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]
350000+ (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 Brigadier-General Melvyn Ong
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
Perry Lim

The Singapore Army (Malay: Tentera Singapura; Chinese: 新加坡陆军部队, pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Lùjūn Bùduì; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் தரைப்படை, Ciṅkappūr Taraippaṭai) is the Service of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) tasked with land operations. It is the largest of the three Services. The Army is primarily a conscript army that, in the event of war, mobilizes most of its combat power by calling up military reservists.

Strategic Doctrine[edit]

The mission of the Singapore Armed Forces is to deter armed aggression, and to secure a swift and decisive victory should deterrence fail. The Army is also tasked with conducting peace-time operations to further Singapore's national interests and foreign policy. These range from disaster relief to peacekeeping, hostage-rescue and other contingencies.[4]

The Army views technology as a force-multiplier and a means to sustain combat power given Singapore's population constraints. Jointness across three branches of the SAF is integral to the Army's warfighting doctrine. Joint operations that the Army has undertaken with the Navy and Air Force include amphibious landings and critical disaster relief in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

The Army has a technically proficient, relatively well-educated draftee pool and officer corps (non-commissioned and commissioned) reflective of the population at large, and has sought to leverage this to ease its transition into a more sophisticated, networked fighting force.[5]

Combat readiness is a linchpin of Army policy, and military exercises up to divisional level are conducted many times yearly, simulating full-spectrum operations, up to and including full-scale war. Divisional war games are a combined arms, tri-service affair involving the Republic of Singapore Navy and Air Force. Because training space is limited in Singapore—artillery fire would quickly traverse the island—some military exercises are conducted overseas. Reservists periodically [6] train abroad, their units regularly evaluated for combat readiness.[5] The Army also trains bilaterally with some host nations, and military exchanges are frequent. Training is billed as "tough, realistic and safe," with a premium on safety, given the sensitivity of military deaths in a largely conscript army.[4]

Following the Revolution in Military Affairs, and in tandem with modernizing its weapons systems, the Army is forging a transition to a more network-centric fighting doctrine that better integrates the Air Force and Navy.[7]


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, Army General Staff[8] and Commander, TRADOC (Army Training and Doctrine Command).[9] There are six branches of the General Staff (G1-G6), a National Service Affairs Department (NSAD) dealing with National Service issues, and an Inspectorate. The six branches handle manpower (G1), intelligence (G2), operations (G3), logistics (G4), planning (G5) and training (G6) respectively. Each department is headed by an Assistant Chief of the General Staff (ACGS). Also advising the Chief of Army are the Senior Specialist Staff Officers (SSSOs) of the various formations (Infantry, Guards, Armour, Commandos, Artillery, Engineers and Signals).[10][11]

Chief of Army (COA)[edit]

Years in Office COA Formation Post-COA Career
2015 — Melvyn Ong Guards
2014 —
Perry Lim Guards Chief of Defence Force
2011 —
Ravinder Singh Signals President,
ST Kinetics
2010 —
Chan Chun Sing Infantry Acting Minister, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
2007 —
Neo Kian Hong Guards Chief of Defence Force
2003 —
Desmond Kuek Armour Chief of Defence Force
2000 —
Ng Yat Chung Artillery Chief of Defence Force
1998 —
Lim Chuan Poh Infantry Chief of Defence Force
1995 —
Han Eng Juan Armour Chief Executive,
Land Transport Authority
1992 —
Lim Neo Chian Guards Chief Executive Officer,
Jurong Town Corporation
1990 —
Ng Jui Ping  ? Chief of Defence Force

Combat Arms[edit]

The Army consists of seven Combat Arms, from which are derived Divisional and Non-divisional units:

These are bolstered by Combat Service Support Units comprising 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 Army's main organizational components are its Combined-Arms Divisions, of which there are three:[14] the 3rd, 6th and 9th Divisions.[15] They include both active and reserve units that are operationally ready, all subject to mobilization orders in the event of war.[6]

3rd Singapore Division (motto: "Foremost and Utmost") consists of the following subordinate units:

  • 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 (motto "Swift and Deadly") consists of the following subordinate units:

  • HQ 6th Singapore Division
  • 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 9th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 76th 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 (motto: "Forging Ahead) consists of the following subordinate units:


  • 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 responsible for homeland security, including that of key civilian installations and infrastructure. 2 PDF is also responsible for the coordination and secondment of military resources to civilian agencies in the event of a civil emergency.[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]

Designated as Army Operational Reserve (AOR), the 21st Division is a rapid deployment force of highly mobile infantry (Singapore Guards) specializing in amphibious, heliborne, and maneuver warfare. The armoured and artillery components of the division are lightweight, amphibious, and rapidly deployable.


  • 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
  • Divisional Combat Engineer Battalion

Of the three infantry brigades, one is active and staffed mainly by career servicemen. Two are held in reserve, one tasked with heliborne operations, the other tasked with amphibious landings.[17]

25th Division[edit]

Also designated as Army Operational Reserve (AOR).


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

Tim Huxley speculates in Defending the Lion City 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." Huxley asserts that it was "initially codenamed as 32nd Division at the planning stage."[18] Beyond speculation, there is no indication that the division was ever constituted.

Non-Divisional Units, some appended to the General Staff[edit]

  • Military Intelligence Battalion (1MIBN – 1st Military Intelligence Bn)
  • Commandos Battalion (1CDO – 1st Commando Bn)
  • Special Operations Task Force – joint task force consisting of the Naval Diving Unit, Commandos and the Special Operations Force
  • Aggressor Company – subordinate to TRADOC/ATEC, this company-sized detachment organizes itself according to the hypothesized enemy's order of battle and acts as the OPFOR in training evaluations. They are the 'red' opposing force in ATEC evaluations.
  • Armour Aggressor Company – Acts as the OPFOR against Armour formations.[citation needed]
  • Medical Response Force (MRF) – Company-sized counter-chemical and -biological warfare unit, staffed by combat medics.
  • Heavy Tank Battalion – 48 SAR
  • 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 Origin Quantity
Main battle tanks ~196
Leopard 2SG (120mm Rheinmetall L44 main gun)  Germany >196[19] (includes 30 spare tanks, excludes 10 Bergepanzer-3 Büffel ARVs[20])
Mechanized infantry Combat Vehicles / IFVs 857
Bionix II (30mm Bushmaster II chain gun/New armour)  Singapore 200[20]
Bionix 25 (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun)  Singapore 200[20]
Bionix 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG)  Singapore 300[20]
Terrex AV-81  Singapore 135[20]
Armoured Personnel Carriers/Reconnaissance Vehicles 1,335
M113A2 ULTRA 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG)  United States /  Singapore 950[20]
M113A2 ULTRA OWS (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun)  United States /  Singapore 50[20]
Cadillac Gage V-100/150/200  United States 30/40/200 (total 270 in reserves), 50 V-200s in use by the RSAF[20]
Peacekeeper PRV  Singapore 40[21]
MaxxPro Dash MRAP  United States /  Israel 15 in Afghanistan as part of International Security Assistance Force[20]
Multiple Rocket Launchers 18
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS)  United States 18 launchers with 41 GMLRS Pod (246 rockets)[20]
Mortars ~62
81 mm ~?
Soltam M-65 120 mm towed mortar  Israel 50 (in reserves)[20]
Soltam M-66 160 mm towed mortar  Israel 12 (in storage)[20]
Howitzers ~400
25 pounder Mk II  United Kingdom 12 (as ceremonial/salute gun)
Soltam M-68 155mm/L33 Towed Howitzer  Israel 45 (in storage)[20]
Soltam M-71S 155mm/L39 Towed Howitzer  Israel 38 (in storage)[20]
M-114A1 155mm Towed Howitzer  United States 16 (in storage)[20]
FH-2000 155mm/L52 Towed Howitzer  Singapore 72[citation needed]
GIAT LG1 105mm/L30 Towed Howitzer  France 37 (in storage)[22]
SSPH Primus 155mm/L39 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH-1)  Singapore 48 (not including 2× command post & 4× recovery vehicle)[20]
SLWH Pegasus 155mm/L39 Heli-portable Lightweight Howitzer  Singapore 54[citation needed]
Artillery-locating radar 10
AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar  United States 4[20]
AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radar  United States 3[20]
ARTHUR  Sweden /  Norway 3[20]
Armoured Engineers ~56
FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor  United Kingdom 36[20]
M60 Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB)  United States 12[20]
M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) -165mm Demolition Gun  United States 8[20]
Bionix Counter-Mine Vehicle (Trailblazer)  Singapore ~?
Aardvark JSFU (Joint Service Flail Unit)  United Kingdom ~?
Field Engineers ~?
Panzerschnellbrücke 2 Leguan (Vehicle Launched Bridge)  Germany 10[20]
MAN 8x8 with Leguan Bridge Laying System  Germany ~?[23]
Foldable Longspan Bridge (FLB) ~?[24]
Projected Line Charge (PLC) ~?
Bionix AVLB  Singapore ~?
Bridging Engineers ~?
M3G Float Bridge  Germany ~?
All-Terrain Tracked Vehicles ~700
Bronco ATTC (GPMG armed/120mm Super-Rapid Mortar)  Singapore ~400[citation needed]
Bandvagn 206 (GPMG armed)  Sweden ~300
Unmanned Vehicles ~?
Skyblade Mini-UAVs  Singapore ~?
Anti-Tank Rockets/Missiles ~4,000[citation needed]
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle  Sweden ~?[25]
SPIKE-LR  Israel 1,000[26]
Matador  Singapore /  Israel /  Germany ~3,000[citation needed]
Guards Vehicles ~400
Spider LSV with twin SPIKE ATGM  Singapore ~200[citation needed]
Spider LSV  Singapore ~200[citation needed]
Direct Fire Weapons ~500,000[citation needed]
SAR 21  Singapore ~150,000[citation needed]
SAR-21 Grenade Launcher  Singapore ~?
M16S1 local variant of M16A1 produced under license  United States ~200,000[27]
CAR-15 Carbine version of the M-16  United States ~5,000[27]
M203 grenade launcher  United States ~20,000[citation needed]
Ultimax 100  Singapore ~20,000[citation needed]
FN MAG 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun  Belgium ~10,000[citation needed]
CIS 12.7 mm HMG  Singapore ~3,000[citation needed]
SIG Sauer P226 9 mm Pistol  Germany /   Switzerland ~?
H&K MP-5N 9 mm SMG  Germany ~2,000
FN P90 5.7 mm SMG  Belgium ~500
PP-2000 9 mm SMG  Russia
FN Five-seven 5.7 mm Pistol  Belgium ~500[citation needed]
PGM Mini-Hecate 8.6 mm Long-Range Sniper Rifle  France ~100
H&K PSG-1 7.62 mm Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle  Germany ~?
Accuracy International L96A1 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle  United Kingdom ~?
Accuracy International L115A1 8.6 mm Long-Range Sniper Rifle  United Kingdom ~?
Steyr SSG 69 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle  Austria ~?
Brügger & Thomet APR308 7.62 mm Sniper Rifle   Switzerland ~?
M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System  United States ~?
Accuracy International Arctic Warfare AX50 Sniper Rifle  United Kingdom ~?

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 "The Singapore Army- About Us". MINDEF. 
  5. ^ a b Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p.65.
  6. ^ a b "NS Matters - Home". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  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 commissions Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle | IHS Jane's 360". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  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]