On 5 March, Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing unveiled the Solider Tracker System in Parliament.
It was one of MINDEF’s efforts to improve the training and medical systems of national servicemen (NSmen). This tracker system that can be used to track soldiers in difficult terrain and small-unit operations.
The Soldier Tracker System is aimed at enhancing the Singapore Armed Force’s (SAF) safety coverage of navigation teams training in densely forested areas. Soldiers are equipped with the device, which is linked via satellite to the Exercise Control Headquarters (HQ). This allows the HQ to receive real-time information on the location of soldiers, which is presented in a software map.
During an emergency, soldiers can use the SOS button to alert the Exercise Control HQ, mobilising a rescue team upon verification.
Mr Chan said that the tracker system was “better” as it helped the Exercise Control HQ to monitor the location of soldiers more easily.
He said: “Before this tracker system was introduced to Army units and its training centres last year, soldiers involved in navigation training exercises were equipped with military radio sets and satellite phones.
“Trial results showed that with the use of this tracker system, the Exercise Control Headquarters was able to monitor the location of soldiers better through the real-time tracking function.”
And to reduce heat injuries, heat stress monitors are introduced to monitor localised weather conditions. The monitors provide a more accurate reading of weather conditions in specific training environments. Ground commanders can then better advise soldiers on when they should train or rest, as they carry out strenuous activities, said MINDEF. It added that sufficient rest during training could lower the chances of soldiers suffering heat injuries.
Now that MINDEF can track every single soldier out in the field, no longer can NSmen chao geng from positions and sneak off the lepak. What will this brood for our aging NSmen serving their ICTs?
Will reservice be increasingly tough to endure? Will more NSmen end up being punished for malingering due to this tracking system?