Singapore to buy French Aster-30 surface-to-air missile system
Published on 18 Oct 2013 | Originally published on September 17, 2013
Singapore will acquire a new European-made missile system named the Aster-30, the country's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said this week.
The city-state will buy the new surface-to-air missiles to replace the aging I-HAWK, already in service for 30 years, the minister announced on Monday.
"The Aster will allow us to engage multiple threats simultaneously and from a longer distance," Dr Ng told parliament.
The Aster, developed by French firm MBDE Systems, like the I-HAWK from U.S. contractor Raytheon, is just over five meters in length, though it is 140 kilograms lighter and has a greater range than the I-HAWK.
Both systems rely on networked sensors for targeting information, though the Aster's are more advanced. The I-HAWK has a maximum range of 45 km.
The Aster-30 has a range of 70 km and is more effective at engaging multiple air threats simultaneously.
Singapore has the largest defense budget in Southeast Asia, due to a cashed-up government benefiting from the country's robust economic growth.
It has set aside SG$12.34 billion ($9.8 billion) for defense in 2013, up from Sg$11.83 billion the previous year, the website Defence News reported.