During the ceremony, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen saw a demonstration of the deployment and operation of the HIMARS as part of a networked force that included other land platforms.
In his speech, Dr Ng said: "The successful induction of the HIMARS reflects well on the ability of the SAF to respond decisively to new challenges and changing circumstances in its operational environment."
Equipped with the Battlefield Management System (BMS), the HIMARS is fully connected to its command headquarters and Strike Observer Mission Teams on the ground. Other SAF air and land platforms, such as fighter aircraft and infantry fighting vehicles, are also connected via the BMS.
With the enhanced situational awareness and transmission of critical battlefield information provided by the BMS, the HIMARS can quickly respond to calls for fire and deliver precision fire on targets.
Deadly accurate and mobile, each HIMARS launcher can dispatch its six rockets within 45 seconds to targets 70km away with an accuracy of 10 metres. Its 6.6 litre turbo-charged diesel engine powers the almost 16-ton behemoth to a top speed of 94kmh.
"With its long range and speed, the HIMARS can stay well behind the front line. When opposing forces open fire, we are able to stay well out of its range but yet still be able to deliver accurate counter-fire." explained Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Koh, Commanding Officer, 23rd Battalion Singapore Artillery (23 SA).
This message was not lost on each of the crew members who work as a tightly integrated team to operate the HIMARS. "When the fire mission comes down, all three of us are very independent and we know exactly what to do," said Full-time National Serviceman 3rd Sergeant Daniel Tan, citing the comprehensive training which the Battery has undergone in the past 12 months.
The SAF took delivery of the HIMARS in July last year, and conducted its inaugural battery live firing in November 2010 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, US.
See Also :
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) provides artillery forces with precision fire power, enhanced responsiveness, mobility, protection, and also networks soldiers and air and land weapon platforms, thus facilitating the delivery of information, and fires in the battlefield.
The key features of the HIMARS are:
Enhanced Fire Power
The HIMARS carries a single pod of six Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) rockets and is designed to launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. The Guided MLRS M31 Unitary rockets used are 227mm surface-to-surface inertial guided and Global Positioning System-aided weapons. Each rocket contains a single 200-pound class controlled fragmentation high explosive unitary warhead capable of providing lethal and precise fires. The HIMARS is able to strike targets as far as 70 km away.
The HIMARS requires less than 20 seconds to be prepared for firing and a full launcher load of six rockets can be fired within 45 seconds.
The HIMARS is powered by a 6.6-litre, six-cylinder turbo-charge diesel engine that delivers 330 horsepower, providing a top speed of 94km/h. This allows for rapid withdrawal after launching of munitions, enhancing crew and equipment survivability.
The HIMARS is equipped with the Increased Crew Protection cabin, which is designed to protect the three-man operating crew against plume gases, rocket launch debris and small arms.
Enhanced Networking Capabilities
The HIMARS is equipped with the Battlefield Management System (BMS) which enables it to connect with the Artillery Headquarters and Strike Observer Mission Teams on the ground as well as other air and land platforms, such as infantry fighting vehicles, main battle tanks, attack helicopters and fighter aircraft. With enhanced situational awareness and transmission of key battlefield information provided by the BMS, the HIMARS can respond quickly to call-for-fires and deliver precision fires on enemy targets.