Celebrating Singapore’s Bicentennial
09 Aug 2019

Behind the scenes of this year’s National Day Parade are dedicated DSTA engineers who have worked tirelessly to create a memorable experience for everyone.

As members of the NDP's Infrastructure and Decoration Committee, our defence engineers helped develop the largest grandstand ever built on the Padang field – it was about the size of 40 Olympic swimming pools, with a seating capacity of 27,000 and integrated with 65 wheelchair bays!

A key challenge was to meet the show requirements while ensuring the infrastructure’s robustness and safety. For example, the customised 80m lighting tower installed on the National Gallery Singapore's (NGS) rooftop had to meet height requirements from the lighting designer, and the team had to factor in size and weight loading limits too.

The team developed several iterations of the lighting truss structure while the NGS provided the tower's preliminary design in the early phases. Subsequently, after every structural bay had been erected, the team oversaw rigorous tests and inspections. This helped to ensure show quality while not compromising safety.

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Another critical component for NDP was power, which had to meet a spectrum of electrical needs from lighting, sound, multimedia equipment, computers, and fireworks to container offices.

As part of the Power Support Committee, the DSTA team deployed 31 generators to support the show and logistical requirements. The committee introduced a Power and Thermal Monitoring System for real-time monitoring of the circuits' power loading and thermal information.

Project Manager (Building and Infrastructure) Kevin Lui said: “The team is very happy to use our expertise to help bring smiles to the faces of our fellow Singaporeans. We hope everyone had an electrifying NDP 2019!"

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The show's multimedia display would not be complete without crystal clear audio quality amplified through the technical expertise of DSTA engineers from the Public Address and Sound Committee. They deployed and managed more than 250 speakers and microphones in this year's NDP parade.

The committee was also in charge of the timecode system that coordinated the lighting, multimedia, fireworks effects and stage management to present the best possible show to the audience.

Senior Engineer (Advanced Systems) Benjamin Tay shared: “It makes me proud to be part of a dedicated group working together to present an exciting show much anticipated by the people of Singapore. And this satisfaction makes all the hard work worth it!"

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This year, DSTA procurement staff once again contributed their expertise to acquire many key parade essentials and services for a great show.

These include the 6m lion figure that roared onto the stage during the show; eight Bicentennial Floats featuring eight organisations that had grown alongside Singapore and played significant roles in building our nation; funpacks; and even the power generators!

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DSTA engineers also provided technical support to the Fireworks Committee by designing site-specific safety measures for all the fireworks locations: the Padang, Marina Bay, Singapore River and five Heartland sites.

They reviewed the fireworks design, set-up and environmental conditions. Many factors, such as fireworks' angle and wind speeds were considered, while ensuring compliance with international standards. They also conducted trials to determine the safety distances.

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Through the Integrated Ops Centre (IOC), DSTA engineers were able to provide NDP organisers and security personnel with greater situational awareness. The IOC not only tapped and fused information from various sources, including weather condition and traffic information reports, it also provided a common workspace for collaborative event tracking and incident management.

Engineer (C3 Development) Jane Soo, who supported NDP for the first time, said: “Being able to work with and meet new people from diverse backgrounds was really enriching. I have learnt a lot from this experience and I am proud to have the opportunity to contribute to our nation's annual celebrations."

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