Singapore Armoured Regiment

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Singapore Armoured Regiment
A Singapore Army Bionix infantry fighting vehicle
A Singapore Army Bionix infantry fighting vehicle
Founded November 1968
Country  Singapore
Branch Army
Role Heavy Armour (1 battalion)
Armoured Infantry (3 battalions)
Size 4 Armoured Battalions, 2 Active Armoured Brigades, 2 Reserve Armoured Brigades
Garrison/HQ Keat Hong Camp (40 SAR, 8 SAB)
Sungei Gedong Camp (HQ Armour ,42 SAR,48 SAR, ATI)
Kranji Camp II (41 SAR, 4 SAB)
Nickname Armour Mafia Family, Once Armour Always Armour, The Force The Family
Motto Swift and Decisive[1]
Equipment Leopard 2A4,[2] Bionix AFV, Bronco ATTC, M113[3]
Commanders
Chief of Armour COL Kenneth Liow[4]
Notable
commanders
BG Benedict Lim, BG Colin Theseira, BG Bernard Tan, BG Wong Ann Cha, BG Ong Boon Hwee
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Black Beret

The Singapore Armoured Regiment is a formation of the Singapore Army and it is known for its armoured warfare fighting capabilities. Armour provides mobile firepower support and rapid mobility for the Army by helping to spearhead an advance past the enemies defenses and onto seizing and holding key objectives on the battlefield. Armour also acts as an active deterrent role towards any possible aggressors towards Singapore. Armour is known to act swiftly as they can be deployed at a moment's notice to dominate the battlefield hence their motto: Swift and Decisive.

History[edit]

The Singapore Army's first armoured unit, 41 Singapore Armoured Regiment, SAR for short (then known as 40 Singapore Armoured Battalion), was formed in November 1968. In that year, the Army decided to purchase both the V-200 Commando vehicles and the AMX-13 tanks. 40 SAB was formed to operate AMX-13 tanks in 1969, and was the first armour unit to be equipped with the tanks.[5] The V-200 Commando vehicles were divided between 40 and 41 SAB to form a mixture between the tanks and armoured infantry.[6]

That same year, 40 SAB thrilled the crowd at the National Day Parade in a drive past of 18 tanks to salute the President of Singapore.[7] HQ Armour has since organised armour column drive-pasts during the National Day Parades in the years 1984, 1993, 2002 & 2010. In addition to this, during every National Day Parade, men of the formation are given the honour of the Presidential Lance Guards who will form up upon the President's arrival and departure. They carry lances with a pennon that features the insignia of the Armour formation attached beneath the spearhead. This tradition is modeled after the knights in armour of old who would form up to protect their king.

The AMX-13 which was acquired back in 1969 was upgraded to the AMX-13 SM1 in 1988.[8]

In July 1970, with the creation of 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade (HQ 4 SAB), 40 & 41 were re-flagged as 40 SAR & 41 SAR respectively. 2 further armoured units were created: 42 SAR was created in 1971 & 46 SAR in 1976. With the inception of full-time national service in 1967, 40 SAR received her first mono intake in March 1970 & 41 SAR received her first intake in July 1970.

In 1973, the formation acquired the M113 to replace the V-200 Commando, which was further upgraded to the M113A2 Ultra IFV in 1993 to keep up with the modern age.[9]

The Regimental Colours of 40, 41 and 42 SAR were presented by the late President Sheares at Selarang Camp on the 6th of September 1977. 46 SAR Regimental Colours was presented to them on 29 October 1991.[10] 48 SAR's Regimental Colours was presented by President Tony Tan on the 1st of July 2013 at the year's SAF day parade.

In 2006, it was announced that the AMX-13 SM1 Tanks would be replaced with Germany's Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks.[11]

The formation also adopted the Black Beret as its official headdress in line with other armour formations worldwide.[12] The black beret is recognized as a traditional symbol or identity of an armoured unit.

In the Singapore Armed Forces Best Unit Competition, Only 5 Armour units have won the title of Best Combat unit: 41 SAR (1978 & 1984), 42 SAR (1979 & 1982) & 40 SAR (2002).

Structure[edit]

There are currently 3 armoured infantry battalions in its operational structure: 40 SAR, 41 SAR & 42 SAR. A fourth battalion, 46 SAR, was deactivated in Jan 2011.

There is another additional tank battalion, 48 SAR. There are also a number of NS Reserve battalions that are activated during reservist recalls. NS SAR units are numbered in three-digit formats(i.e. 442 SAR, 453 SAR, 485 SAR) to distinguish them from active units. These three-digit designations are given to each active battalion's mono intake when they complete of their 2 year mandatory service with their respective active battalions and then form a reservist battalion.

An armoured infantry battalion is made up of 5 companies: HQ coy, A coy, B coy, C coy and Support coy. (The name of each company/coy differs across battalions and may start with other letters i.e. H(Hawk) coy & J(Jaguar) coy.)

  • The HQ company encompasses the battalion's Intelligence Branch, Manpower Branch, Training & Operation Branch, Logistics Branch, Signal Branch, Quartermaster Branch, Motor Transport and Tracked Vehicle Maintenance Branch.
  • The A, B and C Companies are also known as combat companies, and they are made up of three platoons and a company HQ platoon
  • The Support Company encompasses the following elements: Mortar, Pioneer/Engineer, ATGM, and Reconnaissance.

While on operation, each combat team will be attached with a vehicle maintenance and Pioneer section. The ATGM & Mortar elements can be attached to either combat company at their commanders direction depending on mission profiles.

Armoured Infantry (A.I) battalions shared similar traits as compared towards their regular Infantry counterparts (roles such as Advancing towards an opposing force, Assaulting an opposing force dug in positions and Delaying an opposing force advancement) but the differences are each section in an A.I of an A.I platoon have their own individual armoured tracked platform, A.I platoon carry more firepower on a dismounted role as compared to regular infantry and A.I platoons specialise conducting water bodies crossing with their armoured platforms through flotation devices.

During training or operations, external units can be attached to armoured battalions as needed. Examples of such units are the Combat Engineers' armoured vehicle launch bridge and mine clearance vehicles, or the Artillery's self-propelled howitzers. When required by the nature of operations, heavy tanks can be attached to the armoured infantry battalions, either to the unit or to specific companies.

Units[edit]

Brigades

  • HQ 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade
    • Motto: Terror On Tracks
    • Kranji Camp II
  • HQ 8th Singapore Armoured Brigade
    • Motto: United We Dare
    • Keat Hong Camp, under HQ 3 DIV
  • HQ 54th Singapore Armoured Brigade
    • Motto: We Spearhead
    • Kranji Camp II, under HQ 6 DIV
  • HQ 56th Singapore Armoured Brigade
    • Motto: Bold and Decisive
    • Selarang Camp, under HQ 9 DIV


Battalions[13]

  • 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (under 8 SAB, 3 DIV)
    • Motto: Victory Unto Victory
    • Yellow Frills on its Battalion's Regemental Color with the number '40' on the top left corner
    • Keat Hong Camp
  • 41st Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (under 8 SAB, under 3 DIV)
    • Motto: Pressure Forward
    • Red Frills on its Battalion's Regemental Colors with the number '41' on the top left corner
    • Kranji Camp II
  • 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment
    • Motto: The Cutting Edge
    • Green Frills on its Battalion's Regemental Colors with the number '42' on the top left corner
    • Sungei Gedong Camp
  • 46th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (Inactive since Jan 2011[14])
    • Motto: Precision, Speed, Accuracy (The motto was Vigilance, Speed, Accuracy, circa 1979)
    • Blue Frills on its Battalion's Regemental Colors with the number '46' on the top left corner
    • Formerly based at Sungei Gedong Camp. In the founding years, the regiment was concurrently based in Jalan Bahar Camp, Jurong Camp and Jalan Ibadat Camp before coming together in Holland Road Camp in 1979. And subsequently moving into Sungei Gedong Camp in late 1980.
  • 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (non-divisional unit)
    • Motto: Rapid Dominance
    • Sungei Gedong Camp

Equipment[edit]

Units within the Regiment have used a wide range of vehicles, such as the

The locally designed armoured platform, the Bionix AFV, was declared operationally ready in 1999 which then signalled the transformation of the Armour formation into a modern fighting force.[15] An updated version of the Bionix was released back in 2006 and was named the Bionix 2. The Bionix AFV comes in 2 variants: a 2 man gun turret or a 1 man Cupola turret. The 2 man turret is armed either with a 25mm chain gun found on an earlier version of the Bionix or a 30mm chain cannon found on the Bionix 2. The Bionix with the turret is able to hold up to 7 fully equipped troops in the troop compartment while the Bionix with the cupola turret is able to hold up to 9 fully equipped troops in the troop compartment.

M113 Ultra armoured platform is armed with either the CIS 40 AGL & CIS 50HMG cupola system, the Rafael Overhead Weapon Station which has a 25mm chain cannon or a single cupola capable of mounting a 7.62mm coxial machine gun or FN GMPG. The seating capacity in troop compartment for the M113 Ultra are similar as compared to the Bionix AFV. The seating capacity for other version of the M113 Ultras such as the Medical or Motar carrier would vary.

Training[edit]

For all combat personnel who either join Armour as a regular or by being posted to Armour after basic training, there are two main combat vocations within Armour: a Tank Operator and the other is being an Armoured Infantry. Vocation varies depending on the unit that the personnel are being sent to.

Tank operators will be trained to maintain and fire the tank, while Armoured Infantry will be trained in basic infantry and armoured warfare tactics

The Armour formation's main training institute is called the Armour Training Institute (ATI) located in Sungei Gedong Camp which trains and evaluates all active and NS Armour units.[16]

The four schools under ATI are:

  • School of Armour (SOA)
    • Motto: Lead By Example
    • Conducts Armour Leadership courses for both the Officer and Specialist cadets in their respective vocations in the formation.
  • Armoured Battle Group Training Centre (ABGTC)
    • Conducts Armour Battle Groups Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP)
  • Armour Combat Training Centre (ACTC)
    • Qualification centre for all Armour platforms and weapon systems courses
  • Combat Team Training Centre (CTTC)
    • Combat Team and Main Battle Tank Company level and below training and evaluation

ATI is staffed with senior and well experienced officers, Warrant Officers and specialists where they supervise, train and mentor all Armour personal who are undergoing training regardless if they are an active or reserve unit.

ATI maintains a combat company containing three platoons to play the role of aggressors otherwise known as OPFOR against active and reserve units during the units ATEC evaluation. Their role is to simulate a real enemy force through the use of the battlefield instrumentation (BFI) system[17]

Exercise[edit]

The formation conducts numerous overseas training exercises for its armour units to practice due to lack of maneuver area in Singapore. Listed are some of the exercise names and where the exercises are conducted at.

  • Exercise Wallaby (Australia)
    • An annual military exercise conducted at Shoalwater Bay towards the end of the calendar year. Armour units being sent can conduct either live firing drills with other military platforms and units or their own ATEC evaluations, or play the role of an armour aggressor unit. Officer and Specialist cadets on training can also be sent on exercise as part of their training program.[18]
  • Exercise Matilda (Australia)
    • A combined company/squadron level non-reciprocal sub-unit exercise conducted in the Mount Bundey Training Area between 48SAR and the 1st Armoured Regiment of the Australian Defense Force to enhance tactical skills and inter-operability between both forces.[19]
  • Exercise Bold Kurukshetra (India)
    • An exercise where an armoured infantry combat company from an active battalion and other support elements are sent to India for a military exchange with the armoured units from the Indian Army.[20]
  • Exercise Panzer Strike (Germany)
    • An exercise held in Bergen, Germany in which the heavy tank battalion (48 SAR), Officer and Specialist Cadets from the School of Armour hone their gunnery and driving skills at the Bundeswehr's Bergen-Hohne tank range, whose space allows them to fire on the move and to practice platoon movements. The unit also conducts bilateral live-firing exercises with the German Army.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/ourforces/Armour/Motto_Insignia.html
  2. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/topics/Weapons/leopard/index.html
  3. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/ourforces/Armour/Equipment.html
  4. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/About_Us/Org_Structure.html
  5. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/news_and_events/nr/2009/jun/26jun09_nr2/26jun09_speech.print.html?Status=1
  6. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/about_us/history/birth_of_saf/v12n08_history/_jcr_content/imindefPars/0002/file.res/TMIHAug08.pdf
  7. ^ http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article.aspx?articleid=straitstimes19690809.2.129&sessionid=9a1a70850192497db50e142f7a8094ef&keyword=AMX-13&search=advanced&fromdate=&todate=&articles=1&advertisements=1&illustrations=1&letters=1&obituaries=1&miscellaneous=1&newspaperTitles=&fuzzysearch=Off&ffromdate=19690101&ftodate=19691231&token=amx-13
  8. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/microsites/armymuseum/stories/Personal_Stories/1970s/Ang_Taw_Hai.html "In 1988, the AMX-13 was upgraded and renamed the AMX-13 SM1."
  9. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/ourforces/Armour/History.html
  10. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/resources/e-books/ebklist/_jcr_content/imindefPars/0022/file.res/ourArmyCustomsTraditions.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/about_us/history/birth_of_saf/v12n08_history.print.html?Status=1
  12. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/ourforces/Armour/History.html
  13. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/dam/imindef_media_library/imindef2012/media_library/publications/ebooks/pdf/ourArmyCustomsTraditions.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/dam/imindef_media_library/graphics/army/army_news/download_our_issues/pdf/192.pdf "In January, 46 SAR stood down"
  15. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/1999/jul/30jul99_nr.html
  16. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/dam/imindef_media_library/graphics/army/army_news/download_our_issues/pdf/180.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/resourcelibrary/cyberpioneer/topics/articles/features/2013/apr13_cs.html#.UV67q5Onou6
  18. ^ http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1166576/1/.html
  19. ^ http://www.strategicdefenceintelligence.com/article/JxiQscFdGOg/2012/10/04/australia_singapore_armed_forces_conduct_exercise_matilda_20/
  20. ^ http://www.strategicdefenceintelligence.com/article/nsRRK7D23pE/2013/03/22/india_and_singapore_conduct_joint_exercise_bold_kurukshetra_/
  21. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/army/army_news/Feature/2012_features/Ex_Panzer.html

External links[edit]