Singapore’s Microfine Materials Technologies has won a defense prize for collaborating with DSO National Laboratories to design and build an unmanned underwater vessel that can detect mines in shallow water.
The annual Ministry of Defence (Mindef) event was held Friday to honour the defence research and engineering at The Chevrons club in Western region of Singapore, Straits Times reported Friday.
The main feature of M400 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is its special sensor that will allow sailors to spot targets faster.
The remote vehicle will be operational in two years. “Operated remotely by four people, the 600kg vessel will be able to match, if not surpass, the capabilities of the existing Mine Countermeasure Vessel, which is manned by 20 people,” said Goh Ing Nam, DSO's Sensors Division programme director.
The vehicle will allow the navy to hunt down sea mines keeping sailors from risk.
"We have been tapping the innovativeness, agility and efficiency of smaller companies to complement what we can get from larger research labs and companies in our R&D efforts," said Mindef's chief defence scientist Quek Tong Boon, who believes more firms will be stepping ahead to partner the DSO.
“SMEs will be able to provide solutions for the armed forces, today's technologies, such as sensors and robotics, have dual purposes in the military and civilian world,” said Mr Tong Boon.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also gave out the top prizes to four people and another team for breakthroughs in their fields of research. The prized work included customising the capabilities of the SAF's artillery guns and devising software to thwart attempts to jam communications networks.
“There had been a 30 per cent jump in the number of people who took up the SAF's science and engineering scholarships in the past four years, Hen said.