The Republic of Singapore Air Force should soon be equipped with Aster-30 surface to air missile systems, according to Singapore's defence minister, Ng Eng Hen.
Addressing Singaporean MPs on 16 September 2013, Dr Ng described how the air arm is implementing a hi-tech air defence shield, comprised of several layers. This multilayered shield is intended to defend Singapore against all conceivable airborne threats.
Right now, Singaporean air defence is supplied by an arsenal of 12 MIM-23B I-Hawk launchers and circa 500 missiles. Now over 40 years old, this technology has since been superseded by more modern systems, such as the Aster-30.
Aster-30 Missile Systems
Equipped with Aster-30 missile systems, the Republic of Singapore Air Force would gain a simultaneous extended-range multi-target engagement capability.
In line with the Aster-30's introduction, the Republic of Singapore Air Force would also have its Lockheed Martin F-16C and -D Fighting Falcons upgraded, extending their service lives.
Developed during the 1960s, the MIM-23B I-Hawk missile boasts a 74 kilogram warhead and has a range of up to 40 kilometres.
Singaporean Air Defence
"Superior air defence and strike capabilities have been built up through prudent and steady investments of resources and land allocation for our defence needs", Dr Ng explained. "And over the years, we have acquired, adapted and developed advanced technologies and state-of-art platforms to provide more accurate and timely early warning and situational awareness of potential threats. We will continue to invest in these capabilities."
The Aster missile series was introduced in 2001. Vertically-launched, the Aster-15 and Aster-30 missiles take their name from Asterion - the 'ruler of the stars' in Greek mythology.
Produced by the MBDA-Thales Eurosam consortium, the Aster-30 has a maximum range of 120 kilometres, reaches flight altitudes of up to 30 kilometres and travels at Mach 4.5. Aster missiles presently equip the French Air Force and the French, Italian, Singaporean and Saudi Arabian navies, amongst other operators.