The Complete Sign-on Bonus SAF Guide 2021 - Army, Air Force, Navy

SAF Sign-On Bonus And Salary Guide 2021 – How Much You Can Expect To Earn With A Career In The Armed Forces

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Interested in a career in the armed forces, but not sure where that will leave you financially? Get all the details in our complete guide to salaries, sign-on bonuses and career tracks in the Singapore Armed Forces. 

A career in the armed forces is not for everyone. But if you have the temperament, ideals and goals that align with the demands and rigours of the role, you can look forward to a pretty rewarding experience, financially or otherwise. 

Here is our tribute to the self-sacrificing men and women of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) – a complete salary and sign-on bonus guide to every possible vocation in the Army, Navy or Air Force that safeguards our tiny island without rest or complaint. 

There’s plenty to cover so let’s dive right in. 

Overview of the Singapore Armed Forces salary and bonus structure

As you’d expect, how much you’ll get paid depends on your academic background, vocation and rank. But due to the complex and specialised nature of the different roles available, things aren’t as straightforward as you may think.

Here are some nuances you should know about. 

Sign-on bonuses

Perhaps the most often quoted reason to consider signing up are the sign-on bonuses offered, which can range from merely tempting to downright lucrative – especially to impressionable young men and women still struggling to stretch their pocket money. 

However, don’t go thinking that sign-on bonuses are guaranteed to one and all. Not everyone will receive a recruitment or sign-on bonus – only certain vocations will be offered one.

As alluded to above, these sign-on bonuses can vary quite widely, but that’s only fair, as certain roles are much more demanding. 

How much sign-on bonus can I receive?

We’ve included all the sign-on bonus details we could find below, but to save you some time, here are the highlights:

  • Vocation with the highest sign-on bonus: Naval Diver – S$31,000 to S$41,000
  • Warrant Officers and Specialists (all branches) – S$20,000 to S$30,000
  • Military Experts (all branches) – S$15,000 to S$25,000
  • Contract Service (Army) – S$6,000 to S$10,000

Career perks and benefits 

The signing bonus is only the beginning. Throughout your career, you’ll have the opportunity to take on additional learning or further specialisations. These could trigger additional bonuses that are paid at different points during your career in the armed forces. 

Some vocations and career paths are also automatically enrolled into certain welfare schemes, which entitle you to additional financial benefits.

Career paths in the Singapore Armed Forces

The easiest way to decipher the various salaries and bonuses is by understanding that there are various career paths in each of the three services. 

Your vocation will fall under one of these, which will determine your remuneration package.  

Also note that some career schemes cut across all three branches, which means that all personnel under that scheme will enjoy the same benefits (although salaries may differ). 

Here are the various career paths in each of the Armed Forces: 

Singapore Army career paths

  • The Officers Scheme
  • The Warrant Officers and Specialists Scheme
  • The Military Experts Scheme
  • The Army Deployment Force
  • Contract Service (EOS/EWOS)

Republic of Singapore Air Force career paths

  • The Officers Scheme
  • The Warrant Officers Scheme
  • The Military Experts Scheme

Republic of Singapore Navy career paths

  • The Naval Officers Scheme
  • The Naval Warfare System Engineers Scheme
  • The Naval Warfare System Experts Scheme
  • The Naval Diver Scheme
  • The Military Medical Experts (Underwater) Scheme
  • The Naval Chefs Scheme

Singapore Army starting salaries and sign-on bonuses

Army Officers Scheme

Starting salaries for A-levels/Diploma-holders

RankCombat/Combat SupportCombat Service SupportSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
Cadet TraineeS$2,420 – S$3,010S$1,990 – S$2,670NILSavings and Employee Retirement Plan (SAVER)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
2nd LieutenantS$2,660 – S$3,220S$2,140 – S$2,790
LieutenantS$2,890 – S$3,280S$2,500 – S$2,850

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries for Degree-holders

RankCombat/Combat SupportCombat Service SupportSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
Cadet TraineeS$3,940 – S$4,890S$3,690 – S$4,620NILSavings and Employee Retirement Plan (SAVER)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
2nd LieutenantS$4,550 – S$5,170S$3,950 – S$4,830
LieutenantS$4,890 – S$6,060S$4,290 – S$5,560

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

The starting salaries of those joining the Army as Army Officers are determined by two main factors: education level (A-levels/Diploma vs Degree) and vocation (combat vs combat service support).

A-levels and diploma holders serving in combat service support (i.e, non-combat) can expect starting salaries from S$1,990 per month as a cadet trainee, and from S$2,500 as a Lieutenant. 

Degree holders can look forward to salaries starting from S$3,690 as a cadet trainee, and from S$4,290 as a Lieutenant.

Sign-on bonus

Army Officers do not receive sign-on bonuses.

Career perks and benefits

All Army Officers are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, but the two most notable ones are SAVER and FLEX.

SAVER is a focused savings plan that is designed to help Army Officers build up adequate funds for retirement.

  • SAVER
    • Up to 17% of salary is credited into SAVER account
    • Receive up to six months’ SAVER bonus at the end of Year 6, and up to five months’ SAVER bonus at the end of Year 10 
    • SAVER bonus is equivalent to monthly salary 1:1

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Army Officers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Warrant Officers and Specialists Scheme

Starting salaries for O-levels to Diploma-holders (Combat/Combat Support) and N-levels to Diploma-holders (Combat Service Support)

RankCombat/Combat SupportCombat Service SupportSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
SCTS$2,020 – S$2,730S$1,640 – S$2,420S$20,000 – S$30,000 one-time bonus 
(Not applicable for Sponsorships Recipients)
Career and Retirement Endowment Account (CARE)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
3SGS$2,200 – S$2,910S$1,750 – S$2,530
2SGS$2,260 – S$2,970S$1,810 – S$2,590

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

The starting salaries of those joining the Army as Warrant Officers or Specialists are determined by whether you are in a Combat/Combat Support vocation or a Combat Service Support vocation. 

Do note that your eligibility for these vocations are also affected by your education level. N-level holders are restricted to the lower-paying Combat Service Support roles. Meanwhile, O-levels and Diploma holders may take up roles in either of the two.  

All Warrant Officers start their career as Specialists.

Specialists serving in combat service support can expect starting salaries from S$1,640 per month as an SCT, and from S$1,810 as a 2SG. 

Those serving in combat/combat support vocations can have starting salaries of S$2,020 as an SCT, and from S$2,260 as a 2SG.

Sign-on bonus

Specialists are entitled to receive sign-on bonuses, being a one-time payment of between S$20,000 to S$30,000. 

However, if you take up an Army sponsorship instead, you will not be entitled to this signing bonus. 

Career perks and benefits

All Army Warrant Officers and Specialists are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, including among them CARE and FLEX.

While Officers are enrolled into the SAVER plan, Warrant Officers and Specialists have their own special plan known as CARE. It holds a similar function of helping build up adequate funds for retirement.

  • CARE
    • Upon reaching 3WO rank, monthly contribution amounting to 10% of your salary is put into your CARE account
    • Receive Premium bonus (PrB) payouts upon completing 3, 6 and 12 years of service, as follows: 
      • 3 years = up to 10 months’ PrB
      • 6 years = up to 6 months’ PrB
      • 12 years = up to 22 months’ PrB 
    • PrB is equivalent to monthly salary 1:1

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Warrant Officers and Specialists can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Military Experts Scheme

Starting salaries for Army Engineer/Army Engineer (Ammo)

Education Level  Military Experts Designation Sign-on bonus Career perks and benefits
N-levels to Diploma 

ME1-T
S$1,700 – S$2,450
ME1-1
S$1,900 – S$2,650

S$15,000 to S$25,000 one-time bonus
(Not applicable for Sponsorship Recipients and ME4 & above).
MDES Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
A-levels to Diploma/Technical Diploma

ME4-T
S$2,200 – S$3,190
ME4-A
S$2,410 – S$3,330

Degree

ME4-T
S$4,370 – S$5,300
ME4-A
S$4,370 – S$5,300

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries for Military Medical Expert

Education Level Military Experts DesignationSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
N-levels to Diploma ME1-T
S$1,860 – S$2,690
ME1-1
S$2,080 – S$2,910
S$15,000 to S$25,000 one-time bonus
(Not applicable for Sponsorship Recipients and ME4 & above).
MDES Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
A-levels to Diploma/Technical DiplomaME4-T
S$1,990 – S$3,140
ME4-A
S$2,140 – S$3,250
DegreeME4-T
S$3,690 – S$4,620
ME4-A
S$3,950 – S$4,830

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries for Military Musician

Education Level Military Experts DesignationSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
N-levels to Diploma ME1-T
S$1,610 – S$2,400
ME1-1
S$1,750 – S$2,530
S$15,000 to S$25,000 one-time bonus
(Not applicable for Sponsorship Recipients and ME4 & above).
MDES Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Those joining the Army as Military Experts will have their starting salaries determined by their education levels, their Military Expert designation, as well as whether you’ll be filling an engineer, medic or musician role. 

The Military Experts career track is the least restrictive in terms of educational qualifications, and anyone from N-levels to degree holders may join. Correspondingly, there is a wide range of starting salaries offered. 

See the tables above for an idea of the starting salaries in your chosen vocation. 

Sign-on bonus

Military Experts are entitled to receive sign-on bonuses, being a one-time payment of between S$15,000 to S$20,000. 

However, this bonus will not be given to those who are taking up an SAF scholarship instead. Servicemen with designations ME4 and above are also not entitled to this bonus.  

Career perks and benefits

All Military Experts are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, including among them EXCEL and FLEX.

Similar to SAVER for Officers and CARE for Warrant Officers and Specialists, EXCEL is a focused saving plan to help Military Experts meet financial goals for retirement needs. 

  • EXCEL
    • EXCEL bonuses are paid out at ages 32, 40 and 50
      • 32 years = up to 12 months’ EXCEL bonus
      • 40 years = 8 months’ EXCEL bonus
      • 50 years = 8 months’ EXCEL bonus 
    • EXCEL bonus is equivalent to monthly salary 1:1

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Army Military Experts can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Army Deployment Force (ADF)

Starting salaries for ADF Trooper/ADF Specialist

RankCombat/Combat Support TrooperCombat Service Support TrooperCombat Specialist (Supply/Transport)Sign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
ADF Trooper
(below 3 GCE O-levels)
S$1,800 – S$2,630S$1,530 – S$2,320N/AS$20,000 or S$30,000 one-time bonus

Additional Monthly Allowance (S$200 for combat vocations, S$100 for supply and transport vocations)
Mid and year-end bonus, performance bonus, yearly merit increment 
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
ADF Specialist 
(3 GCE O-levels or more, NITEC, Higher NITEC, A-levels, Diploma)
N/AN/AS$2,080 – S$2,910

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Those signing up as a Trooper or Specialist in the Army Deployment Force will receive starting salaries of between S$1,800 to S$2,900. This is, of course, dependent on educational level and whether you’ll be in combat or non-combat vocations. 

Do note that to be an ADF Specialist, you’ll need to have at least three GCE O-level passes, ranging all the way up to Diploma. We reckon the higher your qualifications, the more you’ll receive for your starting salary. 

Sign-on bonus

ADF Troopers and Specialists will receive a sign-on bonus of either S$20,000 or S$30,000 given as a one-time payout.

Career perks and benefits

ADF servicemen are also entitled to a competitive remuneration structure. They will also be given FLEX benefits, just like their counterparts. 

  • Remuneration structure
    • Additional monthly allowance of S$200 for combat vocations and S$100 for supply and transport vocations
    • Mid-year and year-end bonuses
    • Performance bonus
    • Yearly merit increment  

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that ADF Troopers and Specialists can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Contract Service (EOS/EWOS)

Starting salaries for Contract Service (EOS/EWOS) – Officers

RankCombatServiceContract lengthCareer perks and benefits
2nd LieutenantS$2,660 – S$3,220S$2,140 – S$2,790Up to 3 years per contract; maximum 6 years of contract service

Contract gratuity
Option to convert to full career
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
LieutenantS$2,890 – S$3,280S$2,500 – S$2,850

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries for Contract Service (EOS/EWOS) – Warrant Officers

Starting salarySign-on bonusContract lengthCareer perks and benefits
S$1,750 – S$2,9102 year contract: S$6,000 – S$10,000
3 year contract: S$10,000 – S$15,000
Renewal bonus: 50% of sign-up bonus
Up to 3 years per contract; maximum 6 years of contract service

Contract gratuity
Option to convert to full career
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

The SAF also offers short-term contract positions for Officers and Warrant Officers under the EOS/EWOS career scheme. The starting salaries under this scheme depends on the rank at which you enrol. 

Second Lieutenants and Lieutenants can receive salaries starting from S$2,660 and S$2,890 respectively. Meanwhile, those under the contract Warrant Officers scheme will start from S$1,750.

Sign-on bonus

Contract Warrant Officers (EWOS) can receive signing bonuses starting from S$6,000, depending on the length of their contract. 

A two-year contract will entitle you to a sign-on bonus between S$6,000 and S$10,000. For a three-year contract, you can expect to receive between S$10,000 and S$15,000. 

EWOS participants will also receive a renewal bonus equal to 50% of their sign-on bonus when they renew their contract – up to a maximum of six years in total. 

Career perks and benefits

The EOS/EWOS career track offers some pretty attractive remuneration schemes, including a contract gratuity, option to convert to full career with commitment bonus and access to FLEX. 

  • Contract gratuity 
    • 1 month of last drawn gross salary for each year of service, and proportionately thereof for any completed month of service
  • Commitment bonus upon conversion to full career
    • Receive between S$20,000 to S$30,000 one-time commitment bonus

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that contract Officers and Warrant Officers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) starting salaries and sign-on bonuses

RSAF Officers Scheme

Starting salaries for Air Force Officers (Pilot/Weapons System Officer – Fighter/Air Warfare Officer/UAV Pilot – Intelligence Officer)

RankStarting salarySign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
Cadet TraineeS$2,420 – S$4,890NILSavings and Employee Retirement Plan (SAVER)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
2nd LieutenantS$2,660 – S$3,660
LieutenantS$2,890 – S$5,170
CaptainS$4,890 – S$6,060

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Air Force officers are among the highest paid servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces. While the lower range of the starting salaries is on par with that of the other branches, the upper limits are higher, in some cases significantly so. 

Cadet trainees can start with as much as S$4,890, while Second Lieutenants and Lieutenants can get as much as S$3,660 and S$5,170 respectively. Captains can receive a starting salary as high as S$6,060.  

Sign-on bonus

Air Force Officers do not receive sign-on bonuses.

Career perks and benefits

All Air Force Officers are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, including SAVER and FLEX.

SAVER is a focused savings plan that is designed to help Air Force Officers build up adequate funds for retirement.

  • SAVER
    • CPF top-up account: A portion of employer’s CPF contributions will be invested under SAVER Fund, with principal and interest deposited back into your CPF account upon completion of your service
    • Savings account: Funds deposited into this account during the first 10 years of your service
    • Receive up to 6 months SAVER bonus at the end of the Year 6, and up to 5 months SAVER bonus at the end of Year 10. SAVER bonus is equivalent to monthly salary 1:1
    • Retirement account: Funds will be deposited into this account from Year 7 of your service until the end of your military career

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Air Force Officers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

RSAF Warrant Officers Scheme

Starting salaries for Air Force Warrant Officers (Aircrew Specialist/Air Defence Systems Specialist)

RankAircrew SpecialistAir Defence Systems SpecialistSign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
RECS$2,030 – S$2,630S$2,130 – S$2,740S$20,000 – S$30.000Career and Retirement Endowment (CARE)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
SCTS$2,120 – S$2,730S$2,230 – S$2,860
3SGS$2,300 – S$2,910S$2,420 – S$3,060
2SGS$2,360 – S$2,970S$2,480 – S$3,120

Sources: Mindef

Starting salaries

Warrant Officers and Specialists in the Air Force can enjoy competitive starting salaries, determined by their rank and vocation.

Recruits can start from between S$2,030 and S$2,130; SCTs from S$2,120 and S$2,320; 3SGs from S$2,300 and S$2,420; and 2SGs from S$2,360 and S$2,480.  

Sign-on bonus

Those signing up for the RSAF Warrant Officer career scheme are entitled to receive one-time bonuses of between S$20,000 to S$30,000. 

However, scholarship recipients are not eligible for this bonus.

Career perks and benefits

All Air Force Warrant Officers are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, including CARE and FLEX.

CARE is a focused savings plan that is designed to help Air Force Warrant Officers build up adequate funds for retirement.

  • CARE
    • CPF top-up account: A portion of employer’s CPF contributions will be invested under SAVER Fund, with principal and interest deposited back into your CPF account upon completion of your service
    • Receive premium bonuses, ranging from 6 to 10 months, at various milestones during your career
    • Early Degree Sponsorship: Top performers may apply for this sponsorship to pursue full-time or part-time studies at recognised universities

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Warrant Officers in the RSAF can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

RSAF Military Experts Scheme

Starting salaries for Air Force Military Experts

VocationMilitary Expert Designation and Starting SalarySign-on bonusCareer perks and benefits
Air Force EngineerME4(T)
S$2,200 – S$5,300
ME4(A)
S$2,410 – $5,300
ME4
S$4,370 – S$5,300
S$15,000 – S$25,000Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Early Degree Sponsorship
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)
Air Force Engineer (Maintenance)/AIr Force TechnicianREC
S$1,750 – S$2,400
ME1(T)
S$1,900 – S$2,450
ME1
S$2,100 – S$2,650
Air Force Engineer (Flight Engineer)REC
S$1,760 – S$2,200
ME1(T)
S$1,830 – S$2,270
ME1
S$1,970 – S$2,400
Air Force Engineer (Supply Chain)REC
S$1,700 – S$2,320
ME1(T)
S$1,870 – S$2,400
ME1
S$2,000 – S$2,530
Air Imagery Intelligence ExpertREC
S$1,920 – S$2,630
ME1(T)
S$2,090 – S$2,690
ME1
S$2,300 – S$2,910
Senior Air Imagery Intelligence ExpertREC
S$1,920 – S$2,630
ME4(T)
S$2,420 – S$4,890
ME4(A)
S$2,660 – S$5,170
ME4
S$4,550 – S$6,060
Air Operations and Systems ExpertREC
S$1,750 – S$2,400
ME1(T)
S$1,900 – S$2,450
ME1
S$2,100 – S$2,650
Senior Air Operations and Systems ExpertREC
S$1,750 – S$2,400
ME4(T)
S$2,200 – S$5,300
ME4(A)
S$2,410 – S$5,300
ME4
S$4,370 – S$5,300

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Individuals signing up under the Air Force Military Experts career scheme will have to look towards their vocations and designations to determine their starting salaries.

There’s a total of nine vocations offered under this particular track – you may refer to the table above for an idea of the salary range for each one. 

Sign-on bonus

Enrolling into the RSAF Military Expert career scheme will also entitle you to a one-time signing bonus that can range between S$15,000 to S$25,000 (this is known as the MDES Academic Bonus). 

To be eligible, you have to have signed up for the Junior MDES vocations and are not starting on or undergoing sponsored studies. 

Career perks and benefits

All Air Force Military Experts are covered under the EXCEL scheme. They are also entitled to benefits under FLEX. 

Similar to SAVER for Officers and CARE for Warrant Officers and Specialists, EXCEL is a focused saving plan to help RSAF Military Experts meet financial goals for retirement needs.

  • EXCEL
    • Receive periodic EXCEL bonuses of up to 28 months in total, depending on your length of service
    • Early Degree Sponsorship: Top performers may apply for this sponsorship to pursue full-time or part-time studies at recognised universities

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Military Experts in the RSAF can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) starting salaries and sign-on bonuses

RSN Officers Scheme

Starting salaries for Navy Officers

Starting Salary Officer Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Lieutenant
A-levels S$2,420 S$3,010* S$3,240*
Diploma S$3,010 S$3,570* S$3,630*
Degree S$4,940 – S$4,890 n/a S$4,900* – S$5,520*
Additional allowances Shipboard: S$350 – S$450 
Submarine: S$750 – S$850 
Diving allowance: S$700 – S$1,000
Sign-on bonus NIL
Career perks and benefits Savings and Employee Retirement Plan (SAVER)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

*Includes shipboard allowance of S$350

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Those signing on to serve as Navy Officers will receive among the highest starting salaries in the SAF. Although not quite as high as Air Force officers, there are still some pretty lucrative salaries to be earned, especially if you have a recognised Degree. 

Navy Officer Cadets can receive anywhere from S$2,420 to S$4,890. Meanwhile, Lieutenants can receive between S$3,240 to as much as S$5,520.

Additional allowance

Due to the nature of the career (long periods away from Singapore, higher risk, etc), Navy servicemen are also entitled to additional allowances paid out when you’re deployed for certain assignments.

The allowance ranges from S$350 to S$1,000, depending on the nature of your assignment.

Sign-on bonus

Navy Officers do not receive any sign-on bonuses.

Career perks and benefits

All Navy Officers are entitled to a slew of benefits and perks, including SAVER and FLEX.

SAVER is a focused savings plan that is designed to help Navy Officers build up adequate funds for retirement.

  • SAVER
    • Employee CPF contribution: Lower contribution rate compared to private sector, allowing a higher take-home pay
    • Employer CPF contribution: Matches private sector
    • Savings account: Funds deposited into this account during the first 10 years of your service. Withdrawals may be made from Year 7 onwards
    • Retirement account: Funds will be deposited into this account from Year 7 of service until the end of your military career
    • Service bonus: Regular service bonuses from ages 45 to 50

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Navy Officers can use to meet lifestyle expenses such as vacations, childcare, insurance and more. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

The Naval Warfare System Engineers Scheme

Starting salaries for RSN Marine Engineer/Combat Systems Engineer

Starting Salary ME4(T) ME4(A) ME4
A-levels S$2,200 S$2,410 n/a
Diploma S$2,740 S$2,930 n/a
Degree S$4,370 – S$5,300 S$4,370 – S$5,300 S$4,370 – S$5,300
Additional allowances Shipboard: S$350 – S$450 
Submarine: S$750 – S$850 
Sign-on bonus NIL
Career perks and benefits Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

Those following the Naval Warfare Systems Engineers career track will receive starting salaries according to their ME designations, which denote the stage of traineeship you’re in. These salaries are also impacted by education level.

A Trainee with A-levels will receive S$2,200 as starting salary, which can go all the way up to S$5,300 for a Degree-holder. In fact, Degree-holders have an advantage here, as they start with the highest possible salaries of between S$4,370 to S$5,300.

Do note that you will need a relevant Engineering degree to qualify. 

Additional allowances

Due to the nature of the career (long periods away from Singapore, higher risk, etc.) Navy servicemen are also entitled to additional allowances paid out when you’re deployed for certain assignments.

For Navy Engineers, there are no diving assignments expected. Hence, the highest allowance you can receive is up to S$850. 

Sign-on bonuses

Naval Warfare System Engineers do not receive sign-on bonuses.

Career perks and benefits

All Naval Warfare System Engineers are covered under the EXCEL scheme. They are also entitled to benefits under FLEX. 

Similar to SAVER for Navy Officers, EXCEL is a focused saving plan to help RSN Marine Engineers and Combat Systems Engineers meet financial goals for retirement needs.

  • EXCEL
    • Career until age 60 on full CPF terms
    • Receive periodic EXCEL bonuses of up to 28 months in total
      • Age 32: up to 12 months’ bonus
      • Age 40: 8 months’ bonus
      • Age 50: 8 months’ bonus

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Naval Warfare System Engineers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Naval Warfare System Experts Scheme 

Starting salaries for Electronics Experts/Electrical and Controls Systems Experts/Marine Systems Experts

Starting Salary ME1(T) ME1
NITEC/Higher NITEC S$1,900 – S$2,070 S$2,770 – S$2,880
Diploma S$2,450 S$3,320
Additional allowances Shipboard: S$350 – S$450 
Submarine: S$750 – S$850 
MDES Sea Assignment: S$320
Sign-on bonus S$15,000 to S$25,000
Career perks and benefits Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

The Naval Warfare Systems Experts scheme may not have very exciting starting salaries, but it nonetheless offers some pretty decent options, all things considered. 

Graduates with NITEC or Higher NITEC will receive starting salaries in the S$2,000 range for Trainees, while those who have completed their certifications can see a significant pay jump. 

Meanwhile, Diploma holders can start from as high as S$3,320.

Additional allowances

Due to the nature of the career (long periods away from Singapore, higher risk, etc.) Navy servicemen are also entitled to additional allowances paid out when you’re deployed for certain assignments.

For Navy Experts, besides Shipboard and Submarine allowances, you can also receive MDES Sea Assignment allowances. 

Sign-on bonus

Naval Warfare System Experts can receive sign-on bonuses of S$15,000 (for NITEC/Higher NITEC) and S$25,000 (for Diploma holders).

Career perks and benefits

All Naval Warfare System Experts are covered under the EXCEL scheme. They are also entitled to benefits under FLEX. 

Similar to SAVER for Navy Officers, EXCEL is a focused saving plan to help RSN Electronics Experts, Electrical and Controls Systems Experts and Marine Systems Experts meet financial goals for retirement needs.

  • EXCEL
    • Career until age 60 on full CPF terms
    • Receive periodic EXCEL bonuses of up to 28 months in total
      • Age 32: up to 12 months’ bonus
      • Age 40: 8 months’ bonus
      • Age 50: 8 months’ bonus

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Naval Warfare System Engineers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Naval Diver Scheme

Starting salaries for RSN Divers

Starting SalaryREC3SG (includes S$700 diving allowance)
O-level passesS$1,800 – S$1,920S$2,780 – S$2,900
NITEC/Higher NITECS$2,030 – S$2,140S$3,000 – S$3,110
DiplomaS$2,630S$3,610
Additional allowancesDiving allowance: S$700 – S$1,000
Sign-on bonusS$31,000 to S$41,000
Career perks and benefitsCareer and Retirement Endowment (CARE)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

The Naval Diver Scheme offers starting salaries based on your educational level and rank. You’ll also notice that qualifications here are the most lenient – you can apply with as little as one O-level pass.

Starting salaries for Recruits range from S$1,800 to S$2,630. For 3SGs, you can draw between S$2,780 and S$3,610, inclusive of S$700 diving allowance. 

Additional allowances

Due to the nature of the career (long periods away from Singapore, higher risk, etc.) Navy servicemen are also entitled to additional allowances paid out when you’re deployed for certain assignments.

For Naval Divers, you will receive diving allowances of between S$700 to S$1,000, depending on the actual assignment. 

Sign-on bonus

Naval Divers are entitled to a sign-on bonus of between S$31,000 and S$41,000. This is the highest such bonus offered throughout the entire SAF, and should clue you in to just how tough this vocation will be. 

Career perks and benefits

All Naval Divers are covered under the CARE scheme and the FLEX scheme, along with other perks and benefits. 

Similar to SAVER for Navy Officers, CARE is a focused saving plan to help RSN Divers meet financial goals for retirement needs.

  • CARE
    • Employee CPF contribution: Lower contribution rate compared to private sector, allowing a higher take-home pay
    • Upon promotion to 3WO by Year 12 of service, receive monthly contributions into your CARE (10% of gross salary) and Naval Diver CARE (8% of gross salary) accounts for retirement
    • Receive payments of last drawn salary at three points in your career:
      • Third year of service – up to 10 months 
      • Sixth year of service – up to 6 months 
      • Twelfth year of service – up to 8 months
    • Quarterly bounty for eligible divers
    • Special forces engagement bonus for eligible divers

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Naval Divers Engineers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Military Medical Expert (Underwater) Scheme/Naval Chef Scheme

Starting salaries for RSN Military Medical Experts (Underwater) 

Starting Salary ME1(T) ME1
Diploma S$2,690 S$2,910
Additional allowances Ship board: S$350 – S$450
Submarine: S$750 – S$850 
Sign-on bonus S$15,000 or S$25,000
Career perks and benefits Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries for RSN Naval Chefs 

Starting Salary ME1(T) ME1 (includes S$350 ship board allowance)
O-level passes S$1,610 – S$1,770 S$2,100 – S$2,260
NITEC/Higher NITEC S$2,030 – S$2,140 S$2,350 – S$2,420
Diploma S$2,630 S$2,880
Additional allowances Ship board: S$350 – S$450
Submarine: S$750 – S$850 
Sign-on bonus S$15,000 or S$25,000
Career perks and benefits Experts Continuous Engagement and Learning (EXCEL)
Flexible Benefits system (FLEX)

Source: Mindef

Starting salaries

As you’d expect, starting salaries for Navy medics and chefs are slightly different, due to the different nature of their jobs. 

Also, to be a Navy medic, you’ll need a Diploma in Nursing. Meanwhile, educational qualifications for chefs are more relaxed, requiring only an O-level pass at the very minimum.

Additional allowances

Like the rest of their Navy servicemen and women, Navy medics and chefs have to endure challenging work conditions, including long periods away from home/at sea, and the inherent heightened danger of a naval environment. 

As such, both these vocations come with additional allowances for ship board and submarine deployments. 

Sign-on bonus

Choosing a career as a Navy chef or medic will entitle you to a one-time signing bonus of S$15,000 or S$25,000, depending on your educational background

Career perks and benefits

All Navy medics and chefs are covered under the EXCEL scheme. They are also entitled to benefits under FLEX. 

Similar to SAVER for Navy Officers, EXCEL is a focused saving plan to help RSN Military Medical Experts (Underwater) and Naval Chefs meet financial goals for retirement needs.

  • EXCEL
    • Career until age 60 on full CPF terms
    • Receive periodic EXCEL bonuses of up to 28 months in total
      • Age 32: up to 12 months’ bonus
      • Age 40: 8 months’ bonus
      • Age 50: 8 months’ bonus

FLEX is a flexible benefits scheme that Naval Warfare System Engineers can use to meet lifestyle expenses. 

  • FLEX
    • 6 years in service or less – S$600 per year
    • 7 to 12 years in service – S$800 per year
    • More than 12 years in service – S$1,000 per year 

Joining the Singapore Armed Forces is no walk in the park, so make sure that you’re well insured.

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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.