executing live firing, now with the ALFS, both will be done away with. Instead, a matrix factoring the level of unit proficiency and the degree of difficulty in executing the manoeuvre will guide the preparatory activities required. These include table top exercises, rock drills, and walk-the-ground for commanders and troopers in some instances.
Chief of Armour, Colonel Benedict Lim said that the ALFS is a realistic system that mirrors operational conditions, and shapes the right mentality and attitude during such live firings.
"The ALFS has brought live firing to another level – it is more operational, realistic, and heightens the sense of combat proficiency and confidence in the soldiers," he added.
Lance-Corporal Clarence Fong, who operates the machine gun on the Bionix II during the exercise told cyberpioneer, "In the past whenever we have live firing we will rehearse with blanks. Now with this ALFS, it will be more realistic, there is no rehearsal, we only have to do it once."
Some 3,900 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel are taking part in Exercise Wallaby 2009 held at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
For Lieutenant Zhou Shufeng, an Apache pilot taking part in Exercise Wallaby for the first time, it was a valuable experience where he got the chance to work with land platforms from the Army.
"During the integrated live firing exercises, we were able to see the Leopard tanks fire, and the guys on ground saw us fire from the air. It was great training for everyone,” he enthused.
The exercise, which began on 16 October, will conclude on 29 Nov.
Dr Ng (centre) at Excercise Wallaby, together with Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Desmond Kuek (left), and COL Lim (right).
Dr Ng interacting with the troops after the live firing.
Singapore Army out at Shoalwater Bay Training Area during Ex Wallaby 2009
A BIONIX II Infantry Fighting Vehicle carrying out swift and agile manoeuvres during Exercise Wallaby 2009.
An RSAF Super Puma flying over the plains of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia.
The BIONIX II Infantry Fighting Vehicles conducting a mounted assault during the integrated live firing.
The Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks displaying their prowess at Exercise Wallaby 2009.
happy Eid Adha to muslim members.
SAF Personnel Honoured for Contributions in Overseas Missions
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean interacting with medal recipients after the SAF Overseas Service Medal ceremony.Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean presented the Overseas Service Medal (OSM) to 64 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel at a ceremony held this evening at Headquarters, Medical Corps in Nee Soon Camp. The OSM is awarded to servicemen in recognition of their valuable contributions to the SAF's overseas missions.LTC Desmond Yeo (left) and CPT Pang Kah Yie (right) of the SAF Construction Engineering Team with local contractors onsite at the Bamiyan Provincial Hospital.
Among the medal recipients were members of the 54-man medical team deployed to Padang, Indonesia, to provide aid to victims of the West Sumatra earthquake on 3 October this year. In total, the team attended to more than 1100 Accident and Emergency cases and performed over 100 surgeries during their two-week operations in Pariaman, a coastal town closest to the quake's epicentre. Also receiving the OSM were six servicemen deployed to Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan from April to November 2009. They supervised the construction of a Paediatric and Women's Ward extension to the Bamiyan Provincial Hospital, and a security wall around the Provincial Administrative Building. The other medal recipients were two SAF personnel who served in the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste from last September to this September, and another two who served in the National Support Element, facilitating logistics support for SAF deployments in Afghanistan, from February to September 2009.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Teo commended the recipients for displaying professionalism and commitment in carrying out their missions. He also emphasised the expanded role that the SAF was undertaking to safeguard Singapore's peace and stability. Mr Teo said: "Our deployments to the various multinational peace and security operations reflect the widening range of activities that the SAF has to undertake to ensure peace and stability in the region and beyond".
Mr Teo also announced that the SAF would be deploying a 13-man medical team to a field hospital in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital of Oruzgan, from December 2009 to March 2010. The team will provide emergency medical support, primary healthcare and pre- and post-operative medical care to the International Security Assistance Force, Afghan National Security Forces, as well as the Afghan locals.
Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean at the Overseas Service Medal Presentation Ceremony
Photo Gallery: SAF Personnel Honoured for Contributions in Overseas Missions
News Video: SAF Personnel Honoured for Contributions in Overseas Missions
Urban training this time round?
Last edited by Shawn--; 11-25-2009 at 10:38 PM.