Singapore’s Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated at a ceremony to inaugurate the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF’s) 119 Squadron (SQN) at Murai Camp this afternoon, marking a significant milestone in the development of the 3rd Generation Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF’s) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng pointed out that the SAF’s vision for UAVs started as early as in the 70s, quoting Singapore’s first Defence Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee’s remarks, “For our kind of terrain, we must have Remotely Piloted Vehicles. We must see the enemy without being seen”. In highlighting the importance of investing in advanced UAVs such as the Heron 1 UAV to continually improve the ISR capability of the 3rd Generation SAF, he added, “The UAVs have realised the vision of SAF’s founding pioneers but only through continued investments to develop this capability.” Dr Ng also recognised the efforts of the personnel from 119 SQN, “The advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the Heron 1 UAV are, however, only as effective as the people who operate and maintain them. I would like therefore to commend all of you, the men and women of 119 Squadron, who have worked tirelessly in the last year to ready the Heron 1 UAV systems to support the SAF’s operations.”
Featuring state-of-the-art avionics, detection capabilities and communication systems, as well as longer flight endurance and a fully automatic take-off and landing capability, the Heron 1 UAV will provide the SAF with better battlefield situational awareness and enhance mission effectiveness. The Heron 1 UAV will replace the Searcher-class UAV that has been in service since 1994.
Also present at the ceremony were Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Chief of Air Force Major-General Ng Chee Meng and senior officers from the SAF.