The Republic of Singapore Navy’s Naval Diving Unit (NDU) is in the process of operationalising a new class of naval craft as the unit reorganises and expands further into surface maritime special operations. Besides introducing new equipment to support maritime special operations and reduce risks to divers in operations, the NDU has undergone restructuring. This includes the inauguration of 180 SQN and the Special Boat Group into NDU. A Trooping of Colours ceremony was also conducted to commemorate NDU’s golden jubilee milestone. 180 SQN and the Special Boat Group will be responsible for the raising, training and sustaining of the Accompanying Sea Security Teams (ASSeT) and maritime specialised craft respectively.
The restructured NDU will be responsible for the development of “raise-train-sustain” capabilities for maritime special operations, which ranges from underwater security operations, underwater explosive ordnance disposal to maritime counter-terrorism operations. Key skills to support special operations in the maritime domain, such as end-to-end ship boarding capabilities, will also be centralised under the NDU. This will enable the NDU to better support operations by SAF task forces such as the Maritime Security Task Force and the Special Operations Task Force. The restructured NDU will consist of six units to take on the expanded operational demands in maritime special operations:Special Warfare Group, Special Boat Group, Clearance Diving Group, Underwater Demolition Group, 180 Squadron and Frogman School.
Simply known as the Combatant Craft Large (CCL), the 26m-long vessel will help the NDU perform more maritime security roles, on top of its underwater and special operations taskings. The CCL is designed to be highly maneuverable and to achieve high speeds, which allows the craft to operate in congested environments and reach the target location quickly. The CCL is equipped with the latest electro-optics sensors so that it can operate in both day and night. Additionally, a comprehensive communication suite facilitates seamless information exchange and coordination with the Republic of Singapore Navy ships and shore headquarters. This enables a common maritime situational awareness for the delivery of quick and effective responses during operations.
Naval Diving Unit (NDU) is a special forces formation within the Republic of Singapore Navy which specialises in maritime counterterrorism operations, commando warfare, sabotage, demolitions, underwater salvage, and explosive ordnance disposal. Being trained in airborne, ground, and underwater capabilities, operators within the unit are tasked with conducting direct action and covert missions within hostile territory. The size of the unit and the details of their missions are kept classified due to their sensitive nature. NDU’s deployment for key operations such as the Sentosa Cable Car Incident in 1983, SilkAir Flight MI185 crash in 1997, Operation Blue Orchid to support the reconstruction of Iraq from 2003 to 2008, and more recently as part of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s multinational counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden from 2009 to 2018.