Innovating for the Future
11 May 2016

The increasingly complex and unpredictable nature of modern defence threats has made it more challenging for technology agencies to develop effective capabilities that can counter them. With defence budgets being slashed in many countries, they have had to innovate and source cost-effective means to harness technology.

Delivering the opening keynote address at the Defence Technology Asia Conference, DSTA’s Chief Executive Tan Peng Yam shared some of DSTA’s key challenges and strategies in realising complex capabilities. Highlighting the evolving threat environment, he said: “The focus on conventional warfare is changing. We now see the international uprising of civilian insurgencies and terrorist networks. This is an international problem and a growing one.” In addition, the use of non-kinetic warfare in the form of cyberattacks and other non-physical threats is on the rise. 

To address these challenges, Peng Yam shared that DSTA has adopted a four-pronged approach. This involves creating a new tradecraft which combines DSTA’s expertise in systems engineering with design innovation, leveraging modelling and simulation to optimise the use of scarce resources, building operational and technical design flexibility into systems, and fostering collaboration with the Defence Technology Community as well as with industry and international counterparts.

“At DSTA, we practice systems engineering and design innovation in a collaborative manner,” he said, citing the Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) as an example in which DSTA partnered the Republic of Singapore Navy to design and develop an innovative warship. By integrating the traditionally separate bridge, Combat Information Centre and machinery control room, DSTA substantially reduced the number of crew required to man the vessel.

Peng Yam also highlighted how DSTA taps modelling and simulation technologies to achieve highly realistic, efficient and cost-effective training. For instance, before DSTA built the Multi-Mission Range Complex (MMRC), only 150 soldiers could train in an outdoor range in a day. At the MMRC, 900 troops can hone their marksmanship skills under different operational scenarios in a single day. 

The conference attracted over 230 delegates from across the world to share and exchange perspectives on technologies for defence and national security.