Underground Ammunition Storage Facility
Breaking new ground with #SingaporesFirst underground ammunition storage facility
With land space constraints in Singapore, underground spaces have been developed to meet our infrastructural needs. This began in the 1980s with the first MRT and road tunnels and was accelerated with the completion of #SingaporesFirst underground ammunition storage facility in 2008.
The Underground Ammunition Facility (UAF) was developed by the Singapore Armed Forces, in collaboration with the DSTA and SembCorp Design & Construction. This engineering marvel is built in rock caverns under the old Mandai Quarry and took 10 years to complete. The 100 by 26 metres ammunition chambers lie several storeys underground and are linked by a warren of subterranean road tunnels — big enough for container trucks to drive through. About 300 hectares of land were freed up by storing ammunition in the UAF instead of conventional above-ground depots. This land area is the equivalent of 400 football fields or half the size of Pasir Ris town!
Building the UAF underground isn’t just about freeing up land space. The natural insulation provided by the granite caverns saves half as much energy required for cooling. Automation and the use of technology mean that 20% less manpower is needed to operate the UAF compared to a traditional depot. Furthermore, safety is enhanced by advanced features, such as automatic fire detection and fighting systems. Blast attenuation is also achieved through specially-designed blast doors, advanced tunnel network design and debris traps.
The UAF project enabled local capabilities in cavern construction to be developed. Since then, Singapore has come up with more innovative underground solutions to tackle our land space crunch. The Jurong Rock Caverns were opened in 2014 and its five nine-storey-high caverns store oil products. This freed up 60 hectares of land (about 70 football fields) by bringing conventional above-ground oil storage underground.
By going underground, Singapore has dug deep to alleviate our land space constraints. This determination and spirit of innovation will allow us to overcome the challenges of being a small city with big needs.
Resources: Ministry of Defence Singapore, AsiaOne, The Straits Times, Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore, Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore