Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Singapore's Navy Museum

It's been a year since I visited Singapore, and I've realized I neglected to post quite a few of the places I visited there.

One area that stands out is Singapore's Navy Museum.

Singapore's lifeblood is the shipping trade. An island nation,it has one of the busiest ports in the world. With such a symbiotic relationship to trade, its no wonder they have a substantial navy to protect it. Adding their rather interesitng neighborhood and the presence of pirates, their navy is indeed necessary.

It's also quite a powerful one in terms of overall capacity and for such a small nation.

The Navy Museum is located on an active naval base. It is a secure location, so if you wish to visit you need to bring your passport.

On checking in at the front gate, I and my friends from Singapore presented our IDs and signed in, and we were issued visitor's badges.

We were told to keep them on and visible at all times. Given the rather serious sentries at the entrance we certainly didn't argue.

We also received an escort - a sailor serving on one of Singapore's amphibious assault ships who had injured his ankle on duty got the job of taking us from the main gate to the museum. A nice young fellow doing his mandatory service, he enjoyed chatting with us on the way to the museum and asked that we not take photographs of the base, but only in the designated museum area and we happily complied with that request. He then got to kick back and relax as we toured the museum, and we were allowed to wander around it at our leisure unescorted.

The museum is three stories indoors as well as some outdoor displays.

As you enter you see models of Singapore's naval vessels, both past and present. Like all the museums in Singapore I visited, it is not very well lit. most likely this is to save on air conditioning costs and keep the interior cool, but it makes photography a bit difficult.

There's a variety of informative signs about navy life.

There's a whole wall of knots used in the naval service.

Multiple historic photographs of early and present Singaporean navy life.

A description of readiness conditions aboard ship.

If you've ever wondered what all those colored flags on a navy ship mean, wonder no more:

There's also quite a display of guns.

From a Bofors single mount:

To weapons seized from the Vietnamese boat people when their boats were boarded as they reached Singapore's waters.

I'm sure there's quite a tale as to how the boat people acquired these firearms in the first place.

That's an Australian L1A1 complete with functioning happy fun switch (I checked), an Ithaca 37 shotgun (interestingly it was the only one of the three firearms that was deactivated with its barrel cemented shut), and a Long Branch manufactured Lee Enfield No4. Mk.1.

Look how they identified the Enfield:

I mentioned the error to the museum's curator, and they're going to fix the label accordingly.

If missiles are your thing, they have those on display as well.

Then outside there's even more to see. A variety of weapons from decommissioned ships are on display.

There's also full scale mock-up of a conning tower from a Challenger-class submarine. Yes, Singapore currently operates two different classes of diesel submarines.

There was lots more to see and do at the museum and lots of interesting exhibits and artifacts. After we finished, our escort took us back to the main gate where we handed in our badges and got our identity documents back.

The takeaway from the museum is the Singapore has a surprisingly large and very capable navy that is well suited for protecting Singapore's interests in the region and its lifeblood, maritime trade.


drjim said...

I love museums like that.

One of the little aerospace start-ups I worked for years ago had a big contract with Singapore to upgrade their fleet of A-4 Skyhawks. With just a few aerodynamic enhancements, the A-4 could "turn and burn" with the best of the current aircraft, and made an exceptional dog fighter.

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Aaron;

There was a show in Netflix called "Commando" I believe and it talked about the Singapore Armed forces from the view of the conscript, it was very well done. You might like it.