Naval War College Review


Despite the widespread proliferation of studies on the major navies in Asia, first and foremost that of China, writings on the small navies of Asia—Southeast Asia in particular—have been few and far between. The slant toward those major navies is warranted by their influence on the regional na- val balance of power. However, it scarcely does justice to the small navies of Southeast Asia, a region of huge maritime geostrategic importance with po- tential security ramifications for wider Asian and global maritime security. Southeast Asia is also the scene of an interesting and serious buildup of sophis- ticated naval capabilities. This article therefore attempts to redress, at least partially, the dearth of inter- est in the small navies in Southeast Asia, using the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) as a case study. Though a small navy no doubt, the RSN has been one of the most prolific in its accumulation of high-tech capabilities, which in some re- spects have matched or even surpassed those of some of its counterparts.