SAF studying drone attack on Saudi oil facilities: Ng Eng Hen, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SAF studying drone attack on Saudi oil facilities: Ng Eng Hen

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The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is studying the recent attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities as part of efforts to protect the country from similar drone strikes, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament yesterday.

The drones used in the Sept 14 attack were highly sophisticated, able to avoid radar detection and hit their targets with precision.

But Dr Ng said simpler "toy drones" used by hobbyists are just as capable of causing disruption, as seen recently at Changi Airport and London's Gatwick Airport.

"Against this wide spectrum of threats, there can be no single counter-response," he said.

"So it would neither be proportionate nor sustainable to employ sophisticated assets worth hundreds of millions to take down hobbyist drones that can be bought for less than a thousand dollars."

For such threats, other tools would be required, such as regulations, deterrent fines and penalties, education and working with stakeholders, including drone-hobbyist communities, he said.

Dr Ng was replying to three MPs who had asked how Singapore could prevent such an attack, and about the economic impact of the attack.

The pre-dawn attack in Saudi Arabia knocked out more than half of the top global exporter's output.

That worked out to 5 per cent of the world's oil supply or about 5.7 million barrels a day.


He also spelt out the various authorities' scope of work.

The Transport Ministry is working on laws to stiffen penalties for drone users who flout rules, while the Home Affairs Ministry and police take the lead in defending against drones in specific areas and during major events. The SAF will help them when called on and when needed, he added.

Meanwhile, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min announced yesterday the acceptance of the recommendations of an advisory panel set up to propose a framework to regulate drone usage here. These include compulsory registration of all devices with a take-off weight of above 250g and a minimum operator age of 16. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TOH TING WEI