Singapore Army

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Singapore Army
Crest of the Singapore Armed Forces.png
Singapore Armed Forces Crest
Founded 12 March 1957
Country  Singapore
Branch Army
Size 72,000 (active, including 35000 conscripts)[citation needed]
500,000+ (reserve)[citation needed]
Part of Singapore Armed Forces
Motto Yang Pertama Dan Utama
('First and Foremost')
Engagements Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation,[1][2][3]
Iraq War
Operation Enduring Freedom (as part of NATO-led ISAF)
Chief of Army Major-General Perry Lim
Winston Choo
Mancharan Singh Gill
Ng Jui Ping
Lim Neo Chian
Han Eng Juan
Lim Chuan Poh
Ng Yat Chung
Desmond Kuek
Neo Kian Hong
Chan Chun Sing
Ravinder Singh

The Singapore Army (Chinese: 新加坡陆军部队, Malay: Tentera Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் தரைப்படை) is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) defending Singapore by land military operations. It is the largest of the three armed services. The SAF is mainly a conscript army as people are the assets of Singapore, making up 80% of the military defence and forming the backbone of the SAF.[4] Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) represent the collective will of the nation to stand up for itself and to ensure security.


The mission of the Army is to deter aggression, and should deterrence fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory. In peacetime, the Army is to be ready and capable of conducting a spectrum of operations to protect Singapore's national interests and the well-being of its citizens.[5]

The Singapore Army focuses on leveraging technology and weapon systems as "force-multipliers". The Singapore Army is capable of conducting amphibious operations with a highly developed logistics force, across all three services of Army, Navy and Air Force, as seen in the peace support operations and humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR) missions in Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

Aside from hardware, the Singapore Army heavily invests in its "software". Largely made up of tertiary-educated conscripts and career regular soldiers, who are continually upgrading their skills with higher education, well-trained and technically proficient.[6]

To familiarise all soldiers with practical fighting experience in case of national exigencies, military exercises up to division level are conducted many times annually, training almost all combat NS units to full-spectrum, full-scale war scenario stimulation. Divisional exercises involve the integration of the national air force and navy to train its troopers with its combined arms, tri-service joint operations. Due to space constraints, some large-scale exercises are conducted overseas unilaterally. Reservists (NSmen)[4] take part in overseas exercises periodically and there is constant evaluation on NS units to improve their operational readiness.[6] Bilateral training and exchanges are also common between friendly nations. The Singapore Army also conducts "tough, realistic and safe training in order to fulfill the Army’s mission." [5]

The Singapore Army is currently undergoing the transformation into a 3rd Generation fighting force.[7] The SAF's evolution into its 3rd Generation involves combining advances in technology and training while using networking to integrate the tri-services into an integrated fighting force. This will provide even greater operational-readiness and flexibility during war and peace time.


Singapore Army
Flag of the Singapore Army
History and Traditions
Military history of Singapore
Weapons of the Singapore Army
Singapore Armed Forces ranks
Singapore Army – major combat units

The Army is headed by the Chief of Army (COA). Assisting him are the Chief of Staff, General Staff[8] and the Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command.[9] There are also six functional departments and an NS Affairs Department (NSAD) dealing with National Service issues, collectively known as the General Staff and an Inspectorate. The six functional departments handle personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, plans and training respectively. Each department is headed by an Assistant Chief of the General Staff (ACGS). Also advising the COA are the Senior Specialist Staff Officers (SSSOs): Infantry, Guards, Armour, Commando, Artillery, Engineers and Signals.[10][11]

Combat Arms[edit]

The army consists of the following Combat Arms, which are integrated with one another to form the Divisional and Non-divisional assets:

These are bolstered by Combat Service Support Units which consist of the following:

  • Army Intelligence
  • Army Medical Services
  • Army Maintenance and Engineering Support
  • Army Supply and Transport
  • Singapore Armed Forces Ammunition Command

Divisional and Non-Divisional assets[edit]

Combined-Arms Divisions[edit]

The main components of the Army are its 3 active Combined-Arms Divisions:[14] 3rd, 6th and 9th Div.[15] They include both active and reserve units, all of which can be mobilised anytime as there is 24/7 standby mobilisation manning. To be operationally-ready means that Singapore's armed forces are able to transform ourselves from a disciplined and well-prepared force in peace time to an effective fighting force in war time.[4]

3rd Singapore Division has as its motto "Foremost and Utmost". It comprises

  • HQ 3rd Singapore Division
  • 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 5th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 24th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 30th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 8th Singapore Armoured Brigade
  • 3rd Division Artillery
  • 3rd Division Support Command

Under the Division-National Cadet Corps (NCC) affiliation scheme, NCC West District is affiliated to the 3rd Division.

6th Singapore Division has as its motto "Swift and Deadly". It comprises

  • HQ 6th Singapore Division
  • 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 9th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 54th Singapore Armoured Brigade
  • 6th Division Artillery
  • 6th Division Support Command
  • 6th Division Engineers
  • 6th Divisional Air Defence Artillery Battalion
  • 6th Signal Battalion

Under the Division-NCC affiliation, NCC Central District is affiliated to the 6th Division.

9th Division/Infantry has also assumed the responsibilities of headquarters of the Infantry formation in 2004. Its motto is "Forging Ahead".


  • HQ 9th Singapore Division
  • 10th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 12th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 56th Singapore Armoured Brigade
  • 9th Division Artillery
  • 9th Divisional Support Command
  • 9th Signal Battalion

Under the Division-NCC affiliation, NCC East District is affiliated to the 9th Division/Infantry.

MINDEF Reserve (MR) NS Divisions[edit]

2 People's Defence Force[edit]

2 People's Defence Force (PDF) is primarily the 24/7 homeland border protection, security of key installations and co-ordinating a spectrum of military resources to assist HomeTeam agencies in front-line civil emergencies, with its Headquarters manned 24/7 to provide an effective and efficient response to any incidents island-wide.[16]


  • HQ 2 PDF
  • HQ 21 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • HQ 22 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • HQ 26 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • HQ 27 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • HQ 29 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • HQ 32 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 8th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (8 SIR)
  • 9th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (9 SIR)
21st Division[edit]

Officially designated as an Army Operational Reserve (AOR) division, the 21st Division is essentially a rapid deployment force composed primarily of the Singapore Guards, elite infantry highly mobile in both amphibious and heliborne operations. The armoured and artillery components of the division are lightweight, amphibious and comparatively manoeuvrable such as highly mobile artillery such as the SLWH Pegasus as well as Light Strike Vehicles and possibly the amphibious AV-82 Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle.

Guards Motto: "Ready to Strike"


  • 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 13th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 15th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • Divisional Artillery
  • 21st Signal Battalion
  • 21st Divisional Support Command
  • 18th Divisional Air Defense Artillery Battalion
  • 1 Combat Engineer Battalion

Note: Of the three brigades, one is active and composed of NS Regulars and NS Fulltime Servicemen. The other two are held in reserve, one being proficient in the helibourne role co-ordinating jointly with the air force helicopter squadrons, while the other is proficient in amphibious operations co-operating jointly with naval fast crafts.[17]

25th Division[edit]

Officially designated as an Army Operational Reserve (AOR) division, commanded by the Chief Armour Officer since inauguration.


  • 11th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 14th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 63rd Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 65th Singapore Infantry Brigade
32nd Division[edit]

Tim Huxley, author of the defence book "Defending the Lion City", wrote that 'the reorganisation of 1991 and 1995 left one armoured brigade, 4 SAB, outside the divisional structure, prompting speculation that it has been earmarked to form the core of a conceptualised new mechanised division, initially codenamed as 32nd Division at the planning stage. Even if this division is indeed established in the 1990s, it still remains classified on the planning board.[18] This however, is only Huxley's claim and till now, no active SARs and SABs (except 8SAB) are officially under any Combined Armed Division's assets.

Non-divisional units[edit]

  • 1 Military Intelligence Battalion (1MIBN – 1st Military Intelligence Bn)
  • 1 active Commandos Battalion (1CDO – 1st Commando Bn)
  • 1 Special Operations Task Force – A Special Operations Command-type unit consisting of the NDU, Commandos and the SOF
  • 1 Aggressor Company – Under TRADOC/ATEC, this Company bases itself on the Aggressor Orbat and varies slightly from the normal Infantry Company, with a platoon specialising in Armour Simulation using normal vehicles. They are the 'Red' opposing Force for ATEC evaluations. Also known as OPFOR.[citation needed]
  • 1 Armour Aggressor Company – Focuses on playing the same OPFOR role in exercises with Armour formations.[citation needed]
  • 1 Medical Response Force Unit (MRF) – Counter Chemical and Biological Warfare Unit (approximately large company sized), composed of three platoons of specially trained Combat Medics. Motto: "Against All Adversity"
  • 1 Heavy Tank Battalion – 48 SAR with 30+ Leopard 2A4
  • 1 Armoured Brigade – 4 SAB.


Leopard 2SG of the Singapore Army upgraded with AMAP Composite Armour by IBD & ST Kinetics
The Bionix AFV at Singapore Airshow 2008
Spider LSV with SPIKE ATGM launcher extended
The SSPH1 Primus at the SAF Open House
The SLWH Pegasus at the SAF Open House
Type Quantity
Main battle tanks ~262
Leopard 2SG (120mm Rheinmetall L44 main gun) >196[19] (includes 30 spare tanks, excludes 10 Bergepanzer-3 Büffel ARVs[20])
Merkava MkIV 50[21]
Mechanized infantry Combat Vehicles / IFVs 857
Bionix II (30mm Bushmaster II chain gun/New armour) 200[20]
Bionix 25 (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun) 200[20]
Bionix 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG) 300[20]
Terrex AV-81 135[20]
Armoured Personnel Carriers/Reconnaissance Vehicles 1,335
M113A2 ULTRA 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG) 950[20]
M113A2 ULTRA OWS (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun) 50[20]
Cadillac Gage V-100/150/200 30/40/200 (total 270 in reserves), 50 V-200s in use by the RSAF[20]
MaxxPro Dash MRAP 15 in Afghanistan as part of International Security Assistance Force[20]
Multiple Rocket Launchers 18
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) 18 launchers with 41 GMLRS Pod (246 rockets)[20]
Mortars ~62
81 mm ~?
Soltam M-65 120 mm towed mortar 50 (in reserves)[20]
Soltam M-66 160 mm towed mortar 12 (in storage)[20]
Howitzers ~400
25 pounder Mk II 12 (as ceremonial/salute gun)
Soltam M-68 155mm/L33 Towed Howitzer 45 (in storage)[20]
Soltam M-71S 155mm/L39 Towed Howitzer 38 (in storage)[20]
M-114A1 155mm Towed Howitzer 16 (in storage)[20]
FH-2000 155mm/L52 Towed Howitzer 72[citation needed]
GIAT LG1 105mm/L30 Towed Howitzer 37 (in storage)[22]
SSPH Primus 155mm/L39 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH-1) 48 (not including 2× command post & 4× recovery vehicle)[20]
SLWH Pegasus 155mm/L39 Heli-portable Lightweight Howitzer 54[citation needed]
Artillery-locating radar 10
AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar 4[20]
AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radar 3[20]
ARTHUR 3[20]
Armoured Engineers ~56
FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor 36[20]
M60 Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) 12[20]
M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) -165mm Demolition Gun 8[20]
Bionix Counter-Mine Vehicle (Trailblazer) ~?
Aardvark JSFU (Joint Service Flail Unit) ~?
Field Engineers ~?
Panzerschnellbrücke 2 Leguan (Vehicle Launched Bridge) 10[20]
MAN 8x8 with Leguan Bridge Laying System ~?[23]
Foldable Longspan Bridge (FLB) ~?[24]
Projected Line Charge (PLC) ~?
Bionix AVLB ~?
Bridging Engineers ~?
M3G Float Bridge ~?
All-Terrain Tracked Vehicles ~700
Bronco ATTC (GPMG armed/120mm Super-Rapid Mortar) ~400[citation needed]
Bandvagn 206 (GPMG armed) ~300
Unmanned Vehicles ~?
Skyblade Mini-UAVs ~?
Anti-Tank Rockets/Missiles ~4,000[citation needed]
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle ~?[25]
SPIKE-LR 1,000[26]
Matador ~3,000[citation needed]
Guards Vehicles ~400
Spider LSV with twin SPIKE ATGM ~200[citation needed]
Spider LSV ~200[citation needed]
Direct Fire Weapons ~500,000[citation needed]
SAR 21 ~150,000[citation needed]
SAR-21 Grenade Launcher ~?
M16S1 local variant of M16A1 produced under license ~200,000[27]
CAR-15 Carbine version of the M-16 ~5,000[27]
AK-101[citation needed] ~?
AK-102[citation needed] ~?
Type 81 assault rifle ~?
M203 grenade launcher ~20,000[citation needed]
Ultimax 100 ~20,000[citation needed]
Type 81 light machine gun ~?
FN MAG 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun ~10,000[citation needed]
CIS 12.7 mm HMG ~3,000[citation needed]
SIG Sauer P226 9 mm Pistol ~?
H&K MP-5N 9 mm SMG ~2,000
FN P90 5.7 mm SMG ~500
PP-2000 9 mm SMG ~?
FN Five-seven 5.7 mm Pistol ~500[citation needed]
PGM Mini-Hecate 8.6 mm Long-Range Sniper Rifle ~100
H&K PSG-1 7.62 mm Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle ~?
Accuracy International L96A1 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle ~?
Accuracy International L115A1 8.6 mm Long-Range Sniper Rifle ~?
Steyr SSG 69 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle ~?
Brügger & Thomet APR308 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle ~?
M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System ~?
Accuracy International Arctic Warfare AX50 Sniper Rifle ~?

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1957 – Our First Battalion". MINDEF. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "1963 – Konfrontasi". MINDEF. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "1963 – Pioneering Spirit of 2 SIR". MINDEF. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "NS Matters - Home". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "The Singapore Army- About Us". MINDEF. 
  6. ^ a b Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p.65.
  7. ^ "The 3rd Generation SAF". MINDEF. 
  8. ^ "The Singapore Army - Organisation Structure". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ " — Directory". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  11. ^ " — Directory". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Singapore Army - Armour". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Singapore Army - Artillery". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  14. ^ " — Directory". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  15. ^ See also, and Huxley, Defending the Lion City, 2000, p.123-6
  16. ^ "The Singapore Army - 2 People's Defence Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p.124.
  18. ^ Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p.127. Huxley's source note on 32nd Division appears to refer to an article by defence journalist Prasun Sengupta (1992, p.76), but Huxley's bibliography is incomplete.
  19. ^ "The Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank: More Bite and Firepower for Our Armour". Retrieved 1 March 2008. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "SIPRI arms transfer database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  21. ^ "Singapore looks out for Israeli defence interests". Intelligence Online. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "105mm LG1 MkII – Contracts, Orders & Sales". Deagel.Com. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "Product Information". n.d. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "Engineers roll out!". 3 June 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (27 January 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  26. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (2010). The Military Balance 2010. United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-85743-557-3. 
  27. ^ a b Terry J. Gander; Ian V. Hogg (1996). Jane's Gun Recognition Guide. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-470979-6. 
  • Tim, Huxley. Defending the Lion City: the Armed Forces of Singapore. Publisher: Allen & Unwin Pty LTD, 2000. ISBN 1-86508-118-3.
Further reading

External links[edit]