Singapore Army

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Tentera Singapura
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,123
Iraq War
Operation Enduring Freedom (as part of NATO-led ISAF)
Chief of Army Brigadier-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) responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen).


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.4

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 relief work 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 professional regulars, its soldiers are highly educated, well-trained and technically proficient.5

To equip all soldiers with practical fighting experience, large-scale exercises, up to division level are conducted several times a year, exposing almost every fighting unit to full-spectrum, full-scale war scenarios. Some of these exercises also involve the air force and navy, in order to familiarise its troops with its combined arms, tri-service operations. Due to space constraints, such exercises are usually conducted overseas unilaterally. Reservists take part in overseas exercises regularly and there is persistent pressure on units to improve their operational readiness.5 Bilateral training and exchanges are also common between friendly nations. The Singapore Army also professionally conducts "tough, realistic and safe training in order to fulfill the Army’s mission." 4

The Singapore Army is currently undergoing the transformation into a 3rd Generation fighting force.6 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 Staff7 and the Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command.8 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.910

Combat Arms

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

Combined-Arms Divisions

The main components of the Army are its 3 active Combined-Arms Divisions:13 3rd, 6th and 9th Div.14 They include both active and reserve units, all of which can be mobilised in phases.

Each Division comprises

  • 1 Armoured Brigade (3 Armoured Battalions, 1 Engineer Company, 1 Signal Company, 1 Reconnaissance Company)
  • 2–4 Infantry Brigades (3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Engineer Company, 1 Signal Company, 1 Reconnaissance Company)
  • 1 Signal Battalion
  • 3 Artillery Battalions
  • 1 Combat Engineers Battalion
  • 1 Divisional Support Command (1 Maintenance Battalion, 1 Supply Battalion, 1 Medical Battalion)
  • 1 Air Defence Battalion

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

  • HQ 3rd Singapore Division (Jurong Camp I)
  • 3rd Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Battalion (3 ISTAR Bn) (Jurong Camp I)
  • 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade (Bukit Panjang Camp)
  • 5th Singapore Infantry Brigade (Tanjong Gul Camp)
  • 24th Singapore Infantry Brigade (Maju Camp)
  • 30th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 8th Singapore Armoured Brigade (Keat Hong Camp)
  • 3rd Division Artillery (Amoy Quee Camp)
  • 3rd Division Support Command (Kranji Camp III)
  • 6 Singapore Infantry Regiment

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 (Mandai Hill Camp)
  • 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade (Mandai Hill Camp)
  • 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 (Mandai Hill Camp)
  • All Combat Service Support Battalions

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

9th Division/Infantry has within the last ten years also assumed the responsibilities of headquarters infantry. Its motto is "Forging Ahead".


  • HQ 9th Singapore Division (Selarang Camp)
  • 10th Singapore Infantry Brigade (Pasir Ris Camp)
  • 12th Singapore Infantry Brigade (Selarang Camp)
  • 23rd Singapore Infantry Brigade (Selarang Camp)
  • 56th Singapore Armoured Brigade (Selarang Camp)
  • 9th Division Artillery
  • 9th Division Engineers
  • 9th Divisional Support Command (Selarang Camp)
  • 9th Signal Battalion (Selarang Camp)

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

Other Divisions

21st Division

Although officially designated as an Army Operational Reserve (AOR) division, the 21st Division is essentially a rapid deployment force composed primarily of Guards, elite infantry trained in both amphibious and heliborne assault. The armoured and artillery component of the division is presumed to be lightweight, amphibious and comparatively maneuverable. Therefore it can be assumed that the division includes lightweight 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 trains in an airmobile role in conjunction with the air force helicopter squadrons, and another in amphibious operations with naval fast transport craft.15

2 People's Defence Force


  • 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
  • HQ 1 Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 8th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (8 SIR)
  • 9th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (9 SIR)
  • SAF Military Police Command
25th Division

A NS reservist command headed by the Chief Armour Officer since inception.


  • 11th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 14th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 63rd Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • 65th Singapore Infantry Brigade
  • Possible 25th Divisional Support Command (Unknown)
  • Possible Armoured Elements (Unknown)
  • Possible Artillery Elements (Unknown)
  • Possible Air Defence Elements (Unknown)
  • Possible Signal Elements (Unknown)
32nd Division

Tim Huxley, writing in the book "Defending the Lion City", wrote that 'the reorganisations of 1991 and 1995 left one armoured brigade, 4 SAB, outside the divisional structure, prompting speculation that it had been earmarked to form the core of a planned mechanised formation, sometimes referred to as 32nd Division. However if this division was indeed established during the 1990s, at the end of the decade it remains under wraps.'16 This however, is only Huxley's claim and none of the active SARs and SABs (except 8SAB)are under any Combined Armed Division.

Non-divisional units

  • 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.
  • 1 Army Developmental Force (1 ADF) – An all-regular unit for experimental training and doctrine development. Also provides the SAF with an experienced and operational force at all times. Suitable for low-intensity conflict, anti-terroism, peacekeeping operations etc.


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 ~212
Leopard 2SG (120mm Rheinmetall L44 main gun) >19617 (includes 30 spare tanks, excludes 10 Bergepanzer-3 Büffel ARVs18)
Mechanized infantry Combat Vehicles / IFVs 857
Bionix II (30mm Bushmaster II chain gun/New armour) 20018
Bionix 25 (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun) 20018
Bionix 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG) 30018
Terrex AV-81 13518
Armoured Personnel Carriers/Reconnaissance Vehicles 1,335
M113A2 ULTRA 40/50 (CIS 40mm AGL + CIS 50MG) 95018
M113A2 ULTRA OWS (25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun) 5018
Cadillac Gage V-100/150/200 30/40/200 (total 270 in reserves), 50 V-200s in use by the RSAF18
MaxxPro Dash MRAP 15 in Afghanistan as part of International Security Assistance Force18
Multiple Rocket Launchers 18
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) 18 launchers with 41 GMLRS Pod (246 rockets)18
Mortars ~62
81 mm ~?
Soltam M-65 120 mm towed mortar 50 (in reserves)18
Soltam M-66 160 mm towed mortar 12 (in storage)18
Howitzers ~400
25 pounder Mk II 12 (as ceremonial/salute gun)
Soltam M-68 155mm/L33 Towed Howitzer 45 (in storage)18
Soltam M-71S 155mm/L39 Towed Howitzer 38 (in storage)18
M-114A1 155mm Towed Howitzer 16 (in storage)18
FH-2000 155mm/L52 Towed Howitzer 72citation needed
GIAT LG1 105mm/L30 Towed Howitzer 37 (in storage)19
SSPH Primus 155mm/L39 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH-1) 48 (not including 2× command post & 4× recovery vehicle)18
SLWH Pegasus 155mm/L39 Heli-portable Lightweight Howitzer 54citation needed
Artillery-locating radar 10
AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar 418
AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radar 318
Armoured Engineers ~56
FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor 3618
M60 Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) 1218
M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) -165mm Demolition Gun 818
Bionix Counter-Mine Vehicle (Trailblazer) ~?
Aardvark JSFU (Joint Service Flail Unit) ~?
Field Engineers ~?
Vehicle Launched Bridge (VLB) ~?
Foldable Longspan Bridge (FLB) ~?
Projected Line Charge (PLC) ~?
Bionix AVLB ~?
Bridging Engineers ~?
M3G Float Bridge ~?
All-Terrain Tracked Vehicles ~700
Bronco ATTC (GPMG armed/120mm Super-Rapid Mortar) ~400citation needed
Bandvagn 206 (GPMG armed) ~300
Unmanned Vehicles ~?
Skyblade Mini-UAVs ~?
Anti-Tank Rockets/Missiles ~4,000citation needed
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle ~?20
SPIKE-LR 1,00021
Matador ~3,000citation needed
Guards Vehicles ~400
Spider LSV with twin SPIKE ATGM ~200citation needed
Spider LSV ~200citation needed
Direct Fire Weapons ~400,000citation needed
SAR 21 ~150,000citation needed
SAR-21 Grenade Launcher ~?
M16S1 local variant of M16A1 produced under license ~200,00022
CAR-15 Carbine version of the M-16 ~5,00022
M203 grenade launcher ~20,000citation needed
Ultimax 100 ~20,000citation needed
FN MAG 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun ~10,000citation needed
CIS 12.7 mm HMG ~3,000citation needed
Sig-Sauer P226 9 mm Pistol ~?
H&K MP-5N 9 mm SMG ~2,000
FN P90 5.7 mm SMG ~500
FN Five-seven 5.7 mm Pistol ~500citation 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

See also


  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. ^ "The 3rd Generation SAF". MINDEF. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Armour
  12. ^ Artillery
  13. ^
  14. ^ See also, and Huxley, Defending the Lion City, 2000, p.123-6
  15. ^ Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p.124.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "The Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank: More Bite and Firepower for Our Armour". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "SIPRI arms transfer database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Updated on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "105mm LG1 MkII – Contracts, Orders & Sales". Deagel.Com. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  20. ^ Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  21. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (2010). The Military Balance 2010. United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-85743-557-3. 
  22. ^ 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

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