The best strategy to defending Singapore Island


Super Moderator
Staff member
...the infamous Russian hand puppet commissar has made a video on a hypothetical Malaysia vs. Singapore.
1. This Binkov's Battlegrounds video:

(i) wrongly assumes that both causeways will be blown up without being rebuilt (the Woodlands Causeway, pipes in raw water from Johor) and the Singapore Army can easily cross the Strait of Johor — with its Terrex ICVs and the MG3s joined as rafts to carry MBTs;​
(ii) illogically assumes Singapore will take a week1 to establish a forward defence sector in the west of Johor — Binkov's Battlegrounds basic battle geometry is wrong. Singapore’s forward defence forces have to secure the causeway (plus the water catchment area in Johor and pump stations) and then flow forces to other ancillary lines of effort;​

(iii) disrespectfully and without basis assumes that the Singapore Army’s forward defence divisions, namely, the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 21st (AOR) and 25th (AOR) divisions are incompetent;​

(iv) grossly underestimates the SAF’s demonstrated amphibious capability at Ex Trident; plus RSN’s fleet of Fast Craft Equipment & Personnel (FCEP) and Fast Craft Utility (FCU) can easily fight across and ford the Singapore Straits.​
The 27m x 6.8m FCU can carry up to 30 tons (a Hunter IFV or a Bionix II) and the 43m x 6.8m FCU can carry up to 75 tons (a Leopard 2 SG);​
(v) conveniently and without basis assumes that Singapore’s 21st Division, supported by 3 squadrons of troop lift helicopters (32 Super Pumas and 15 CH-47Ds/CH-47SDs) and four 7,600 ton Endurance Class LPDs (each carrying ten 13m FCEPs, four 27m FCUs and FBS sections) are tactically incompetent — Binkov's Battlegrounds illogically assumes that the SAF’s heliborne operations would insert Guardsmen less than 18km into the enemy’s depth (when it has confirmed that the SAF is capable of deep battle*2). A heliborne brigade can be inserted into LZs that are over 200km from the forward edge of the battlefield;​

(vi) strangely and without basis assumes that the Malaysian Army will be given time to send reinforcements, a month after fighting has commenced or that a stalemate can occur in Johor (as Binkov's Battlegrounds does not understand the SAF’s actual mobilisation speed or its force structure designed for regional overmatch); and​

(vii) ignores the strategic value of the SAF holding at risk all three northwards axis of advance, via a “thunder run”, as a phase 2 plan after an initial forward defence sector is established. The essence of a 357km “thunder run” is the intent to deal a psychological blow to the defenders of Putrajaya and to avoid a prolonged fight in Johor. To do this, Singapore’s Leopard 2SG and Hunter/Bionix armoured battalions, attacking as Singapore Armoured Brigades, namely, the 4th, 8th, 54th or 56th SABs (tasked as necessary), would target strategic objectives instead of street-to-street fighting.​
*1 On 14 Jan 2003, the tabloid providing a dramatization of Dr. Tim Huxley's book "Defending the Lion City", has the following war scenario, as wild imaginings of The Malay Mail writers:

"It's 4am. The early morning calm is suddenly shattered by the deafening screams of low-flying jets. Seconds later, Kuantan air base is rocked by multiple explosions, followed by "secondaries" as Malaysia's air assets in aircraft shelters and revetments are obliterated. Klaxons blaring, pilots are scrambled to whichever aircraft that are still air-worthy, but it's useless. The runways had been cratered. In the ensuing confusion, reports start streaming in. It seems that this is not an isolated case. Butterworth checks in and reports that its entire complement of F/A-18D Hornets are now smoking, twisted hulks out on the tarmac.
And the entire Third Division which has overall command over Johor and Malacca had also been annihilated.The National Power Grid had not been spared, plunging the entire country in darkness, adding to the chaos and confusion. Reports also indicated that the Ministry of Defence building in Jalan Padang Tembak, Kuala Lumpur, had been hit by at least six GBU-31 1,000-pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions). Even the KLCC had been struck with such ferocity that only the Maxis Tower was left standing. On Bukit Nanas, only a blackened stump is left of what used to be the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Down in Johor and Malacca, the situation is much worse. A torrent of armoured vehicles, including tanks, are hogging all the roads linking Johor Baru to Muar and Kota Tinggi, disgorging armed soldiers who took over all the towns.
Senai airport, captured in a pre-dawn attack was being used by the helicopters and planes taking part in the on-going offensive. On the North-South Expressway, main battle tanks and armoured fighting vehicles together with towed artillery with fighter jets and attack helicopters providing close support were going north, destination unknown. Reports of troops landing from helicopters were coming in from all over Johor, from Mersing to Muar. By noon, Johoreans find themselves under Singapore military rule."
*2 Teo Chee Hean, speaking in 2008 as the then Minister of Defence said:
“...This exercise confirms the SAF's capability to have comprehensive awareness and precision strike on multiple targets.... This is done by integrating a network of sensors and shooters.... What this means is that the SAF division now has the capability to see first and to strike first well into the division's depths and that means that the division is able to influence the battle well into the depth.”

2. With 7 facts, assumptions and strategic thinking, wrong, it is hard for the analysis by Binkov's Battlegrounds to be seen as credible.
It seems really unrealistic and overly simplistic.
3. I agree and I think the scenario drawn by Binkov's Battlegrounds lacks respect for the Malaysians. The Malaysian Army has motorised divisions (eg. operates 48 PT-91Ms, 211 ACV 300s, and 257 AV-8s) and is capable of Network Centric Operations. The Malaysian 3rd Division and the 10th Parachute Brigade, as the first to fight, would want to engage the SAF in motti or pocket battles, by using terrain and strong points keep Singaporean troops headed north, road bound and cut them off into isolated pockets from logistic support and mutual support.

4. Using a decision-making model based on PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal) analysis, AHP (Analytical Hierarchical Process), and game theory, it would be clear that the video is unrealistic and overly simplistic.

5. The Malaysians are capable of conducting their own game theory analysis to determine the weaknesses of Singapore’s forward defence strategy. Their plan is to use terrain to select motti battles to trade space for time — plus using their divisional reserves and their 6 ASTROS II artillery batteries, judiciously — to prolong the dispute/fighting. We must assume that the Malaysians are tactically competent and not act in an illogical manner. I believe that the Malaysians will not disregard their own PESTEL and AHP models (as suggested the scenario set in Binkov's Battlegrounds) as it is against their interest.
The comments are, well, YouTube comments. But if I'm wrong in my judgment, do let me know and why!
6. I was initially tempted to explain what was wrong with the war plans illustrated in this Binkov's Battlegrounds video but realised that such explanation at that level of detail will lead to numerous disputes within this thread. It is better choose the more simple route. In my first point, I chose to explain what is wrong by pointing out the 7 mistaken facts, assumptions and strategic thinking rather than detail what is wrong with his proposed war outcome.

7. I trust my debunking of some the assumptions is a useful thinking aid to help you construct your arguments against the silly scenario set in Binkov's Battlegrounds. I will be interested to hear what you think.
Last edited:


Active Member
FWIW, I enjoyed reading your post!

I noticed several flaws in the video's premise myself.

1. Binkov doesn't seem to understand the construction and modification of roadways into ad-hoc airstrips in Singapore. He seems to be assuming that the RSAF's landing strips will be quickly neutralized and that those formal airbases are the only ones Singapore could ever use.

2. The video assumes that the infantry on both sides are equally skilled, trained, and equipped. In addition, that they fight in the same manner. I question that assumption, since it is well known that the SAF relies on technology as a force multiplier.

3. The RSN plays a relatively minor role in the ground conflict compared to the Army and RSAF. I would think that the RSN adds to the SAM network protecting Singapore and can add naval gunfire support. In addition, I noticed that the video chose to omit the Independence and Invincible classes, which would add even more teeth to the RSN.

4. I am in agreement with you about how flawed the video believes the SAF's amphibious capability is. It was absolutely nonsensical how the video portrayed that capability as limited.

5. The Malaysian armour was particularly neglected. I was surprised by the fact that the only mention of them was really as improvised artillery. While T-72 derivatives are considered "less capable" than a modernized Leopard 2A4, I still wouldn't want to be the infantryman coming up against them.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 1 of 2: What others wrote on defending the Lion City

@CheeZe, thank you for raising 5 flaws in the Binkov's Battlegrounds video premise. Given 0bserver’s responses in the prior page, let me raise some points, a few of which I previously shared in another 2014 thread for context:

1. The SAF is not called the Singapore Defence Forces — because other than 2PDF — all other army divisions are forward deployment forces. This is why the SAF's mission in furtherance of Singapore's forward defence posture is as follows:-

"To enhance Singapore's peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, and should these fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor."​
2. I see Singapore's current defence strategy as developing escalation options and a certain level of resilience to attack — where the SAF can take an attack, defend against it and conduct a rapid counter offensive. If a US or a PLA general was asked to defend Singapore, within Singapore, the hypothetical general may tell you that such a plan is foolish or that it cannot be done effectively. Hence the need to take the fight outside of Singapore (also called a pre- emptive strike), as a defender confined to only within Singapore is at a tactical disadvantage.

3. In geographic terms, the defence of Malaysia-Singapore is indivisible. If a hostile aggressor invades West Malaysia, the SAF cannot stand idle, and Singapore will be drawn into the conflict. Further, West Malaysia is a peninsular with a limited width in the frontage, hence the terrain is only suitable for the deployment of a division+ or at max 2 divisions. There are items to clarify, as follows:-

One, the SAF's ability to respond within hours and with decisive force on an act of aggression pre-disposes a regional challenge geared towards either an asymmetric or non-state action;​
Two, I am also of the view that it is very unlikely that Malaysia would attack Singapore or cross any of the 3 redlines — as such acts are unambiguous acts of war — these are acts for which the SAF will punish — which would have negative consequences for Malaysia; and​
Three, other powers, much more powerful than Singapore may intervene in coalition with the SAF to remove the threat to a key port that serves the Indo-Pacific region.​
4. Insights from a NBR Analysis (Vo. 14, No. 2, Aug 2003) titled: "Theater Security Cooperation in the U.S. Pacific Command: An Assessment and Projection" by Sheldon W. Simon, from over 17 years ago, reinforce some of the core issues discussed here. As the Americans noted in this report, Singapore believes defense is our own responsibility. While the SAF desires inter-operability with other forces it is also designed to operate on it's own, if need be. I quote a small section of what he wrote and in particular, what he said about Singapore:

"Of America’s three closest Southeast Asian security partners... only Singapore’s armed forces are sufficiently technologically proficient to interact with U.S. forces in a manner comparable to Japan, the ROK, and Australia...​
Singapore’s defense concerns focus entirely on its own neighborhood... Singapore is the only Southeast Asian military to have an active rapid deployment force, which operates in an integrated manner with the navy and air force...​
While the city-state prefers U.S. defense technology because of its superiority and logistical advantages, Singapore also maintains a complex system of licensed production, assembly, and technology agreements with Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Thailand, Sweden, and Taiwan...​
The United States has solidified its security ties to Singapore with a logistics facility, which provides a surge capacity during crises... Moreover, the new Changi Naval Base, with its deep-water capability, permits the berthing of U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. Despite these close ties, Singapore is not completely satisfied with its U.S. defense relationship. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) desires full technology release on all systems it purchases. That is, Singapore wishes to have the right to modify U.S. technology to fit its own needs...​
At bottom, Singapore believes defense to be essentially its own responsibility. What it wants from the United States, therefore, is increased technology transfer to enhance its independent military capability...​
...although some anti-piracy cooperation occurs among the littoral states, obstacles remain... This is a particular problem when pirates flee into Indonesian waters among that country’s thousands of islands..."​

5. With the induction of the Terrex (2009) and Belrex (2016), the SAF has progressively become more mechanized.

6. Singapore's training standards, especially for its Army Deployment Force, is intense and high. The SAF is hard to fight against because it proficient in integrating and using the technology acquired to optimise its platforms within its force structure.

7. Over the last 2 decades, the Singapore Army has changed the way and methods it uses for training. In Dec 2004, Chief of Army witnessed the symbolic handover of the sub-units of 1 PDF to TRADOC and other divisions — the Command HQ of 1 PDF was closed. Given the declining birth rate the solution is to improve the capability of the Army by opening the Force Preparation Centre (FPC), under the Peace Support Operations Development Group (PSO-DG) to better train and support troops deployed abroad. For lessons:
(i) affecting current operations in support of CTF-151 or in Iraq (or past operations in Afghanistan), PSO-DG collaborates with partners to review, refine and develop new Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), to ensure that feedback from troops in-theatre are kept updated for the next batch being deployed; and​
(ii) relevant for the Singapore Army, TRADOC becomes involved. An example of this type of change, has been the Army wide change in the way our soldiers are trained for urban warfare.​

9. In the book, ‘Defending the Lion City’, Dr. Tim Huxley chronicles the evolution of Singapore's strategy. In the early years, Singapore used the analogy of a 'poisonous shrimp' (small but indigestible by predators) to define its military strategy. The idea was that any aggressor would find that the costs of attempting to invade and occupy Singapore outweighed any conceivable benefits. By the 1990s, the emphasis it grew from a 'poisonous shrimp' to enabling the SAF to achieve a 'swift and decisive victory' over aggressors. This was because the 'poisonous shrimp' strategy was deficient in that it merely offered Singapore a choice of 'suicide or surrender'. According to Dr. Tim Huxley:

"the key to understanding Singapore's strategy, is that the SAF's clear capability to inflict severe damage on Malaysia (by implication creating serious political and economic repercussions for Singapore) is not intended to be used. The capability is a deterrent...”​

10. The last amphibious assault that is relevant to Singapore’s force modernisation efforts is Operation Sutton (21–25 May 1982), where the Royal Navy (RN) was required to conduct a landing without air superiority (except for certain window periods with only 28 Sea Harriers and 14 Harrier GR3s); resulting in significant shipping losses to air attacks.
(i) Establishing the Beach Support Area (BSA) took longer than expected because after the first air attack at San Carlos, stores ships were withdrawn with only those unloading allowed in the area. The enemy action had an effect on the build up in a way that was simply not envisaged. These delays meant RN vessels had to endure more punishment in Bomb Alley.​
(ii) The inability to build up the BSA at speed had a real impact on losses — a lack of palletisation and poor-quality packing materials created many needless delays. The Argentine air attacks proved devastating. In May 1982 the air attacks sank 2 destroyers, 2 frigates, a landing ship, and the Atlantic Conveyor. Nine other ships would have been lost had the bombs that hit them detonated.​
(iv) In addition to the air attacks on British fleet, the Argentine air force attacked the beach head which was defended by Rapier surface to air missiles. The Rapiers were also intended to protect the British naval ships around San Carlos. Once ashore, three Skyhawks dropped twelve bombs on the brigade maintenance area, killing six men, wounding twenty-seven, and starting a major fire in 45 Commando’s heavy weapons ammunition dump. Brigadier Thompson visited the area, profoundly alarmed. The entire brigade’s operations had been planned on the assumption of keeping its logistics afloat. The [Argentine’s] air assault had forced them to instead to create huge dumps [on land] at Ajax Bay.​
(v) Unsurprisingly, many of the  amphibious and logistics  issues faced by the RN in 1982 remain as valuable lessons learnt for the SAF.​
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 2 of 2: Thinking about gaps in this analysis

11. Beyond acquiring the best in class military platforms with appropriate technology inserts for a war fighting edge, like:

(i) placing an order for the American designed STOVL Lockheed Martin F-35B (equipped with a Helmet Mounted Display made by a JV between Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins Vision Systems to fully utilise the Distributed Aperture System in the F-35). A STOVL capability ensures sustained sortie generation in the event of attacks on Singapore's airbases. STOVL aircraft can be dispersed, hidden and can use alternate runways when an airbase is made unavailable;​
(ii) choosing the French designed H225M medium lift helicopter from Airbus Helicopters (equipped with the Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted display to reduce pilot workload) to replace its fleet of Super Pumas. Figures released by Airbus Helicopters in Jan 2017 indicate that Singapore has placed an initial order of 16 H225Ms (with deliveries starting in 2020);​
(iii) specifying Israeli designed ELK-1891 Ku-band SATCOM from IAI/ELTA and the All-in-Small aircraft self-protection system from Ebit Systems for Singapore’s 16 brand new CH-47F Chinooks made by Boeing (to be acquired by direct commercial sale from the US) and it’s 20 upgraded AH-64D Saraf Apaches. Under the US$103 million contract, Elbit Systems will fit the customer’s helicopters with complete EW suites, including countermeasure systems. Elbit says the EW suites will provide the helicopters with advanced protection to achieve the customer’s operational requirements;​
(iv) integrating the ELTA ELM-2311-based Safari Weapon Locating Radar on the Bronco, giving the SAF’s forward defence divisions a CRAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar) capability. Details SAFARI’s performance was not revealed. However, the performance should be an improvement on the Swedish ARTHUR WLR that was deployed by the SAF in 2009 to provide force protection for ISAF personnel in Tarin Kowt; with a 100% detection rate over its 15 month long deployment in Afghanistan. The ARTHUR WLR has a detection range of up 60 km and can be brought into action with 5 minutes by a crew of 11 men;
(v) working with Airbus to achieve fully automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) operation on its 6 newly acquired A330MRTTs. The A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator workload, improve safety and optimise the rate of air-to air refuelling transfer in operational conditions. It was announced during the Singapore Airshow 2020 that the Singapore will provide a A330 MRTT tanker take part in the ongoing development, flight test campaign and final certification program, with it being the first customer to sign up to the A3R program; and​
(vi) customising the four 2,200 ton TKMS Type 218SGs from Germany to SUBSAFE, MIL-STD-882E and local requirements. DSTA’s Integrated Programme Management Team (IPMT) based in Germany adopted a safety framework that incorporates the Naval Sea System Command SUBSAFE programme and MIL-STD-882E. These submarines have the option to employ the Callisto B submarine communication system, the FL1800U electronic warfare system and the TAU 2000 torpedo countermeasures system — with four launch containers, each with up to ten discharge tubes,​

the SAF is also an adaptive and learning organisation.

12. Recognising that the face of the likely battlefield has changed, the country is building a new SAFTI city (scheduled to open progressively from 2023). SAFTI City will have simulated battlefield effects and interactive targets — where a soldier's reactions can be tested in various scenarios. It could include attacks from enemy artillery strikes or snipers. Battlefield instrumentation, video cameras will track exercise troops’ performance in real time. And how they perform, whether individually or as a unit will allow them through after action review to learn from their mistakes. SAFTI City’s layout can be pre-configured so that the right lessons are learnt by the exercise troops.

13. Further, there five things to note about preparing for forward defence, that I am sure you are aware of:-
(i) the most dangerous war may not be the most likely (the chance of occurrence of an event be it 0.1%, 1% or higher). I expect that any attack on Singapore will start with a deniable action — similar to the torpedo attack on ROKS Cheonan occurred on 26 March 2010;​
(ii) you can only fight where your logistics reach; and the reach where it matters is the last mile. More important than the front-line fighting vehicles, the progressive upgrading and customisation of SAF's logistics vehicle fleet holds important clues of actual defence science and operational capability — including the weight, space and power reserves on the platform to add the SAF’s selected APS system (choice made in 2011) — the use of DSO’s locally developed transparent armour (at a materials science level) in the windows and windshield to provide multi-hit resistance capability;​
(iii) there may be little room for ground maneuver with certain terrain features in an AO that must be captured; and once a SAF unit is deployed within an urban area, to achieve specific national objectives, it is stuck there until resupply or relief in place arrives;​
(iv) just because the SAF wants to meet in decisive battle does not mean that the enemy will do so; and​
(v) just because Singapore wants to stop the war (and declare mission accomplished, after a 'swift and decisive victory'), it does not mean that the enemy will stop fighting because the enemy gets a vote.​

14. Having been dealt a geo-strategically disadvantaged hand at the country's formation on 9 August 1965 in the mist of tension with its ambitious neighbours, Singapore has to build military capabilities that it needs, first, and that has been the country's singular focus since August 1967, when the law for universal conscription of male citizens was passed.

15. As Lee Kuan Yew once said, a small country like Singapore seeks a maximum number of friends, while maintaining the freedom to be itself as a sovereign and independent nation. Both parts of the equation – a maximum number of friends and freedom to be act — are equally important and inter-related.
Last edited:


Please excuse my intrusion into this thread, but I really need some input.

I have for the last 40 years buildt a defence force in H0 Scale establishing a defence force that, presumably, would function in real life. To see what this is about, please check Midtguardia Defence Forces in Military Models. The thing is, I am currently establishing the recon Batallion of the Midtguardian 1. division and I am a little bit at a loss as to how to organize this.

Looking through this thread it seems that the Singapore Armed Forces are very much comparable to that of the Midtguardian, although Midtguardia seems to have about half the military Power of SAF, but somewhat more Space to fight.

The question is how to organize and equip the recon BN. It would serve the 1. division With about 12.000 personell organized as 8 infantry BN's, an armoured BN, air-defence, arty, engineer, transport, signals, maintenance and some smaller units.

The current organization is 8 Luchs armoured recon cars, 8 M41 Walker Bulldog light tanks With ground radar and Three UAVs of indeginous design.

There are some recon Resources specifically tied to Div HQ (Fox armoured cars), some specifically tied to engineer BN (Fennecks used for engineer recon) and some With the MP BN (route recon). There is a recon liasson unit at Div HQ that ties in With 2. div Military Intelligence BN, the CIPC ( Central Intelligence Proscessing Centre, and air-force recon With RF4G recion jets. There are also an IADS system With four AN/TPS-74 search radars and AN/TPQ 36 and 37 fire finding radars.

Finally there is a fully fledged combat recon squadron in the 2. div. armoured Brigade With 9 IVIS M1A2 MBTs and 12 Fennecks With UAVs, but this is outside the 1. division organization.

How is this organized in the SAF? Any suggestions?

Lone Ranger

If not mistaken, SAF used to have Armoured Recce battalion at the Divisional level. However with its 3G evolution, Armoured Recce battalion was dropped in favor of a new "C4I" unit and this was implemented across higher echelon HQ, ie all Brigade and Divisional HQs. The information on this is fluid but it is suspected to have at least 2 different setups, and within each there might be minor differences among them.

In general, most of them are make up of a HQ coy with 4 operation coys, namely Signal/C4 coy, SATCom coy, RSTA coy and a Tactical UAV coy.

You might want to check out this facebook link for their first evaluation. (Many lessons were learned after this :) )
Last edited:


In general, most of them are make up of a HQ coy with 4 operation coys, namely Signal/C4 coy, SATCom coy, RSTA coy and a Tactical UAV coy.

You might want to check out this facebook link for their first evaluation. (Many lessons were learned after this :) )
The Midtguardian 1. division has a dedicated signals BN which Connects the various BN's to Div HQ and other batallions through the Ptarmigan II MSE com system that also provides Satcom. As far as I understand there is no need for Signals coy in the Recon BN as this service is provided by the Signals BN.

There would have to be a BN HQ of coarse to task the BNs recon Resources in coherence With Div HQ requirements, but I don't beleive its necessary to Field a dedicated Signals coy, although there will be signals BN units present in the Recon BN HQ.

As far as I can understand, the Recon BNs missions would mainly be to establish visuial contact With the enemy, keep up this contact and report enemy movements to BN HQ while avoiding skirmishing as far as possible. I also foresee the need to quickly approach specific locations during an advance in front of own forces to occupy special positions in advance, and in defence/retreat to stay in Visual contact With enemy forces and report on these.

There is also the need to establish the specifics of enemy deployment before engaging own forces in an attack.

I am thinking on the lines of two 12 vehicle strong recon coys with drone equipped Fenneck armoured recon vehicles, as well as a foreward recon HQ. Does this sound sensible? For your information, 2. div SpecOps has two long range recon teams that may be used when availiable.

What does RSTA mean?


Active Member
RSTA - Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition

Bear in mind that, in a modern battlefield, a Signals coy does more than just connect the various parts of a division. Signals personnel can detect the location of opposing transmissions, intercept them, decode or relay the transmissions' content onwards, scramble them, or use them to predict enemy actions.

My cousin spent his NS in Signals (I forget which camp) and he said that was what he did most days. Track signals from a bunch of different sources and practice on them. I'm sure he did more, but we don't talk much about his NS. He did tell me that there was a building for the super hush-hush stuff and only regulars were allowed in there. So, I would say that a Signals coy in the RSTA role is invaluable since it allows the SAF to intercept enemy signals and give forewarning to the main forces. That sort of capability is not something a section or a platoon can properly juggle. Ideally, you want at least a couple sections on each task so that the operators can rotate and compare notes.

The SAF's doctrine is for a connected battlefield. The moment something is discovered, that information is present on the whole network down to the section level. Visual contact does not have to be achieved by the RSTA or Signals elements. As Lone Ranger mentioned, there is a Tactical UAV coy that can achieve this. In this manner, you can have up to three corroborating reports of enemy activity.

I cannot speak to your hypothetical military's doctrine, organization, or equipment choice. All I can say is that information for the SAF can come from outside the divisional structure as well. For example, Guards or Commando forces may relay information to the information network. Or RSAF units may report something. Maybe the RSN spotted something. Maybe 2PDF received some intelligence and is passing it along. Information is key because if you can get inside the opponents' chain of relaying, receiving, processing, and acting on intelligence (there's a specific phrase for this, which I have forgotten), then you can act before your opponent can respond effectively. For example, the German invasion of France in 1940 was so swift that the French command system was unable to respond fast enough to the German assaults. The SAF desires the same capability - to be able to act fast enough that the opponent is blind-sided. Signals, RSTA, etc. are all different pieces on the chessboard which are meant to work in unison with chess pieces from every other Singaporean chess piece, not independently or within the limits of their "unit".


Super Moderator
Staff member
Role of the C4I battalions and small state diplomacy

1. As Lone Ranger explained, each RSTA company in the C4I battalions (eg. 10C4I or 11C41 battalions), typically heli-inserted with their vehicles, function as medium range recce patrols (formerly called the brigade recce company) to feed organic information to the brigade HQs to formulate their detailed attack/movement plans.

2. These C4I battalions allow for enhanced training and operational effectiveness as there is now dedicated attention devoted to the Signal and RSTA companies in terms of training, sustenance and development. 17C4I in particular has a special peace time relationship with HQ3 Division in that:
(i) it’s Trunk Communications Company, Command Communications Company, Command Systems Communications Company and other NS elements form the 3rd Signal Battalion; and​
(ii) it’s Fusion Company reports to G2 3rd Division and it’s teams are assigned to 3rd Division’s intelligence centre and to all intelligence cells of each brigade in of the 3rd Division. Many of the cadre of these information fusion and imagery analysis cells were deployed:​
(a) to Oruzgan, Afghanistan in support of ISAF from 2010 to 2013; or​
(b) to the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters in Kuwait or Iraq in support of defeat ISIS coalition since Sep 2015, including 68 who worked alongside partner contingents from Australia, New Zealand and the UK to train 4,500 Iraqi troops in counter-terrorism.​

3. The recce troopers in the RSTA company of a C4I battalion, are performing medium range recce patrols (MRRPs). Conceptually, MRRPs are different in their roles and capabilities from the Commandos (who are at least parachute qualified and also trained to be small boat inserted), who function as LRRPs.

4. See this 2013 thread: How does Singapore's Special Forces compare with the other Special Forces in S.E.Asia. The employment and role of LRRPs is well known since the Vietnam war and the information posted is from declassified sources. Whereas, the SAF’s actual signals and signals intelligence capabilities remains a dark art (most of which is not declassified). Hence, I am not keen share secret edge details (even from as far back as the 1980s) with Bozoo2 due to security concerns.
CheeZe said:
(there's a specific phrase for this, which I have forgotten)
5. @CheeZe, it is called the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act). OODA is a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision before the enemy can do the same.

6. See also the Weak state diplomacy thread for the difference between a small state (eg. Laos) and a micro-state. A micro-state is country, small in land size, with a population of less than 1.5 m, located in a developing region (eg. Brunei and Timor Leste). Singapore does not fit the definition of a micro-state nor does it have the armed forces a typical small state, like Laos (ie. it has the hard power of a rising power). In the real world, a weak state gets to maneuver from a weak position into another weaker position. The weaker a state is, the more likely continued escalation becomes the choosing of its enemies — typically, a weak state has a slow OODA loop and the enemy is able to operate inside its OODA loop.

7. Be careful when you read articles where Singaporeans or Singapore politicians describe Singapore as small and weak relative to other powers — given Singapore’s 40 F-15SGs and 60 F-16Vs that are able to operate an integrated manner. The key operative word is 'relative' (as Singapore's leaders consistently understate the SAF's actual military capabilities).

8. Save for Singapore, no other ASEAN Army is as networked or as capable as the SAF in the conduct high tempo combined arms operations against aggressors with the required power projection capability for forward defence. This is because the OODA loop for high tempo wars, with associated main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery and multiple rocket systems, are orders of magnitude more difficult than dealing with a local insurgency. Singapore's forward defence places an emphasis on a short OODA loop with a joint operations perspective. This means the SAF is able to conduct rapid manoeuvre warfare in the near abroad, in a synchronised manner while utilising its air and naval power to destroy or disrupt enemy C4I, lines of communications, logistics; and attack enemy operational reserves.
Last edited:

Lone Ranger

As far as I can understand, the Recon BNs missions would mainly be to establish visuial contact With the enemy, keep up this contact and report enemy movements to BN HQ while avoiding skirmishing as far as possible. I also foresee the need to quickly approach specific locations during an advance in front of own forces to occupy special positions in advance, and in defence/retreat to stay in Visual contact With enemy forces and report on these.
SAF has drop this Ops Concept post 2000 with the transition into 3rd Generation (networked) SAF. Now with the Networked SAF, most of the front line Armoured and Infantry units are able to perform these tasks and making Armoured Recon unit redundant. For example, all front line units (down to section and platoon level) are networked and able to provide live update through the Army Battlefield Internet (ABI) network, within each unit there is also a dedicated recon platoon that operates a mini UAV (skyblade III) that provides aerial recon surveillance. This "eye in the sky" lets the scout troopers get up close with the enemy from a safe distance.

While in the upper echelon, Tactical UAV coy, from the C4I unit, operates skyblade IV that can fly at up to 15,000 feet and out to a range of 100 km with an endurance between 6 and 12 hours. (It does not needs a runway and can both launch and recover out in the field.) This creates a persistence, deep surveillance at the immediate battle front for both Brigade and Battalions under its command.

With the Tactical UAV coy covering the air surveillance, RSTA coy provides close surveillance in area not possible for regular units to be deployed. As mentioned by OPSSG, they cover the medium range recce patrols.

As CheeZe covers quite a fair bits on the Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), I will just briefly touch on the C4 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computers) aspect. With the advance in technology, SAF had explored and implemented the concept of "Distributed" and "Command post Anywhere" to enhance CP's survivability. This is where the expertise of Signal/C4 coy comes in.

In the fast changing battlefield, information will become irrelevant very quickly. With the integration of both Recon and Signal elements, information can be made sense and disseminated double quick time for action.


CheeZe, OPSSG and Lone Ranger; thanks for the input guys.

The reason why the Recon BN is the last of the divsional batallions to be set up is of coarse that this is the most difficult to grasp.

The MDF has two main maneuvre units, the 1. Division, a full blown combat division of ca 12.000 troops, and the Armoured Brigade belonging to the 2. division. While the Armoured Brigade (of about 160 M1A2 Abrahms MBTs and a total of 800 vehicles) and their recon capabilities With a dedicated recon BN sporting IVIS (Inter Vehicular Information System) equipped M1s and drone equipped Fennecks feeding information to the Brigade Intelligence officer (S2) and his staff at Brigade HQ, is well understood, the intelligence loop in the division is much more difficult to come to terms With.

While the Armoured Brigade is a purely offensive unit, the 1. division must perform both offensive and defensive operations. This, as well as the fact that the division is about 5 times as big as the brigade, makes this a very difficult task to understand and therefore also to construct the system and equip the actual units.

A comment to you, CheeZe, the Midtguardian Defence Forces are not a purely hypothetical construct, but is represented completely in the H0 scale With more than 3000 models including Aircraft and ships in the exact scale.

If I understand you correctly, the SAF has gathered signals and recon (as well as command?) BNs into two BNs where signals and recon operate together. The two C4I BNs of the SAF seems to function as mini HQs or large foreward CPs With recon and SIGINT/ELINT units up front.

Is this really advisable? As I understand it, the intelligence cycle consists of collation, dessemination, analysis and distribution, a number of these functions receiving information from higher echelon intelligence operators and from other units, requiering a the results to be presented to the relevant Commander in a coherent fashion to avoid information overload and decision paralysis.

In the MDF the collation bit is done by front line troops, but the rest is done well behind the FLOT. Putting the sigint and intel analysis right up where recon units need to be puts the entire intelligence operation at risk. I may have misunderstood this, so that the C4I BNs will be placed well
behind the front line, but then again, why merge signals and recon at the operational Level. This not the least as signals is a major operation With SIGINT and ELINT ops co-ordinating With Military Intelligence as well as air-force recon and intel input from other units. I certainly do not want these information and analysis hubs anywhere near the front line.

Another question is the viability of a battlefield internet system supplying tactical recon information to operational commanders. Is this really viable in a full blown war scenario with the electronic bandwiths allready cramped by all the apparatus applied by modern armed forces even before the enemy start targeting you with jamming. How do you avoid enemy intercepts. I can't imagine direct line of sight microwave links down to platoon or section level. Is it at all possible to maintain OPSEC with an internet based info system. Is the communication based on SINGCAR radios or similar 360 degree broadcasts?


7. Be careful when you read articles where Singaporeans or Singapore politicians describe Singapore as small and weak relative to other powers — given Singapore’s 40 F-15SGs and 60 F-16Vs. The key operative word is 'relative' (as Singapore's leaders consistently understate the SAF's actual military capabilities).
Rest assured, I do not under any circumstance regard the SAF as weak, quite on the contrary, I find the SAF extremely competent both in equipment, tactics and training as far as I can gather. After i started fololowing this thread I have looked into both the geopolitical and the defence situation of Singapore and after studying this more closely (it takes some Reading) I might have some input eventually.

It is quite interesting to see that the SAF is in much the same situation as the MDF as both have very Limited area to maneuver and the MDF has from the very beginning had foreward defence as operational strategy, long before I ever joined this forum. This is the reason for the existence of an armouerd brigade as Midtguardia would launch an armoured strike againts the Capital cities of Our two possible enemies, Norway and Sweden, if attacked. (To see the hsitory and geoploitical situation of Midtguardia, please look to the start of the Midtguardia thread -but be advised, we have since 2003 aquired more land and more inhabitants - 2.100.000 to be exact)


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 1 of 5: Sensor superiority for sea-denial
It is quite interesting to see that the SAF is in much the same situation as the MDF as both have very Limited area to maneuver...
1. Singapore’s strong focus on protecting its SLOCs is demonstrated with its multi-billion Euro bet (at €1.6 billion, inclusive of logistics and training, for the 1st 2 boats) on submarines. Although Singapore is not a claimant in the disputed South China Sea, its survival is entirely dependent on SLOCs. 4 Type 218SG submarines enable 171 squadron to silently observe the activities of pirate havens, monitor developments and enhance Singapore’s ability to:

(i) conduct undetected operations;​
(ii) penetrate adversary defenses;​
(iii) conduct operations exploiting surprise at the time and place of our choosing; and​
(iv) leverage the uncertainty and ambiguity of the undersea.​

These patrols, lasting for weeks, can be done undetected and without provocation — see paragraph 4 (iii), for a notional 21 day on-station patrol.

2. Each Type 218SG boat comes with (1) internal acoustic dampening, (2) anechoic tiles, and (3) a 6-Blade skewback propeller (similar to Type 212A Batch 2) with trailing-edge geometry to reduce its tonal acoustic signature and give it a large cavitation-free margin of operation (the above Twitter pic shows a 7-Blade skewback propeller from batch 1 of the Type 212A). The Type 218SG can stay submerged for about 50% longer than the Archer-class submarines. By improving energy plant output by using 2 MTU 12V4000U83 (up to 1,500 kW each) engines to power the Permasyn permanent magnet propulsion motor with a rated power of 4 MW or more (found on the Type 214), the Type 218SG can move fast and have more power on tap for its sensors. Siemens has introduced a modular design with power extension version of the Permasyn to give it more power than 4MW. The final size and weight are driven by the associated inverters which are integrated in the motor itself. According to Siemens, the concept specifications of the drive have been determined and preliminary development work has begun (for the batch 2, Type 218SGs). In addition:
(i) Modern sonar systems on the Type 218SG offer a number of acoustic antennas and combined signal processing for broadband and narrowband detection and analysis of target noise. While broadband detection is used to obtain an overview of the targets, and narrowband processing for detection of target characteristic frequency lines, produced by vibrations of the propulsion systems on surface ships which are radiated into the water.​
(ii) Narrowband processing is therefore essential for target analysis and classification. Frequency line information can be used to separate targets closely spaced in bearing, e.g. during target crossing situations, which cannot be resolved by the broadband passive sonar information alone. Narrowband passive sonar aims at the detection of characteristic frequency lines emitted by a target vessel. There are two related but different origins for such frequency lines:​
(a) the propulsion systems on board a naval ship; and​
(b) the physical effect of cavitation.​
Depending on the origin, it has to be distinguished between tonals, i.e. discrete frequency lines transmitted directly in the water column, and indirect frequency lines. The latter can only be detected by the application of an algorithm which searches for characteristic modulations of the broadband noise emitted by the ship.​
(iii) In addition, target bearing histories containing frequency line information may be used in the Target Motion Analysis module to infer about target course, speed and range without an own-boat manoeuvre. Therefore, narrowband passive sonar tracking provides an additional valuable source of information and enhances the capabilities of a submarine sonar and combat system.​
(iv) Two modes of operation can be used to analyze sound, namely the LOFAR signal processing which is sensitive for direct frequency lines and the DEMON signal processing which has the capability to detect the indirect frequency lines. The acronym LOFAR stands for LOw Frequency Analysis and Recording, DEMON stands for Detection of Envelope MOdulation on Noise.​
(v) The combat management system that processes all the above sonar data on the ISUS suite is jointly designed by Atlas Electronik and ST Electronics that is capable of launching the SeaSpider Anti-Torpedo-Torpedo (ATT). This ATT, when fully developed provides a hardkill defence system with the aim of destroying or disabling a torpedo by explosive force. Atlas Elektronik says that SeaSpider can be employed by submarines, either from hull-mounted launch tubes, such as those typically used to employ traditional acoustic decoys, or from its torpedo tubes.​

With low self noise, the Type 218SG’s sense-making systems that include locally developed data analytics and decision support engines (related to LOFAR and DEMON signal processing) is amplified.

3. Changing mission profiles and ongoing technological advances have led to a second batch of Type 212A (that may find its way into the Invincible-Class submarines), as follows:
  • Integration of a communications system suitable for use in network-centric warfare scenarios.
  • Installation of integrated German sonar and command weapon and control systems
  • Replacement of the flank array sonar with a superficial lateral antenna
  • Replacement of one periscope by Hensoldt's SERO 400 periscope paired with the OMS 110 non-hull penetrating optronic mast and space allocated to install a modular mast (if required)
  • Integration of a 4 person diver lock-out system and one of the torpedo tubes has been enlarged for special forces equipment.
As an option, I note that Gabler Maschinenbau has developed the TRIPLE-M mast system that can accommodate a VOLANS UAV launcher, an ESM mast or a gun.
4. The Type 218SGs are both diesel electric (i.e. battery and recharging with diesel engines) and FCell System powered. The exposure of a submarine can be quantified by the indiscretion ratio (IR) or the fraction of the time that the submarine spends to spend snorkeling.

(i) An IR of 25% means between 6 hours spent snorkelling each 24-hour day. Whereas an IR of 8% means 1 hour 56 minutes spent snorkelling each 24-hour day.​

Invinciblelaunched 18 Feb 20192021 delivery?Replacing Conqueror
(launched May 1999)
Impeccable2021 launched?2022 delivery?Replacing Chieftain
(launched May 2001)
Illustrious2023 launched?2024 delivery?Replacing Archer
(launched June 2009)
InimitableTBDTBDReplacing Swordsman (launched Oct 2010)
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 2 of 5: Specifying a customised submarine design instead of acquiring a military-off-the-shelf platform

(ii) To minimise the use of CO2 scrubbers, I have not assumed a IR of zero%. Singapore’s submarines have ventilation systems that take the CO2 out of the air, and recirculate it with chemically catalyzed oxygen. The air quality during longer periods of submersion has been studied by Sweden and this study presents results of the air quality parameters during more than one week of continuous submerged operation. The measurements demonstrate that air pollutants typically occur at a low baseline level due to high air exchange rates and efficient air-cleaning. Periodically a submarine in DE mode will come to periscope depth to suck in fresh air and remove the old air. This is for comfort rather than survival.​
(iii) For an idea of an on-station activity cycle, let me give an example. A Type 218SG submarine on a 21-day on station patrol, at over 700km away from Singapore, can present a threat to enemy surface ships for 18 days and covering a distance of over 4,000 km in its on-station patrol (with 3 days provided for transits between Patrol A and Patrol B). In Patrol A, we assume an IR of 2% (or 29 mins per day) for 16 days while conducting this notional Patrol A at a undisclosed speed. After a 3 day transit at 8 to 10 knots, it then conducts a 2 day long Patrol B at an average speed of 5.5 knots with an IR of 8% (or 1 hr 56 mins per day).​
(iv) The time taken to start the 21 day patrol is not factored in the above scenario but I would assume an IR of 25% for all transits to a patrol area. The submarine only slightly is more vulnerable during transit to and from the patrol areas at a speed of 8 to 10 knots. This above example not intended to be fully reflective of the improved capabilities of the Type 218SG, when compared to the Archer class.​

5. For reference, a single-dive distance record for a Type 212A Batch 1 was U32's cross-atlantic trip at 5,185 km (or 2800 nm), in 19.3 days, that involved combat maneuvers along the way (one successful interdiction and one 36-hour evasion). The dive was part of a 31,000 km (or 17,000nm), 6-month overseas deployment of the submarine and a German sub tender.

6. Because of "insufficient automation", the crew of the Challenger class had to be on watch for six hours, with six hours of rest and were initially equipped with a basic bow/hull-mounted sonar, attack and search periscopes, passive intercept systems, and a surface search radar. In contrast, with more automation, the crew of the new Invincible class can be on watch for four hours and rest for eight hours. The new Type 218SG (70 metre long, 2,200 ton boats) come with a holistic sonar fit, including not just bow/hull-mounted sonars but also passive intercept systems, a superficial lateral antenna (to replace the flank array sonar) and towed-array sonars to give a much wider coverage at various ranges and for different depth performances – and includes:
(i) the OMS 150 non-hull penetrating optronic/photonic mast which is more capable than the OMS 110) — To minimize the exposure time of the mast, a Quick Look Round of 360° can be conducted in less than 3 seconds and a full panoramic views in less than 10 seconds which contributes to the situational awareness of the surface operational environment; and​
(ii) hull-mounted launch tubes that contain submerged signal ejectors, decoys or ATTs.​
7. Together with German, Israeli and indigenously-developed systems integrated into the combat suite, the Type 218SG will have enhanced situational awareness and accelerated decision-making support systems, allowing submariners to rapidly orientate themselves, decide on the best course of action, and act. Even surface radar is better, and the submarines will also come with better electronic warfare capabilities that aid their intelligence-gathering missions. German firm PLATH, which builds COMINT and SIGINT equipment, is expanding its product line to include systems for submarines. PLATH’s system can start to work below the surface, but only actually begins to scan and collect information when the boat reaches periscope depth and raises its appropriate antennas, according to Shephard.

8. With 8 torpedo tubes the Type 218SG has room for at least 16 mines, or medium sized UUVs. DSTA will also ensure that maintainability for this class of submarines is taken to the next level by the contractors, including developing the required specialised industrial capacity for first level support for the sonar arrays and the combat management systems that we had input-in during its design.

9. TKMS overcame the lack of space in the Type 218SG by modifying part of the sail fin to become an internal lock for 4 divers (also implemented in the U212A). Besides supporting the covert delivery and extraction process, the submarine has to allocate supporting resources to the Special forces/NDU team, such as accommodation, food, stowage space for equipment, as well as mission planning and control areas. At the same time, the submarine has to maintain sufficient space for its own equipping needs to maintain its core fighting capability. It is difficult to optimise the small conventional submarines to support Special forces/NDU operations while maintaining their core war fighting capability without a substantial increase in the submarines’ size. The torpedo room is designed such that the designated torpedo racks can be removed to allow the fitting of up to 10 additional bunks.

10. The SAF is in the process of evolving and developing its ability to operate in all dimensions of the littorals, including underwater warfare in the littorals that is discussed in this post. The 5 dimensions in the littorals include:
(i) surface warfare by the first flotilla (using the Formidable Class and the future MRCVs);​
(ii) underwater warfare and the deployment of naval special warfare units of the NDU by submarines (and use of UUVs) operated by 171 squadron;​
(iii) landward warfare with both:​
(a) amphibious forces using the Terrex and Belrex (to be launched from the future JMMS that are supported by USVs to be launched by the LMVs); and​
(b) heliborne forces using upgraded AH-64D Saraf Apaches, H225Ms and CH-47Fs;​
(iv) airspace and electromagnetic spectrum warfare over the contested littorals, with Fokker 50 MPAs, F-35Bs, F-15SGs and G550 AEWs; and​
(v) cyber.​

These refinements will give Singapore a wider range of integrated use of force options and provide deployable sensors and weapons, should the need arise.
Last edited:

Lone Ranger

To understand SAF's C4I battalions operations, one has to understand the concept of SAF's Networked Centric Warfighting (NCW) capability.

For your reading pleasure, here is the link to -"Future Communications in a NCW paradigm"- a paper written in 2005 that formed some of the guideline for subsequent development on the SAF's NCW capabilities.
(Side note: The discussion on real-time mission tailoring and re-tasking for long range weapon in this paper, could likely leads to the development of SPIKE LR2's 3rd party target allocation capability - Singapore, an early and major users of SPIKE ATGMs, did their test firing of SPIKE LR2 in 2017)

With the SAF's 3rd Division attained its Initial Operational Capability (IOC) as a 3rd Generation (Network Enabled) Combined Arms Division in 2017, this showed that most of the challenges mentioned in the 2005 paper had been both overcome and turned operation.
If I understand you correctly, the SAF has gathered signals and recon (as well as command?) BNs into two BNs where signals and recon operate together. The two C4I BNs of the SAF seems to function as mini HQs or large foreward CPs With recon and SIGINT/ELINT units up front.
There is only ONE C4I battalion for every Brigade and Division HQs and they are of different setup due to the differences in their role and scope.
  • At the Brigade level, C4I battalion was formed by combining the Brigade's existing Recce (mentioned by OPSSG) and Signal companies. On top of that, a SatCom and Tactical UAV companies were added to the structure. They support Brigade level operation, at the same time linked to the bigger Division and Army Network for a Full NCW operation.
  • At the Division level, C4I battalion was formed with the conversion of existing Signal battalion. Their focus is more on collate, make sense and dissemination of the information, hence it is structured differently compared to the Brigades'. Due to opsec, I would prefer not to state the detailed structure of this battalion, but will share some differences it has when compared to the Brigade's C4I Bn;
    -1st, it does not has any recce elements, as Intel gathering will be done by another unit - ISTAR battalion.
    -2nd, it has a Fusion company - as mentioned by OPSSG
C4I battlion with its role and structure, it is capable of distributed operation while supporting the Brigade HQ and above. It is definitely not a unit pushed up to the front line - with exception to the RSTA (scouts) elements.

Another question is the viability of a battlefield internet system supplying tactical recon information to operational commanders. Is this really viable in a full blown war scenario with the electronic bandwiths allready cramped by all the apparatus applied by modern armed forces even before the enemy start targeting you with jamming. How do you avoid enemy intercepts. I can't imagine direct line of sight microwave links down to platoon or section level. Is it at all possible to maintain OPSEC with an internet based info system. Is the communication based on SINGCAR radios or similar 360 degree broadcasts?
Your concern was raised in the 2005 paper (Future Communications in a NCW paradigm) above and Software Defined Radio was implemented in 2016. Much of this work is still on going with research on nanosatellite and quantum communication done locally.

As per any network in the field, every unit will have their Battle-Net defined

188-May-2011-Army C4i.jpg

A Networked Division
Today, the Command and Control Information System (CCIS) and the Blue Force tracking system allow the commanders at all levels to keep track of their men’s location on the battlefield. This enables them to analyse the battlefield situation based on real-time inputs rather than those provided through delayed updates from the ground units. With these new systems and a centralised Division Hub in place, the commanders can now effectively command their forces more decisively and plan for further operations.

147- Networked Division-1.jpg
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 3 of 5: Game change in the Littorals

11. The Type 218SG uses either two HDW/Siemens 120 kW (FCell System) or a more powerful 4th Generation Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Using these advanced fuel cells, Singapore’s submarines can engage in long duration diving and bottom sitting. With more power for the hotel load, more powerful sensors can be installed, improving their enemy submarine detection capability. Interestingly in Sep 2019, TKMS unveiled its 4th Generation Fuel Cell (FC4G) following completion of a test programme for the propulsion system. FC4G has no moving parts and has undergone in excess of 70,000 operating hours of testing, demonstrating it’s performance. While the use of FC4G is currently not documented, I suspect that the FC4G is installed in the new Invincible class but I am unable to provide a link. This is to be used as standard equipment from 2021 (when the 1st Type 218SG is to be delivered).

12. The Invincible class submarine operating in littoral waters will be tasked with employment in such roles as forward sensor, scout, relay station, as the operating base for unmanned underwater (UUV) or aerial (UAV) vehicles, and as a platform for the insertion and recuperation of special forces. This means that the submarine must be able to maintain almost continuous contact with other units in the network, even when deep submerged.

(i) The submarine’s ability to covertly gather intelligence is an established fact, but in network centric operations it must also be possible to transmit and receive large amounts of data in real-time, in such a way that it is difficult for the opponent to intercept or disrupt the information flow, and without revealing the submarine’s position. This is not possible with conventional VHF/UHF submarine communication means, but enabling the submarine to use satellite communication facilities provides global reach and rapid data transmission times. The Callisto B submarine communication system is a combination of hoistable mast and communication buoy. The buoy incorporates SATCOM, GPS and ESM/EW facilities. It is attached to a conventional hoistable mast and can be raised and lowered. This mast will enable the submarine to actively participate in network centric and crisis management operations while still underwater.​
(ii) For the Invincible class, a flexible payload means its what is sensors can provide an over-the-horizon HQ Commander is more valuable than its own attack possibilities. Nevertheless, it will have essential self-defence weapons. A modular approach means that a submarine can be fitted with a wide variety of weapons, mines, UUVs and equipment, depending on the likely mission profile.​
(iii) The Invincible class can be equipped with the Interactive Defence system for Air-attacked Submarines (IDAS) that is connected to the submarine by fibre-optic link during its entire mission duration. It is described as 4 missiles housed in a launch canister in the torpedo tube (like any heavyweight torpedo) using a IR seeker, fiber-optic data link between the control console and a single-stage, rocket motor providing a range of 20km. The operator on board the submarine may alter the course of the mission at any time. In addition, reconnaissance results and target images obtained by means of the seeker can be evaluated in the submarine. The missile is intended for use against the modern submarine’s deadliest enemy: the ASW helicopter. However, the degree of precision with which the missile can be controlled makes it suitable for operations against surface ships and coastal targets as well. The IDAS Consortium and its international partners will achieve series production maturity for the IDAS system during the system qualification phase, in which the remaining detail development, verification and qualification work will be carried out. This phase is due to be completed and IDAS placed on the market in 2022.​

SSJArcher Krich said:
Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shia militia aligned to Iran. Effectively, they are an Iranian proxy, one among many others in the region.

If a non-state actor in a tiny country like Lebanon could field as many as 100,000 ballistic missiles and rockets, it is not hard to consider whether Iran could field enough ballistic missiles to eliminate a tiny country that is considered its adversary.


Jurong Island with all the petrochemical industries can be taken out with a salvo of short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles. Pretty easily.

Changi Airport can be easily devastated in a similar manner. Singapore's power plants can be similarly targeted. Cruise missile and drone attacks, like those in Abqaiq, KSA but in much greater number, could disable its ports at Tuas, Pasir Panjang and elsewhere.
13. In paragraphs 13 to 16, I explain the naval thinking required to prepare for littoral operations, where the threat is over the horizon or underwater; where little or nothing relating to the adversary can be seen with your eyeballs; and the object is deception more than it is aggression— the trick is getting the other side to shoot first, to enable Singapore to gain a political advantage. In this regard Singapore Navy’s submarines and ships need the capability to sense, use decoys or hard kill measures against attacks so that there is no need to absorb the damage of the attack. Preparing to meet all the possible threats the South China Sea has to offer will force the Singapore Navy to become more nimble, to better able to deal with emergencies, when they arise. This includes being prepared to ram Malaysian ships, as ramming is a routine escalation option in the South China Sea.

14. Singapore’s 16 new H225M helicopters will be delivered from 2020. With the planned acquisition of the JMMS, the RSAF is possibly looking to eventually acquire around 24-30 aircraft to support amphibious operations.

(i) The H225Ms with a flight endurance of 4 hours and a 1,282 km (or 692 nautical mile) range give the Singapore Navy extended reach from a sea base, like the MV Avatar and is the advanced of this helicopter type.​
(ii) Thanks to the 2009 counter-piracy deployment of 2 Super Pumas under CTF-151 (in the Gulf of Aden), the SAF has taken a long- term view of growing its naval helicopter interdiction capabilities at sea. To aid insertion of special forces from the sea, DSTA has incorporated the display of flight information onto the helmet-mounted display to reduce the pilots’ workload, and further streamlined the new H225M helicopter’s scheduled maintenance requirements from a sea base — which includes folding blades and the ASIST shipboard helicopter landing system to facilitate shipboard operations.​
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 4 of 5: Building the Next Generation SAF

15. If even terror groups can fire anti-ship missiles, the Singapore Navy must re-examine its fleet architecture to remain threat relevant — including its plans to refurbish 4 Fearless Class vessels to augment the 8 Littoral Mission Vessels to manage tensions with Malaysia. In 2013, US NPS established a Littoral Operations Center (LOC). NPS is working with the Swedish and Singapore navies to conduct war games and to study the threats and counter measures including:

(i) The Tamil Sea Tigers who tied the Sri Lankan navy in knots through the use of small attack boats and suicide explosive vessels. Similar challenges that arise in the Philippines or Malaysia, such as, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines or the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff in Sabah.​
(ii) Effectively using the MSTF (along with the Police Coast Guard and other agencies) to secure the waters off Capella Hotel during the Kim-Trump summit from potential terrorist or missile attacks. For added security, the Singapore Navy increased the number of close escort operations carried out on merchant vessels. UAVs and AH-64Ds also joined in the mission to protect the Kim-Trump summit.​
(iii) The greatest threat will be the conduct of Littoral zone naval operations into places with conditions like that off the coast of Lebanon or Yemen — where anti-ship missiles were used to attack: (a) INS Hanit on 14 July 2006; and (b) USS Mason on 9 Oct 2016, where the destroyer detected and intercepted two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period while in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen — which in this case means more than hard kill and decoys but also extends to Electronic Warfare (EW).​

16. With the proliferation of submarines in the region (with Myanmar as the latest submarine operator), Singapore is keen to learn from the Swedish navy — who have in the past, greatly assisted with our MCMVs and submarine programs. “Driven by the small size of their armed forces and the extent and intricacy of their coastline, the Swedes have integrated all their services in a comprehensive littoral anti-access system,” LOC Director, NPS Senior Lecturer Dr. Kalev Sepp said. According to Sepp, the littoral is where hydrography, geography, commerce, fishing, political boundaries and claims, and military maneuver and sustainment issues converge, to complicate both the offense and the defense, and to place exceptional demands on naval, aerial, and land forces that must operate, fight, and influence events there.
Last edited:


Active Member
With the new submarines, will MV Swift Rescue be getting any upgrades/changes? Or replaced? I haven't heard much news about that particular capability in RSN in recent years. Other than its deployments on S&R for various incidents.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 5 of 5: Fleet Composition to include blue ensign

17. The greatest challenge in countering influence operations of foreign agents is the growth a sense of entitlement, without the need to contribute, by segments of the population.
CheeZe said:
With the new submarines, will MV Swift Rescue be getting any upgrades/changes? Or replaced?
18. I don’t know, for sure. The 4,290 ton MV Swift Rescue with a crew of 27 and manned by Swire Pacific Offshore (has a medical centre with beds for 18 and accommodation for 85 personnel) is used a submarine tender (or what the SAF calls a submarine support vessel), to host DSAR6 and other underwater rescue equipment.

(i) I would be very surprised if the ship does not already have some existing space allocated to load a 20 foot long liquid oxygen tank (and additional space to load some limited quantity of liquid hydrogen to refuel the AIP system).​

(ii) The issue really is the effect on MV Swift Rescue’s class certificate to store cryogenic liquids and maintain a water curtain for the hoses used to conduct such ship to submarine transfers.​
CheeZe said:
I haven't heard much news about that particular capability in RSN in recent years. Other than its deployments on S&R for various incidents.
19. Neither have I. Nothing much heard since 2015, when its crew found the crashed airliner, underwater.
Last edited:


Super Moderator
Staff member
The crew of RSS Supreme, send their National Day greetings while en route to Hawaii for @RimofthePacific - the world's largest int'l maritime exercise.

The Maritime Sailpast is returning to NDP2020 after 20 years! This 9 Aug, the sailpast will be coming to the Marina South Pier, with 13 vessels and about 300 sailors from the Republic of Singapore Navy, Police Coast Guard, SCDF and MPA.

Happy National Day, Singapore!
Last edited: