Monday, March 29, 2010

Is Singapore working with Israel on a missile defence system?

Both small states haunted by the fear (real or imagined) that they are encircled by volatile and hostile neighbours, Singapore and Israel have long cooperated on military matters, trading arms and helping to train each other's forces.

In an intriguing story, Israel's most influential newspaper, Haaretz, claims that their latest joint project is a missile defence system that is being developed by an Israeli company with Singaporean financing.

The story claims that Singapore has helped to fund the $250m Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept short-range missiles and rockets, in exchange for several of the systems, which it intends to deploy in the Lion City.

Haaretz has picked the story up from Intelligence Online, a paid-for industry news publication. (You can read the original here for the bargain price of 7 euros - I haven't.)

The Intelligence Online story begins: "Some Israeli arms programs are too costly for the local market and are developed principally for export. The anti-missile system Kipat Barzel (Iron Dome), is a typical example. The system is currently being tested in the field by the Israeli Army before being delivered to Singapore."

If true, it is hardly surprising that Singapore and Israel are continuing to further their close military relationship.

But I can't imagine what Singapore would want with a short-range missile defence system.

Despite the similarities between Singapore and Israel, the security threat is mostly imagined in the case of the former.

If Malaysia or Indonesia ever want to get at Singapore - and it's highly unlikely given how many members of the Indonesian and Malaysian elite secrete their personal wealth there - they need only cut off the water or gas supply.

But, on the off chance that rogue Islamists or unhinged nationalists ever fire Qassam rockets at Singapore from Pulau Bintan or Johor, Singapore will soon be protected (if this story is true).


  1. Fear-mongering combined with a potential profit: How Sing.

    My personal favorite is the video clip that runs in the Sing subway. After a series of gory images of train bombings in Madrid and Mumbai, Sing residents are hectored to be scared and vigilent and to report "suspicious" behavior.

    The clip then dramatizes the process with the subtlety of a 1950s juvenile delinquent movie. A teenager boards the metro, and you know he's trouble because he's (1) a teenager, (2) has longish hair, and (3) has his shirt untucked.

    Lesson: Thank God the PAP is here to protect us!

  2. Hi Ben,
    I believe Israel will feel shameful being compared to Spore. History has shown ordinary and elite Israelis staying on to face numerous threats as one people whilst on the otherhand do you think those in the Spore govt together with their stooges will be able to do the same ? Or will these bunch of buggers take the safest route out of the country ? Don't take my word for it, ask the Israelis themselves to do a poll with Spore NS men.

    Just a thought, put a weapon in the hands of all NS men and the Spore govt will know where they stand, even with the enemies at the doorstep.

  3. This is a well known fact in the defense industry. News has been reported many times and even in a book written by a retired Israeli general responsible for arms procurement. Iron Dome is to counter the Avibras multiple rocket launch system that the Malaysia has. The best way to spend Singapore to bankruptcy is to buy unguided stuff like that and then sit back and watch them spend endlessly trying to counter the threat. And the best part of it all is that it doesn't really have to work!

    Your friendly Malaysian

  4. the columnist should do more in depth research before publishing misguided statements such as "If Malaysia or Indonesia ever want to get at Singapore they need only cut off the water or gas supply."

    Singapore has clearly and repeatedly articulated the policy that any disruption to its water supply would be viewed as a existential threat and a prompt military response would ensue. Given that gas accounts for nearly all our power generation capacity, it is no stretch of the imagination that a disruption in gas supply would be viewed similarly.

    Any informed observer will have no doubt that Singapore has the capability to successfully apply prompt and decisive military action.

    Given the trend towards precision fires and a networked battle field where indirect fires gain a disproportionately large part of the equation, the rumored iron dome purchase may make sense not so much to defend the mainland, but rather to shield the armored thrusts which will certainly make up the main bulk of any military action undertaken as well as their supporting fire elements from enemy battery and counter battery action.

  5. "The best way to spend Singapore to bankruptcy is to buy unguided stuff like that and then sit back and watch them spend endlessly trying to counter the threat. And the best part of it all is that it doesn't really have to work!"

    I just love your muslim sense of humour.
    It would be best written as "the best way to spend on buying useless 8x8 IFV and brings malaysia to bankruptcy, which is the actual case now. Getting poorer and poorer, and defense budget getting lesser and lesser. "Total wipe out" for the para mats were just so close last time. Too bad it didn't escalate. Too bad....

    Your friendly Singaporean boss

  6. Malaysian are mostly idiots.
    Todate, there are still many Malaysian who talk about cutting off water supply.
    Whatever missiles Malaysia have, Singapore just need to use cannon.
    Malaysian just need to check with their own Armed Forces how reliable the hardware MAF have.