Every day, while Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) warships sail to protect Singapore's waters and safeguard its sea lines of communication, there is a force that keeps Tuas and Changi naval bases, as well as offshore installations, safe.
They are the men and women of 9th Flotilla.
For Captain (CPT) Chiang Jun Yong, 26, Officer Commanding in 9th Flotilla, work means closing up as the Base Defence Officer at the Changi Command Post and ensuring that the bases remain safe – whether in the day or at night.
During his 12-hour shift, he watches over the security of the base against external threats, and monitors activities within the base for anomalies. He also looks after base operations such as the granting of clearance for all vessel movements within the base.
Centralised command & control
The newly established 9th Flotilla centralises command and control of operations in both Changi and Tuas naval bases, as well as the training of security troopers, sea soldiers and base defence systems operators under a singular unit.
Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Aaron Beng officiated the inauguration of the new flotilla in the RSN Flotilla Inauguration Ceremony on 9 Mar.
As part of the Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF), 9th Flotilla is now better able to integrate with the rest of the units under the MSTF to safeguard maritime security.
"With tighter linkages and better information exchange under the MSTF, we operate as one and play our part to ensure Singapore's maritime security," explained CPT Chiang.
"The centralised command we have now is useful because we can deal with threats in a more coordinated manner. Everyone, from the commanders to the troopers on the ground, receives the same information about any developing situations. Because threats can evolve quickly, it is more important than ever that we see a shared picture."
On alert against new & evolving threats
Recently on CPT Chiang's watch, a drone was detected close to gazetted waters around Changi Naval Base.
Security troopers at the base watch towers were alerted and stood ready to take down the drone, while the Police Coast Guard was contacted, through MSTF Headquarters, to sweep the coastline.
Eventually, the drone was tracked to a merchant ship, whose crew were unaware that they were flying a drone in a restricted area. The drone operator was investigated and subsequently issued a stern warning.
"In the past, we were more ship-focused. But these days, there could be a crossover of threats from the air, sea, land or even underwater," said CPT Chiang.
"It's important for us to remain vigilant and stay ahead against all forms of attacks."