Changi Naval Base

Changi Naval Base

A Comprehensive Guide to Changi Naval Base: Home of the Republic of Singapore Navy

Changi Naval Base (CNB) is a key naval facility located in the eastern region of Singapore. It serves as the main base of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), hosting its fleet, elite sailors, and key commands.

This provides an in-depth look at Changi Naval Base, its history, layout, infrastructure, vessels, sailors, and operations that enable Singapore to have a naval force safeguarding its waters.

Introduction to Changi Naval Base

It occupies 278 hectares of reclaimed land near Changi Airport in Changi. It houses the Fleet Headquarters, ships, elite sailors, and waterfront infrastructure critical for RSN operations. Key facts:

The main naval base of the RSN Fleet

Location: Near Changi Airport in Changi East

Ready-berthing spaces for RSN warships

The base of elite Naval Diving Unit sailors

Also houses key Naval Training Schools

Tight security as a high-value military base

As the RSN's most important naval base, it serves a vital role in supporting fleet readiness and operations.

History of Changi Naval Base

It is located on the eastern coast of Singapore and is a strategic naval installation that serves as the headquarters and logistical support hub for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). It plays a crucial role in ensuring maritime security, protecting national interests, and facilitating regional cooperation.


The origins of Changi Naval Base can be traced back to the British colonial period, when it was established as HMS Sembawang in 1924. However, when Japanese forces captured the base and used it as a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, it rose to prominence. After the war, the British Royal Navy re-established and operated the naval base until 1968.

Following Singapore's independence in 1965, plans were made to develop it into a modern facility capable of supporting an independent navy. Construction began in 1975 under various phases and was completed in 2004 with major infrastructure enhancements.

It was constructed in the late 1990s to replace the ageing Sembawang naval base. Some key milestones:

1994: Construction began on reclaimed land

1997: The first warship docked at its wharf

2004: Official opening ceremony held

2011: New 20-story Headquarters and Maritime Security Task Force HQ completed

2012: New Naval Warfare System Training Centre opened

2019: Upgraded multifunctional training facility unveiled

Today, it serves as the primary base for the RSN Fleet and naval operations.

Changi Naval Base's Key Features

Let's examine the key features and infrastructure within Changi Naval Base:

Fleet Headquarters

The headquarters coordinates naval operations, including planning, logistics, and administration.


Wharves that can berth multiple RSN warships simultaneously for quick activation when required.


On-base accommodation for RSN personnel posted there and transiting ships' crew.

Naval facilities

Include maintenance workshops, logistics warehouses, training schools, engine rooms, desalination plant etc.

Security Features

The base has tight access control checkpoints, roving patrols, and CCTV surveillance systems.

Helipad and Hangar

A helipad to support helicopter operations and an adjacent hangar provide parking and maintenance.

Simulation Centres

Equipped with ship handling simulators, tactical rooms, and computer wargaming systems for training.

Naval Warfare System Training Center

A specialized training facility to train RSN personnel on advanced naval weapon systems.

With comprehensive naval infrastructure encompassing facilities, training nodes, and security provisions, it provides critical support for fleet operations.

Heritage Assets

Several landmarks showcase Changi Naval Base's history:

Historic photos of milestone events held at the base like new ship launches.

Retained old ship memorabilia like steering wheels, bells, and plaques when ships were decommissioned.

Preserved rattan cane knots art installments along the Selerang walking trail symbolizing naval tradition.

Vintage naval equipment displays like torpedo tubes, periscopes, gun parts, and ship engines.

Battle honors memorializing distinguished RSN contributions in conflicts and humanitarian relief.

These heritage elements showcase its contributions to building the RSN into a professional naval force.

Key RSN Units Based in Changi Naval Base

It houses a mix of elite RSN units:

Fleet Headquarters

Maritime Security Task Force

Naval Diving Unit

Naval Warfare System Centre

Information Fusion Centre

Hydrographic Department

Naval Training Schools (navigation, seamanship etc)

This combination of combat units, training nodes, and supporting departments enables Changi Naval Base to fully support naval operations.

Naval Assets

It provides direct access to the RSN Fleet:


Bedok-Class stealth frigates like RSS Stalwart and Supreme are equipped with anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine weapon systems.

Missile Corvettes

Fearless-class corvettes like RSS Sovereignty and Daring are fitted with anti-air and anti-surface capabilities.


Archer-class submarines like RSS Swordsman are capable of underwater reconnaissance and warfare.

Patrol Vessels

River-class and Fearless-class boats like RSS Resilience conduct maritime patrol and interdiction.

Mine Countermeasure Vessels

Bedok-class minehunters like RSS Persistence are tasked to detect and neutralize naval mines.

Landing Ship Tanks

Endurance-class amphibious transport docks RSS Endurance and ships enable seaborne transport of personnel and equipment.

Having the Fleet based there provides the vessels, equipment, facilities, and quick access needed for naval operations.

Changi Naval Base Key Facilities

Critical naval facilities in Changi Naval Base:

Finger Piers and Wharves

For berthing of various RSN vessels. Allows swift activation for missions.

Operational Ready Facility

Standby wharf to facilitate urgent activation of naval vessels when required.

Hardened Aircraft Shelters

Reinforced hangars to house and protect naval helicopters from attacks.

Naval Simulator Centre

Houses ship handling simulators with realistic ship bridge mockups for naval training.

Maritime Security Task Force HQ

Command centre coordinating maritime security, including counter-terrorism,

Ammunition Barges

Floating, secured barges are used to store naval ordnance safely offshore.

These mission-critical facilities enable round-the-clock naval fleet maintenance, operations, and training.

Heritage Milestones

Some key heritage milestones associated with:

1997: The first warship RSS Excellence docked at its wharf, marking its completion.

2001: New offshore ammunition barges system introduced.

2004: Official opening graced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

2011: New 20-storey Headquarters and Maritime Security Task Force HQ opened.

2012: New Naval Warfare System Training Center operationalized.

2018: Upgraded berthing system enables larger Joint Strike Missile corvettes.

From its first ships to the present day, it enabled the growth of RSN capabilities over the past 25 years.

High Readiness Facility

A high readiness facility within Changi Naval Base allows ultra-fast naval activation:

Strategic operational ready facility located near base entrance.

Permanently berthed ships ready to sail at 30 minutes' notice.

Crew onboard ready for immediate sail out. Food and supplies pre-loaded.

Saves up to 12 hours needed to prepare and deploy ships at normal wharves.

Enables rapid naval response for urgent contingencies.

Tight security protocols are in place at the restricted facility.

The high readiness facility demonstrates the RSN's capabilities to swiftly respond when activated at short notice during contingencies.

Naval Training Schools

Various naval training schools within it develop specialized skills:

Naval Diving Training School

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training School

Naval Logistics School

Naval Medicine Training School

Naval Warfare System Training Center

Maritime Warfare Training Center

Naval Science and Technology Training Center

Specialized units like the Naval Diving Unit and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams are also based there.

The training nodes equip naval personnel with diverse expertise from diving, and EOD disposal to logistics.

Changi Naval Base Security Features

As a high-security military base, it employs strict security protocols:

Entry is restricted to authorised military personnel only. Visitors require prior clearance.

Multi-layer perimeter intrusion detection systems, including CCTV surveillance and motion sensors.

Regular armed security patrols are equipped with assault rifles, night vision, and surveillance equipment.

Robust physical security infrastructure like security fences, tyre shredders, and anti-climb spikes.

Operational Support Unit force protection soldiers provide an armed first response to threats.

Surveillance systems like aerostat balloons are tethered over the base for aerial monitoring.

The strict security aims to provide watertight protection of military assets and personnel within the critical naval base.

In conclusion, it serves an indispensable role as the RSN's main strategic naval base providing ready facilities, infrastructure, and access needed to maintain naval fleet readiness for operations.


It encompasses an expansive area covering approximately 1,300 hectares. It comprises several key facilities designed to support naval operations efficiently:

Wharves: The base features multiple deep-water quays capable of accommodating large warships including aircraft carriers and submarines.

Berths: Various berthing facilities are available for smaller vessels such as frigates, corvettes, patrol boats, auxiliary ships, and visiting foreign navies.

Repair Yards: Extensive repair yards equipped with dry docks cater to maintenance requirements for RSN's fleet.

Supply Depots: Warehouses and storage facilities serve as vital supply hubs for naval provisions such as fuel, ammunition, spare parts etc.

Administration Buildings: Numerous administrative buildings house operational command centers where coordinated efforts for planning maritime operations occur.

Training Facilities: Modern training institutes within the base are responsible for grooming sailors through specialized courses covering navigation skills, warfare tactics, engineering expertise, and technical competency.

Changi Naval Base: Strategic Importance

Its strategic location at the entrance of the Strait of Malacca provides several significant advantages:

Maritime Security: The base acts as a crucial component in Singapore's maritime security and defence architecture, safeguarding vital sea lanes in the region.

Regional Cooperation: It serves as a hub for international naval collaboration through joint training exercises, port visits by foreign navies, and participation in multinational operations.

Humanitarian Assistance: Changi Naval Base is well-equipped to respond promptly to humanitarian crises or natural disasters in the region by leveraging its resources and capabilities.

Economic Benefits: As an important naval facility, it contributes to Singapore's economy through job creation, infrastructure development, and support services.

Changi Naval Base contributes to regional security

It is a key contributor to regional security in several ways:

Deterrence: The presence of a well-equipped naval base in the region acts as a deterrent to potential aggressors. The well-known capability of Changi Naval Base and its strategic location send a strong message that any hostile action will be met with a swift and effective response.

Regional Cooperation: it facilitates regional cooperation and strengthens defence ties between countries in the region. It serves as a hub for joint military exercises, training programmes, and information sharing, enhancing the interoperability and cooperation among navies from different countries.

Maritime Domain Awareness: it plays a crucial role in maintaining maritime domain awareness in the region. It houses advanced surveillance systems, radars, and monitoring facilities that allow for comprehensive monitoring and tracking of maritime activities. This capability enables the detection of illicit activities, such as piracy, smuggling, and illegal fishing, contributing to the overall security of the region's waters.

Response to Humanitarian Crises: Changi Naval Base is a vital asset in responding to humanitarian crises. Its infrastructure and resources enable the rapid deployment of naval assets for disaster relief operations, including providing medical assistance, logistical support, and search and rescue missions. This contributes to regional security by promoting stability, reducing the impact of natural disasters, and fostering goodwill among nations.

Collaborative Security Efforts: It actively participates in collaborative security efforts, such as counter-terrorism initiatives and anti-piracy operations. Through joint patrols, information sharing, and coordinated responses, the base contributes to the overall security of the region by addressing common security challenges and ensuring maritime stability.

Capability Enhancement: Changi Naval Base serves as a centre for naval capability enhancement. It facilitates the maintenance, repair, and modernization of naval vessels, providing a reliable platform for regional navies to upgrade their capabilities. By constantly improving naval capabilities, the base enhances the overall security environment in the region.

In summary, it contributes to regional security through deterrence, regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, humanitarian response, collaborative security efforts, and capability enhancement. Its presence and active involvement in the region play a vital role in maintaining stability and safeguarding maritime interests.

Changi Naval Base contributes to maritime domain awareness and surveillance

It plays a crucial role in enhancing maritime domain awareness and surveillance in the surrounding waters. Here are some key contributions:

Strategic Location:

It is strategically located in the eastern part of Singapore, providing a vantage point to monitor and secure the Strait of Singapore, one of the busiest and most important straits in the world. Its proximity to major shipping lanes allows for effective surveillance and response to any maritime threats or activities.

Advanced Surveillance Systems:

The naval base is equipped with advanced surveillance systems, including radar capabilities and underwater sensors, which monitor vessel movements and detect any suspicious activities. These systems provide real-time situational awareness, allowing authorities to identify potential threats and respond accordingly.

Intelligence Sharing and Cooperation:

It serves as a hub for intelligence sharing and cooperation among regional and international partners. Through information exchange agreements and joint exercises, the base strengthens collaborative efforts in maritime security, enhancing overall maritime domain awareness in the surrounding waters.

Naval Patrols and Operations:

Naval vessels based there conduct regular patrols and operations in the surrounding waters to deter and respond to any potential security threats. These patrols contribute to maintaining a visible presence, deterring illegal activities, and ensuring the safe passage of vessels through the area.

Coordination with Maritime Agencies:

It closely coordinates with various maritime agencies, such as the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Police Coast Guard. This cooperation enables a seamless exchange of information and resources, enabling a more comprehensive surveillance and response framework.

Training and Capacity Building:

The naval base also serves as a training centre, providing specialised training to naval personnel in surveillance techniques, maritime situational awareness, and counter-piracy operations. By constantly upgrading the skills and capabilities of naval forces, it enhances maritime domain awareness in the surrounding waters.

Its contributions to maritime domain awareness and surveillance are pivotal in safeguarding the security and stability of the surrounding waters, promoting safe and efficient maritime trade, and deterring illicit activities.

Relationship between Changi Naval Base and Other Naval Bases in the Region

It is located in Singapore and plays a crucial role in the maritime security of the region. It has established various relationships with other naval bases in the region to enhance naval cooperation and collective security. Here are some key aspects of its relationship with other naval bases:

1. Bilateral and Multilateral Exercises

It conducts regular bilateral and multilateral exercises with other naval bases in the region. These exercises aim to enhance interoperability, build trust, and improve coordination between the navies involved. By working together, the naval forces are better prepared to respond to regional security challenges and promote stability in the region.

2. Information Sharing and Intelligence Cooperation

Naval bases in the region, including Changi Naval Base, engage in information sharing and intelligence cooperation to combat maritime threats effectively. They share knowledge, expertise, and real-time information on potential threats, piracy incidents, and other security concerns. This collaboration helps in maintaining situational awareness and enables prompt and coordinated responses to maritime security incidents.

3. Port Visits and Foreign Naval Deployments

Foreign naval ships frequently visit it for port calls and engagements. These visits provide opportunities for naval personnel to interact, share best practices, and foster professional relationships. Similarly, naval ships from it also make port visits to other naval bases in the region to strengthen diplomatic ties and promote mutual understanding and cooperation.

4. Joint Operations and Patrols

It collaborates with other naval bases in joint maritime operations and patrols. These operations aim to address common security challenges such as piracy, maritime terrorism, and smuggling. By pooling their resources and capabilities, the navies can effectively monitor and secure the waters of the region, ensuring safer and more secure maritime trade routes.

Overall, the relationship between Changi Naval Base and other naval bases in the region is built upon cooperation, interoperability, and joint efforts to maintain maritime security and stability. These partnerships serve as a foundation for collective defense and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region.

Future Developments

To maintain its operational readiness and adapt to evolving challenges, Singapore has plans for further expansion and enhancements. These include improving automation systems for efficient logistics management, enhancing cybersecurity measures to counter emerging threats, building additional facilities such as advanced ship repair yards, and upgrading existing infrastructures for accommodating larger warships.

In conclusion, it remains an integral component of Singapore's defense apparatus while promoting regional stability and cooperation. Its strategic location combined with state-of-the-art infrastructure ensures that the Republic of Singapore Navy can effectively project power at sea while fulfilling its mission of protecting national interests both locally and internationally.

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