Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated at a ceremony to mark the achievement of Full Operational Capability (FOC) status by the Republic of Singapore Air Forces (RSAF)'s Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at Murai Camp this afternoon.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng highlighted the significance of this milestone to the overall enhancement of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)'s capabilities. He said, "The FOC of Heron 1 brings the RSAF's unmanned aerial capabilities to the level of advanced militaries globally…
The Heron 1 is among the most advanced UAV systems in its class, able to perform several missions simultaneously as with a suite of state-of-the-art sensors and enhanced range… Apart from these conventional operations, it can also be deployed against terrorist threats, because its persistence enables it to cover a wide area of surveillance."
Dr Ng also lauded the team effort by the Air Imagery Intelligence Experts, the Engineers, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) scientists and engineers in contributing to the Heron 1's FOC, noting that the leap in capability from the Searcher to the Heron 1is "a significant achievement for all of us, and (for) which we have (had to) overcome many challenges along the way".
Featuring state-of-the-art avionics, detection capabilities and communications systems, as well as fully automatic take-off and landing capabilities and longer flight endurance, the Heron 1 UAV provides the SAF with better battlefield situational awareness and enhanced mission effectiveness. Equipped with a multi-mission sensor, it is able to respond to a wide range of missions, including non-conventional threats. It replaces the Searcher-class UAV that has been in service since 1994.
The UAV is operated by a team of UAV Pilots, Air Imagery Intelligence Experts and Air Force Engineers, who have undergone intensive training to operate and maintain the UAV as well as integrate it to support the SAF's operations. They have also validated the platform's advanced capabilities in high-end exercises both at home and overseas, including its target acquisition and cooperative lasing capabilities, to allow RSAF pilots to engage targets more effectively.
Also present at the ceremony were Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Perry Lim, Chief of Air Force Major-General Mervyn Tan, and other senior officers from the SAF.