RSAF begins aerostat testing to enhance aerial and maritime surveillance


The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has begun testing an aerostat, which has the potential to enhance aerial and maritime surveillance.

The aerostat is a tethered balloon system with 24/7 low-level radar coverage to monitor threats over Singapore's air and sea space.

In a statement, Singapore Defence Ministry had earlier said that the TCOM-built system will complement the SAF's existing suite of sensors and will allow for timely and decisive response to safeguard the country's peace and security.

Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen said: "Well, all of us recognise that Singapore is a very small island, and that alone makes us vulnerable to threats, either from the air or sea.

"And for small city states like Singapore, the need to put up defences must depend on layers of defence, we've procured this aerostat, and it adds another layer of defence and confidence in terms of what we are able to detect, in terms of aerial and maritime threats.

"The very fact that we have this extra layer gives us added confidence and I think it will help us and give us extra confidence to have this aerostat."

"The aerostat is a tethered balloon system with 24/7 low-level radar coverage to monitor threats over Singapore's air and sea space."

Initial tests on the aerostat have been conducted at the manufacturer's facility in the US, with plans to conduct further tests in Singapore.

The tests will involve progressive and comprehensive checks on all aspects of the aerostat as well as complex system tuning for local operations, in order to ensure that the system meets the RSAF's operational requirements and safety standards.

The 55m-long balloon will be secured to its ground mooring station with high-strength winch lines and a Kevlar tether built to withstand strong winds and lightning strikes, the statement said.


Image: The aerostat is a tethered balloon system that can identify potential aerial and maritime threats. Photo: courtesy of Government of Singapore.