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Singapore has operationally deployed its new ASTER 30 air defense system. The missiles ordered at the end of summer 2013 were manufactured by European missile manufacturer MBDA. This is the first time that the ground-launched version of the ASTER medium-range missile is deployed by a non-European nation. The new missiles will replace the aging American Hawk system acquired more than 30 years ago.
Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen confirmed the delivery of the system in a speech to Parliament’s defense committee, according to defense-aerospace.com. In a 2013 speech, he said that “this missile defense system against airborne threats is used by advanced militaries such as France and Italy. The ASTER-30’s capabilities are many times more potent than our current I-HAWK ground-based air defence system.”
“The ASTER will allow us to engage multiple threats simultaneously and from a longer distance. It will complement the [Israel Aerospace Industries] SPYDER, which we have already operationalized – it is a mobile, shorter-range, quick reaction ground-based air defence system – and together, they will provide a layered air defence shield.”
Although the ASTER 30 was only recently delivered, it would likely already be part of the Air Force Island Air Defense (IAD) system of the Singapore Air Force. The IAD network, covering the whole of Singapore (42 kilometers long and 23 kilometers wide), connects all the air force’s weapons and air defense sensors, including fighters, air-to-surface systems and radar.
According to MBDA website, the ASTER is a two-stage missile, a concept which leads to maximum effectiveness of the interceptor stage. Up to its mid-course, the weapon is inertially guided, using refreshed target data transmitted by the engagement module through the multi-function radar. During the homing phase, guidance is achieved by an electromagnetic active seeker providing a highly accurate capability in all weathers.