A Day in the Army – recruitment drive

Simulation allows soldiers to hone their skills and train their muscle memory in a safe environment. Soldier’s reflexes and instincts will be automatically triggered during an emergency.

Simulations offer soldiers an opportunity to handle real-life scenarios which are otherwise not feasible to practice on real platforms. Example vehicle overturning drills, artillery bombardment or evasive drills from hostile helicopter gunship.

Simulation helps save precious resources like fuel, ammunition and most importantly, time.

With “hands on” confidence, soldiers improve their situation awareness, and are more effective when they get involved in real missions. With effective simulation, Singapore’s NSFs can stand on their own and match professional soldiers in overseas Leopard Main battle tanks proficiency contest.

At the “Army for a Day” recruitment exercise (Sungei Gedong Armour HQ), invited guests got an in depth appreciation of how simulation helps to enhance training. It was fun for guests to experience drifting a 60ton Leopard or testing the Bronco’s gravity defying drive-train, the adrenalin is no less than a Universal Studios ride.

Simulation is virtual, but concentration is real, perspiration is real.

We may be playing a “computer game”, but we can really feel the motion and jolt, when you drive your vehicle up and down the dunes, or when you overturn a Bronco! It was not easy to maneuver my Bionix up the ramp of a landing bridge (picture below).

Here, I would like to thanks and salute all the drivers I have come across. Be it an infantry carrier or a tank, everyone’s lives are in the good hands of our drivers. Drivers are always the last ones to rest after a mission as they need to wash the vehicle. Treat your driver well and he or she will let you eat less humps.

Simulation sounds complicated, but for today’s IPAD generation, the concept of driving a 60ton Leopard is the same as driving a car. The familiar steering wheel, automatic gearbox, the accelerate and brake pedals.
Armour Simulation Sungei Gedong

Live firing was the other highlight of our tour. Nothing comes close to a Leopard tank’s 120mm blast. You can feel the impact and vibes from 50m away. We witnessed a task force (comprising Light strikes, Terrex, Bionixs and Leopards) raining havoc on their targets. Impressive and devastating.

I should know, I was a Bionix gunner during my Armour days (41 and 441). Those days, we had to set up the target boards, pile up endless oil drums under the hot sun. Was glad to know these manual strenuous tasks are no longer necessary, thank you Productivity!

When the Terrex is engaging enemy via it’s turret auto-gun, it reminds me of Sigourney Weaver driving her all-wheel APC (Armoured personal carrier image) crushing ALIENs along the way! Mean, accurate and deadly.

It feels different to revisit Area-D as a civilian, and not in green fatigue. Saribun area offers one of the most scenic landscapes in Singapore (有山有海). Funny, when we are in green, “sightseeing” was the last thing on our mind :p
Singapore Armour live firing

Static army assets were on display, pre-enlistees could get up close to Army toys and armaments.
A Day in the Army recruitment

You can even pretend to be a Leopard tank loader. This round weighs 19kg, imagine how the loader needs to shove the rounds into the barrel for firing. In a real mission, Leopard tank will be “firing on the move”. Just imagine the confine space for the loader.

In wartime, speed (and precision) is everything, you better engage and destroy enemy tanks within xx seconds, or hostile forces will pinpoint your position and return fire.

Mobile field sanitation, washing, shower and even cook-house. Hope this comfort items will be for humanitarian efforts. I hope there will not come a day when our NSFs demand hot shower in camp (or worse, outfield!)

A few interesting tidbits from my Armour days:

– the fire power of an Armour battalion is three times that of an infantry (hearsay from my reservist days).
Really dread lugging the 0.5 heavy machine gun and barrels from armskote to vehicle shed!
The countless GPMGs and jerry cans and 1206s!

– I am wondering whether troopers still pack maggie mee, bread and nutella, and cocktail for their 4D3N outfield trips

– Other services always admire Armour roaming around in Area-D, just like armoured taxis. They will not envy us when they see the amount of barang barang we need to dismantle and wash after each exercise!

– Those in M113 (converted to Bionix) always envy those in AMX13 (replaced by Leopards)
– Tankees always get more water, and aircon!
– When in comes to “body maintenance”, troopers have to squeeze into the Bionix hull, ramp, or engine top
– it gets more challenging with each reservist cycle, as soldiers grow horizontally

– Not sure whether there are anymore moon leaves in Saribun. Armoured vehicles use moon leaves for camouflage.

Sweet or sour, once you don a Black Beret, you are part of Armour family.
Once Armour, Always Armour.

Armour Logo

In case you need to find our more details:
A Day in the Army registration (email link provided)
Senang Diri blog for more SAF news
Fanpage Cyberpioneer
Leopard Main Battle Tank Youtube
Bronco Youtube

* NDP 2015 will involve Mobile columns again (every 5 years). Do not MISS it!