“Keeping Singapore Safe and Secure,
Preparing for the Future”
Chairman of ST Engineering, Mr Kwa Chong Seng,
President and CEO of ST Engineering, Mr Vincent Chong,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. I am happy to join you at ST Engineering’s National Day Observance Ceremony. We are also celebrating 50 years of National Service and ST Engineering’s 50th Anniversary as well. ST Engineering has grown hand in hand together with the SAF over many years. When we started out, our defence needs were basic but urgent. And over the years, we have built up a strong SAF and Home Team to defend and protect Singapore. And our Defence Technology Community has also played an important role in our nation building and NS journey. As Mr Vincent Chong has said, we set out to build ST Engineering to be able to help defend Singapore but at the same time, also to be commercially, financially strong and viable.
Keeping Singapore Safe and Secure
ST Engineering is an integral part of our strong Defence Technology Community. You started as the Chartered Industries of Singapore in 1967 to manufacture ammunition and basic military equipment for the SAF and since then you have undergone several transformations to become a global technology, defence and engineering group today.
The upgrading of the AMX-13 light tank to the AMX-13 SM1 configuration by our defence scientists and engineers and ST Engineering laid the foundation for the design, engineering and production of the Bionix, the Bronco and Terrex armoured fighting vehicles. I have also worked closely with many of you on several generations of ships for the Republic of Singapore Navy, including our MCVs, our patrol vessels, our LSTs and our frigates. And I’ve seen how the engineering efforts by ST Engineering together with our DSTA engineers have for example, contributed to a squadron of very capable, multi-role LSTs which carried out humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the region in such a flexible and responsive and effective way. I have also followed closely your work, of course, in the land and air domains. I’ve flown in upgraded F5s, driven your vehicles, fired your weapons and used your command and control systems. Your projects with the SAF and the Home Team will continue to contribute to Total Defence and ensure that Singapore remains safe and secure but in new dimensions and in new domains.
As we reflect and build on the strong foundations laid by generations of defence engineers and professionals, it is also important for our defence and engineering companies to prepare for the future.
Preparing for the Future
First, we need to seize opportunities in the Future Economy and at the same time prepare for future threats. The pace of disruption is accelerating, particularly in the digital and communications space. Our security agencies are adapting their protocols and taking active steps to address evolving security challenges such as terrorism and cybersecurity. At the same time, these challenges generate demand for new products and solutions such as in sense-making, command and control, artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber and the Internet of Things (“IoT”).
Our defence technology and engineering companies can seize opportunities to deploy secure and smart systems in key infrastructure. For example, we have a huge new port coming up, new airport, Smart Nation solutions. These projects will provide useful reference cases as our companies market their solutions overseas.
Second, investing in R&D to strengthen product development. Under the National Research Foundation’s Corporate Laboratory Scheme, we are bringing our academics, researchers and companies closer together to develop new products and services. And I had the pleasure of launching several of these corporate labs, including the ST Engineering-NTU Corporate Lab.
I visited the Lab earlier this year and am heartened by your strong focus on innovation as a Group-wide strategy. These applications will lead to new products and services for ST Engineering, using advanced analytics, robotics and autonomous systems. These will be products and services in adjacent areas of demand and in adjacent areas where ST has considerable expertise and knowledge. They will also support our efforts to be a Smart Nation, and contribute in areas such as smart mobility and intelligent transport, and encouraging energy conservation for Smart Homes.
Third, strengthening the engineering core for the future. We have, in the Public Service Commission and the SAF, new engineering scholarships, postgraduate awards and internships for engineers in the defence and public sectors and I hope this will help to build a pipeline of engineering professionals and encourage more people to come into engineering to support the work of the Defence Technology Community and the Public Service.
We have also implemented SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes from 2015 in close to 30 sectors including Aerospace, Infocomm Technology and MedTech. These programmes will help our companies and our workers - engineers, professionals and technicians to deepen your skill and make even more valuable contributions to ST Engineering and to Singapore.
As we write this next chapter of Singapore’s history, I am confident that we will be inspired by our pioneers, and prepare for the Future. And that ST Engineering will also position yourself for the very exciting future that we have.
I am also very happy to launch ST Engineering’s commemorative book entitled, “Engineering with Passion”, which celebrates 50 years of innovation at ST Engineering. Once again, my heartiest congratulations on ST Engineering’s 50th Anniversary and a Happy National Day to all of you.
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