The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has five rank schemes for active and reservist personnel, with a sixth for the auxiliaries of the SAF Volunteer Corps. The rank structure is largely unified, with identical rank insignia across the Singapore Army, Republic of Singapore Navy, and Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Like many Commonwealth countries, the SAF draws its heritage from the British military. However, since the 1980s, Singapore no longer used British-style rank insignia across all its three armed services and also phased out corresponding British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force rank-titles for its navy and air force. The three branches of the SAF was unified in 1972, but prior to 1982, the three component services maintained their own distinct sets of uniform insignia, particularly for officer-level ranks. In 1982, along with a new standardised office uniform, the SAF implemented identical rank insignia across all three services, similar to that of the Israel Defense Forces, which itself was based similarly on those of the US military. Rank-titles are also largely identical, with only two exceptions in the Republic of Singapore Navy, where general officers have admiral ranks and officer cadets are referred to as midshipmen.
The ranks of uniformed servicemen are outlined in the Singapore Armed Forces (Ranks of Servicemen) Regulations. While the legislation provides for the ranks of general and admiral, there have not been any holders of these ranks as of 2019, and their rank insignia are not known to the public. As below is a list of legislated ranks, arranged in order of increasing seniority.
|Categories||Conventional rank||Military expert rank|
|Private First Class (PFC)|
|Lance Corporal (LCP)|
|Corporal First Class (CFC)|
|Specialists||Third Sergeant (3SG)|
|Second Sergeant (2SG)||ME1 (Military Expert 1)|
|First Sergeant (1SG)|
|Staff Sergeant (SSG)|
|Master Sergeant (MSG)||ME2 (Military Expert 2)|
|Warrant officers||Third Warrant Officer (3WO)|
|Second Warrant Officer (2WO)|
|First Warrant Officer (1WO)||ME3 (Military Expert 3)|
|Master Warrant Officer (MWO)|
|Senior Warrant Officer (SWO)|
|Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)|
|Junior officers||Second Lieutenant (2LT)|
|Captain (CPT)||ME4 (Military Expert 4)|
|Field officers||Major (MAJ)||ME5 (Military Expert 5)|
|Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC)||ME6 (Military Expert 6)|
|Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC)|
|Colonel (COL)||ME7 (Military Expert 7)|
|General officers||Brigadier-General/Rear Admiral One-Star (BG/RADM 1)||ME8 (Military Expert 8)|
|Major-General/Rear Admiral Two-Star (MG/RADM 2)|
|Lieutenant-General/Vice Admiral (LG/VADM)|
Enlisted personnel make up the bulk of manpower in the SAF and comprise the majority of full-time national servicemen. All new soldiers in the SAF, also known as enlistees, must first undergo Basic Military Training (BMT), during which they hold the most basic rank of recruit (REC) until they successfully complete their training. Once recruits graduate from their BMT they attain the rank of private (PTE). Selected recruits may also be chosen for further leadership training at the Specialist Cadet School or Officer Cadet School after graduating from BMT to become future specialists or officers respectively. For conscripts who did not pass or complete BMT, they will continue to hold the rank of recruit and may attain the rank of private only at the end of their 2 years of active service unless they recourse BMT.
Recruits and privates of all armed services do not wear any rank insignia. Privates can progress to be further promoted up into the ranks of Private First Class (PFC), Lance Corporal (LCP), Corporal (CPL) and the honourable Corporal First Class (CFC) when they perform proficiently well. Combat-fit National Servicemen who do not pass their Individual physical proficiency test (IPPT) during their NS will have their rank status capped at LCP until they pass the test.
Specialists serve as the junior commanders in the Singapore Armed Forces. They are specifically trained in a variety of equipment and skills and are termed as "subject matter experts". They lead a group of junior personnel and function as a link between the officers and enlisted, by relaying the commands of their superiors to the enlisted and providing feedback from the enlisted back to their superiors. The specialist corps (as well as the warrant officer corps) were introduced in 1992 to replace the previous non-commissioned officer corps.
Potential specialists are selected while training as recruits during BMT and, following graduation, undergo further training at the Specialist Cadet School (SCS). Since 22 December 2008, all specialist trainees bear the rank of specialist cadet (SCT) while undergoing specialist training. This rank is considered equivalent to a private, and is worn until they graduate from SCS, upon which they attain the rank of third sergeant (3SG). Servicemen may subsequently be promoted to second sergeant (2SG) and first sergeant (1SG). Regular personnel may progress further to the staff-level ranks of staff sergeant (SSG) or master sergeant (MSG). The master sergeant is the pinnacle rank of the specialist corps.
The rank insignia of specialists consists of three downward-pointing chevrons for the lowest rank of third sergeant, with additional upward-pointing chevrons depending on their seniority. In addition, staff-level ranks contain a coat of arms of Singapore between the upward-pointing and downward-pointing chevrons.
|Rank||Third Sergeant||Second Sergeant||First Sergeant||Staff Sergeant||Master Sergeant|
Warrant officers serve as senior mentors and disciplinarians in units as well as training institutes. Warrant officers are appointed by the Armed Forces Council, and may be given command responsibility of units and serve as disciplinary or investigating officers for military offences. In addition, they may only be charged for military offences by superior commanders. Like officers, they may also carry ceremonial swords on parades, and wear their ranks on their shoulder epaulettes.
Warrant officers are typically promoted from the ranks of specialists and generally have more than ten years of service, although outstanding specialists can attain the rank of third warrant officer as soon as seven years into service. Senior specialists are trained at the SAF Warrant Officer School (SAFWOS) before becoming warrant officers, and selected operationally-ready national servicemen may also be selected for warrant officer rank.
While technically ranking below commissioned officers, warrant officers are addressed by junior commissioned officers as "Encik" for males or "Cik" for females, in respect of their experience and knowledge. By junior ranks, they are addressed as "Sir" for males or "Ma'am" for females.
The rank insignia of a third warrant officer (3WO) consists of a coat of arms of Singapore with an arc below and a thin upward-pointing chevron, while that of a second warrant officer (2WO) through to senior warrant officer (SWO) have a thicker chevron which vary in number according to the rank. Finally, the rank of chief warrant officer (CWO) is distinguished from the rank of senior warrant officer with the addition of a laurel.
|Rank||Third Warrant Officer||Second Warrant Officer||First Warrant Officer||Master Warrant Officer||Senior Warrant Officer||Chief Warrant Officer|
Officers exercise leadership and command authority in the SAF. Prospective officers are selected from trainees in BMT and SCS, and undergo training at the Officer Cadet School (OCS). While training to become an officer, they hold the rank of officer cadet or midshipman, which are considered equivalent in rank to a private. Prospective officers are required to hold GCE Advanced Level, polytechnic diploma, international baccalaureate or equivalent tertiary qualifications, and career officers are encouraged to obtain higher studies in universities. They are appointed by the President of Singapore.
Junior officers are in charge of sub-units, and begin at the rank of second lieutenant (2LT), and may be promoted to the ranks of lieutenant (LTA). Regular and reservist personnel may be further promoted to the rank of captain (CPT) after attending courses at the SAF Advanced Schools. The rank insignia of junior officers are depicted by bars.
Senior officers are typically placed in charge of units or higher branches and responsible for making command decisions. They begin duties at the rank of major (MAJ), and may progress to lieutenant colonel (LTC), senior lieutenant colonel (SLTC), or colonel (COL). The rank insignia for senior officers uses the coat of arms of Singapore, also informally known as "crabs".
The general officers are the highest-ranking officers in the SAF, and are responsible for broad strategy and policies which affect the entire armed forces. General officers of the Army and Air Force use general-based ranks, while those of the Navy use admiral-based ranks. Their rank insignia consists of stars, ranging from one for brigadier generals (BG) and rear admiral (one-star) (RADM(1)), two for major generals (MG) and rear admiral (two-star) (RADM(2)), and three for lieutenant generals (LG) and vice admirals (VADM). The next most senior ranks are general and admiral, but their rank insignia are not known.
All officers are addressed by lower-ranking personnel as "Sir" for males or "Ma'am" for females.
|OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D) and student officer|
|No equivalent||Insignia not known|
|General||Lieutenant general||Major general||Brigadier general||Colonel||Senior lieutenant colonel||Lieutenant colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second lieutenant||Professional Term||Service Term||Officer Cadet|
|No equivalent||Insignia not known|
|Admiral||Vice Admiral||Rear Admiral||Rear Admiral (junior grade)||Colonel||Senior Lieutenant Colonel||Lieutenant Colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant||Midshipman||Midshipman||Midshipman|
|No equivalent||Insignia not known|
|General||Lieutenant general||Major general||Brigadier general||Colonel||Senior
|Lieutenant colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||Second lieutenant||Officer Cadet||Officer Cadet||Officer Cadet|
|OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D) and student officer|
Military experts are soldiers that serve in specific military domains under the Military Domain Experts Scheme, which is a separate rank scheme that was introduced in April 2010. The rank structure runs in parallel with the conventional ranks of enlisted, specialists, warrant officers, and commissioned officers, and allows for continual advancement from ME1 to higher ranks all the way to ME8 based upon expertise and performance levels.
Military experts of Military Expert 3 (ME3) rank are considered equivalent to warrant officers; while those ranking Military Expert 4 (ME4) or higher (collectively referred to as senior military experts) are considered equivalent to commissioned officers and given the same legal authority. The rank titles do not have unique names, but are instead suffixed by a cardinal number from 1 to 8 (for example, Military Expert 3 or ME3), with 1 indicating the most junior rank and 8 the most senior. Each of the ranks may be further qualified by another suffix: this may be a letter to denote military experts in different stages training, such as T for trainees (for example, Military Expert 4 Trainee or ME4-T) or A for apprentices (for example, Military Expert 4 Apprentice or ME4-A); or a number to distinguish paygrades for fully qualified military experts (for example, Military Expert 4-2 ME4-2). There are typically two or three paygrades for each rank except for the rank of ME8, where there is only one paygrade and no suffix is used.
Military expert trainees are considered equivalent to the rank of private, while military expert apprentices are considered equivalent to the rank of Military Expert 1.
The SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) was established in October 2014 to allow female Singapore citizens, first generation Permanent Residents and naturalised citizens, all of whom would not ordinarily have any national service obligation, to serve as volunteers in the SAF. The SAFVC Volunteers (SV) have a unique rank structure that does not correlate with the other ranks in the SAF.
The SAFVC ranks comprise five tiers from SAFVC Volunteer (Trainee), abbreviated as SV (Trainee), to SAFVC Volunteer 4 (SV4), enumerated by winged chevrons.
|Rank||SAFVC Volunteer (Trainee)||SAFVC Volunteer 1||SAFVC Volunteer 2||SAFVC Volunteer 3||SAFVC Volunteer 4|
Where the rank insignia is worn depends on a number of factors, including the uniform type, rank scheme, gender, and service of the serviceman.
When wearing the No.4 uniform (combat uniform), all servicemen wear their rank insignia on a chest strap. Otherwise, when wearing other uniforms, the rank insignia of enlisted and specialists are generally worn on the sleeves, while that of warrant officers, officers, and military experts are worn on shoulder epaulettes. In addition, female warrant officers, officers, and military experts wear their rank insignia on the collars when wearing the No.3 or No.5 uniforms (service dress uniforms), except for those of Army, who may wear their insignia on the shoulders if they are wearing a suit with their No.5 uniform.
Military ranks are sometimes suffixed with an abbreviation to denote certain circumstances under which the personnel holds the rank.
Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the United States Armed Forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Pakistan Air Force, the Israel Defense Forces, the South African National Defence Force, the Lebanese Armed Forces and, since 2012, the Singapore Armed Forces. In the United States Armed Forces, chief warrant officers are commissioned officers, not non-commissioned officers (NCOs) like in other NATO forces.Corporal first class
Corporal first class (CFC/ 一等中士/ 一等士官) is the highest enlistee rank in the Singapore Armed Forces, ranking above corporal. This honourable rank is conferred on proficient and competent corporals at the top tier of their units who have held the rank for at least five months, and is by recommendation only to the formation or division HQ. CFCs are usually given higher appointments or other equivalent responsibilities.
The honorary rank was first introduced in the Singapore Armed Forces on 1 September 1988. At that time, its insignia was indicated by the usual two stripes on the arm, but with a horizontal bar above the two stripes. However, the CFC rank was phased out from the NS ranks shortly after the revamp of the NS sergeant ranks in the 1990s. Reintroduced in 2008, the CFC rank insignia was redesigned with an additional arc on top of the rank insignia for a corporal.First warrant officer
First warrant officer (1WO) is a warrant officer rank in the Singapore Armed Forces. It is senior to second warrant officer but junior to master warrant officer.First warrant officers may be given appointments such as battalion regimental sergeant major. They may serve tours as instructors, or on various staffs. As comparatively senior warrant officers, they may be given appointments normally given to commissioned officers at such as quartermaster at non-combat units or platoon commander at training units.List of Singapore-related topics
This is a list of topics that are related to Singapore, which is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia. Singapore lies off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. It consists of one large island and 60 significantly smaller islets. This list primarily includes Singapore-related topics that already have a Wikipedia article.List of comparative military ranks
This article is a list of various states' armed forces ranking designations. Comparisons are made between the different systems used by nations to categorize the hierarchy of an armed force compared to another. Several of these lists mention NATO reference codes. These are the NATO rank reference codes, used for easy comparison among NATO countries. Links to comparison charts can be found below.Master sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries.Republic of China Armed Forces rank insignia
The Republic of China Armed Forces rank insignia have five schemes among different military branches, including Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Marine Corps, although being a part of the Navy, maintains a different insignia to other naval fleet personnel. The Military Police has insignia very similar to the Army, just with a slightly different green color. Under the current regulations, military ranks contain the following:
Officers (軍官) can be classified into three(3) levels (generals, colonels, captains), and to ten(10) ranks,
Non-commissioned officers (士官) can be classified into six(6) ranks, and
Enlisted soldiers (士兵) can be classified into three(3) ranks.The official military rank names in Chinese are identical across all different military branches, but their English translations may be different.Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC). In 1975, it was renamed the Republic of Singapore Air Force.Second warrant officer
Second warrant officer (2WO) is a warrant officer rank in the Singapore Armed Forces. It was the most junior of the warrant officers until the rank of third warrant officer (3WO) was brought into effect on 1 April 2010.Third warrant officers are promoted to second warrant officers after graduation from the Joint Warrant Officer Course (JWOC) at SAF Warrant Officer School at Pasir Laba Camp. Before the introduction of the third warrant officer, master sergeants would attend the JWOC before being promoted to second warrant officer.
Second warrant officers can take up many billets in command, staff, and instructional settings. They may be appointed regimental sergeant major or regimental quartermaster sergeant of a battalion-sized unit. They may also work in staff positions at brigade-sized units.
Being highly experienced with tactics, weapons, and equipment, they usually will undergo at least one tour as an instructor in various training schools. In this regard, they often have more practical experience than the junior officers in command of them.Senior lieutenant colonel
Senior lieutenant colonel (SLTC) is a senior officer rank in the Singapore Armed Forces, ranking just above lieutenant colonel and below colonel. The senior lieutenant colonel rank designates those who have been tapped for higher appointments in the army, navy and air force. The insignia for the rank of SLTC consists of two Singapore state crests and a pair of laurels.Senior warrant officer
Senior warrant officer (SWO) is a warrant officer rank in the Singapore Armed Forces and the South African National Defence Force.Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is the military component of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Singapore as part of the city-state's Total Defence strategy.
The SAF has three services: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The SAF protects the interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Singapore from external threats.
The SAF relies heavily on a large pool of conscripts in the active and reserve forces. It has an approximate active strength of around 72,000 personnel and is capable of mobilising over a million reservists in case of national exigencies or full-scale war battles. National Servicemen (NSmen) make up more than 80% of its military defence system and form the backbone of the SAF.Singapore Army
The Singapore Army is the service of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) tasked with land operations. It is the largest of the three Services. The Singaporean army is primarily a conscript army that, in the event of national exigencies or war, morphs itself from peacetime to wartime by mobilising almost all of its combined combat power by calling up operationally-ready military reservists.Specialist (Singapore)
In the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), specialists are the group of ranks equivalent to non-commissioned officers in other armed forces. This term was introduced in 1993, for a more "positive" rank classification and shorter waiting time for WOSPEC career soldiers' rank advancements. In the SAF, warrant officers are not considered specialists.
Like many other modern militaries, the specialist corps forms the backbone of the military. Specialists are the supervisors for the training and discipline of the enlisted men, and as well as the supervisors in the use of weapons and equipment, drill and ceremonies.
The following ranks are specialist ranks:
Specialist cadet (SCT)
Third sergeant (3SG)
Second sergeant (2SG)
First sergeant (1SG)
Staff sergeant (SSG)
Master sergeant (MSG)Senior specialists may be promoted to warrant officer ranks, through attending the Joint Warrant Officers Course at SAF Warrant Officer School. In the new scheme, they need to first go through the rank of third warrant officer, which is usually attained just before or after they go through the warfighter course from the Specialist and Warrant Officer Advanced School.
With the SAF Warrant Officer School, Specialist and Warrant Officer Advanced School and Specialist Cadet School, Pasir Laba Camp, site of the former Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (SAFTI) is the new home of the warrant officer and specialist corps of the SAF.Staff sergeant
Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in the armed forces of several countries. It is also a police rank in some police services.Third warrant officer
Third warrant officer (3WO) is a warrant officer rank in the Singapore Armed Forces. It is the most junior of the warrant officers, and holders of this rank are given appointments such as company sergeant major. The rank was newly introduced on 14 May 2009, and went into effect on 1 April 2010, as part of a revised career structure for warrant officers. The rank insignia is similar to the one for second warrant officer, although the former has a finer chevron.
Master sergeants are promoted to third warrant officer after attending the 3WO Professional Leadership Course.
Military ranks and insignia by country
|Commonwealth of Nations|