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Armed Forces (Singapore)

Singapore Armed Forces, Tentera Singapura

Last modified: 2023-10-18 by zachary harden
Keywords: singapore | military | singapore armed forces | tentera singapura |
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[Army 'State Colour' (Singapore)] 2:3 image by Herman Felani M.Y.

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Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is used as the overall description of the three branches of the military units (land, air, sea) and the land forces (the Army) specifically as well. RSN is the Republic of Singapore Navy. RSAF is the Republic of Singapore Air Force. All together, they can be known as the Tri-Service.

Herman Felani M.Y., 5 September 2001

Armed Forces Flag

[Armed Forces (Singapore)] 2:3
from a Singapore Armed Forces booklet

I recently went to Singapore (...) where I obtained a booklet which had on one page all the flags of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The SAF Flag is similar to the national flag but with the armed forces seal in the fly (in the white lower segment). I have also a large image of this seal.

Tom Koh, 16 February 2000

From the Singapore Armed Forces website:

The SAF Flag represents the Army, Navy and Air Force working together as an integrated force - promoting pride, esprit de corps, loyalty, morale and identity among the SAF. Flags are flown in this order - the State Flag, the SAF Flag and the appropriate Service Flag (flown from left to right when facing the flags). The SAF Flag must also be flown together with the Services' Flags at functions and ceremonies.

The SAF Crest is emblazoned on the State Flag. The SAF Crest comprises the State Crest, encircled by the inscription of the SAF in the national language - TENTERA SINGAPURA. This symbolises the protection and preservation of the values of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality represented in the State Crest.

The guiding principle of the SAF is reflected on the ribbon - YANG PERTAMA DAN UTAMA ("First and Foremost") signifying victory and merit in all endeavours. The laurels surrounding the crest are a symbol of honour, glory and excellence - aims that the SAF strives towards.

Santiago Dotor, 14 November 2002

Organisational Flags vs. State Colours

I recently went to Singapore (...) where I obtained a booklet which had on one page all the flags of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). There is the SAF Flag, the Navy Flag, the Army Flag and the Air Force Flag.

Tom Koh, 16 February 2000

Mr. Malcolm Chung, Public Relations Officer for Permanent Secretary (Defence) sent me a large image [from a Singapore Armed Forces booklet] showing the SAF flag and the flags of the three services, Army, Navy and Air Force.

Wilson Lin, 16 March 2001

During the National Day Parade 2001 Rehearsals, the Military Flags were sighted by me, for the Air Force and Navy. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Flags follow the same general pattern, the State Flag is used with their respective Insignias on the lower fly. This design was originally adopted by the SAF. [See a photograph of the event at Herman Felani M.Y.'s webpage.] The ones described by Tom Koh are the respective flags for daily usage. For ceremonial purposes and at the President's presentation, the State Colours as I have earlier described are used.

Herman Felani M.Y., 15 July 2001

I have finally deduced the difference between the flags used by the Singapore Armed Forces:

  • The flags described by Tom Koh (except for the first, SAF Flag) are organisational flags of the Army, Navy and Air Force. They are displayed at the respective camps of these three branches of the Singapore Armed Forces.
  • The flags I described are State Colours (otherwise known as the Tri-Service Colours) of the Army, Navy and Air Force, which are only displayed at Ceremonial Events such as on National Day Parade held on 9th August, on visits by Heads of Governments or States or at the President's inspection. They are based on the National Flag with the respective badges charged on the lower fly.

Herman Felani M.Y., 24 August 2001

The Singapore military flags can be generally divided into two sets, firstly we have the flags known as the State Colours. These flags are the flags for use in Pomp and Ceremonial Occasions only such as on National Day parade on 9th August (Singapore's independence day). They are in the ratio of 2:3 like the state flag and are normally fringed with gold fringes when on display and are based on the National Flag defaced with the Branch's crest in the lower fly.

The second group is known generally as the Singapore Armed Forces Flags. They are the flags used on everyday occassion at the military bases and camps all over Singapore. According to the Recruit's Handbook (an introductory book given to all those 18 year old males entering National Service), the ratio of the flags images are 2:3. They are mainly with the canton portion of the national flag in a field with the badge in the lower fly.

The RSAF uses its roundel, the RSN just uses the Naval War Ensign, the Army uses the SAF crest with slight variations.

Herman Felani M.Y., 5 September 2001

Chief of Defence Force

[Chief of Defence Force (Singapore)]image by Miles Li, 24 November 2007

based on

The shape of the pennant for the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) is unconfirmed. Answers that were given to me whenever I enquired about these flags often left out the shape of the CDF's pennant. For the moment, I am assuming that it is triangular like the Chief of Naval Staff (CNV). The CDF's pennant could very well be rectangular. The CNV's pennant on the other hand is clearly described as triangular in replies to my enquiries.
Herman Felani M.Y., 25 November 2007

Chief of Defence Force Naval Pennant

[Chief of Defence Force (Singapore)] image by Alf Chern, 6 June 2014

This old naval three star pennant is of date unknown. The new type is now rectangular, with a narrowed end.
Alf Chern, 6 June 2014