Wednesday, December 4, 2013



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RSS STEADFAST  of the Navy of Singapore (Photo by U.S. Navy)

SINGAPORE a nation consisting of a single city on the South China Sea operates surface warfare ships , submarines, and has a small naval air arm. The Republic of Singapore Navy has a common origin with the Royal Malaysian Navy in the years leading up to World War II. The Straits Settlements Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was established on 20 April 1934 and in 1941 became the Singaporean division of the Malayan Volunteer Reserve during World War II.
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RSS CHALLENGER of the Navy of Singapore, Photo by Peter Nilsson


"In 1948, the Malayan Force was raised by the Singapore government and was later granted the title of the Royal Malayan Navy in 1952 in recognition of its services in action during the Malayan Emergency.

On 16 September 1963, Singapore was admitted as a state of Malaysia under the terms of confederation and the Royal Malayan Navy was renamed the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The Singapore division of the Malayan Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was formally transferred from the command of the Royal Navy to the RMN on 22 September 1963, becoming the Singapore Volunteer Force (SVF).

On 9 August 1965, Singapore seceded from Malaysia to form an independent and sovereign nation within the Commonwealth of Nations."

Singapore, a hub port for the global shipping container system began to undertake the unusual and expensive task of building the remnant volunteer force consisting of two wooden ships into a modern small navy in 1967. The resulting fleet, bases, air arm and personnel became the Republic of Singapore Navy officially on April 1, 1975. This small navy guards the sea approaches and off shore territories of the Republic of Singapore. The city state could have avoided this tremendous expense and demanded the protection of larger states dependent on the use of their hub port for sea borne commerce but chose instead to provide the service themselves. In an era of rising Chinese naval aggression and shrinking Western naval budgets this turned out to be a wise decision. Today the Republic of Singapore Navy consist of the following modern and heavily armed fleet:

6 Frigates
6 Corvette
12 Patrol Vessels
4 Amphibious warfare ships
2 Submarines
4 Mine Sweepers
1 Support Ship

All total the republic of Singapore operates 34 manned and ready war ships and one auxiliary, a formidable fleet in the narrow waters leading into this crucial port for global commerce. 

 In addition to its Navy Singapore also fields a "Police Coast Guard" as a special branch of the Singapore Municipal Police . It has roughly 1,000 members in uniform.

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A  Singapore Police Coast Guard  vessel, Photo by "Glueball" Released under  Creative Commons license

The Singapore Police Coast Guard operates about 120 vessels ranging in length from about  35 meters (about 114 feet) down to about 3.5 meters  (roughly 12 feet). The officers are armed with typical police firearms both pistols and rifles and some of the patrol vessels can mount belt fed machine guns and even small naval cannon.

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Singapore Police Patrol Boat, Photo by  Huaiwei,  Wikimedia Commons
Singapore's military strength is truly formidable and competent. In the early stages of the formation of the armed forces of the Republic of Singapore the nation sought out Israeli advisers. Think about it, Israel is a small nation surrounded by many deadly enemies. There are definite limits to Israel's ability to arm itself.  Since 1948 Israel has been forced to develop quality in their military forces, they are forever out numbered. The Parallels with Singapore were not lost on the Singapore founding fathers. Over the years Singapore has not only evolved a superb ability to defend itself, but has also been able to project power in concert with other Common Wealth nations. Many military analysts rate Singapore, despite its small geographic size and population as an important middle power. In terms of coordinating regional security operations in an emergency the fact that English is an official language facilitates coordination with other Commonwealth nations. Between the forces of Singapore and Malaysia the South China Sea is anchored by serious responsible naval/military power. The navigation interests of the West and all peaceful seafaring nations are well served by the very professional naval forces of the region, saving Western Navies vast expenses, and preserving the local populations from living under the shadow of the major nations with vital interests in the area. Below is a link to a video showing some of the highlights of the Republic of Singapore Navy during 2012-2013.

SPF Elite Unit: Special Task Squadron: 

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