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Next-gen Aster 30 missile system deployed in Singapore

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) next-generation Aster 30 missile system that is designed to neutralise air threats far away has been conducting round-the-clock operations since August.

The ground-based system has also been integrated into the RSAF's networked Island Air Defence System, which can now counter a range of threats, from fighter jets to unmanned aerial vehicles and precision-guided munitions.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the system's defence capabilities today marked a significant milestone since it was first developed about 15 years ago.

The system can now see and respond to targets much further away while requiring far less manpower, be it in detecting threats or loading ammunition.

Another significant improvement is that it can deal with different types of air threats, not just aircraft as in the past.

Dr Ng added that the defence systems are state-of-the-art against munitions now on the market and that they will serve Singapore for at least the next two decades.

Air Defence Group Commander Loh Woon Liang said the island air defence system allows timely detection of all kinds of air threats, from unknown aircraft to air-launched munitions or unmanned aerial vehicles.

The newly-acquired Aster 30 increases its effectiveness, he was cited by The Straits Times as saying. "Its range goes up to 70km, which allows defenders a greater response time to deal with a wide range of threats."

Singapore first took delivery of the French-made Aster 30 in 2018 to replace the i-Hawk that had been used for more than 30 years. A total of 11 people are needed to operate the i-Hawk, compared to six for Aster 30./.