SINGAPORE — A new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) which provides armoured forces with enhanced firepower, mobility, protection and situational awareness will be commissioned by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) by 2019, as part of efforts to upgrade its assets.
This comes 13 years after the idea was initiated, as a replacement for the ageing ULTRA M113 AFV, which has been in service since the early 1970s.
Developed here by ST Engineering and the Defence Science and Technology Agency, the next-generation AFV is equipped with data and voice capabilities that enhances coordination among platforms and communication between on-board crew and dismounted soldiers.
To boost firepower, the AFV will also sport a laser rangefinder and a digitised fire control system that enables stabilisied firing-on-the-move — features not present in its predecessor.
Highlighting the importance of defence science and technology capabilities for modern militaries, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also revealed that a new Mindef Defence Science Scholarship will be launched, to attract the “best capabilities in science and engineering”.
In a media interview ahead of SAF Day on July 1, Dr Ng also shared other plans to maintain the SAF’s edge in each of its three services. For instance, ongoing expansion of the Changi and Tengah airbases offers an opportunity to build a “smart air base”, equipped with more automated and unmanned systems that will boost security and projection powers.
The air force is also looking to ramp up defence systems against air-borne threats, with Dr Ng noting how hijacking planes to threaten Changi Airport were among the Jemaah Islamiyah’s proposed plots.
It is also finalising plans to replace the Super Puma helicopters — which has been in use for over 20 years — and will announce them soon, said Dr Ng. The Chinook helicopters will also be beefed up or replaced with new variants, he added.
For the navy, its mine countermeasure vessels — which are used to detect and destroy sea mines — will be replaced with a completely unmanned fleet. When implemented, this will be “among the world’s first”, said Dr Ng.
The navy is also looking to replace its ageing Landing Ships Tanks (LST) with vessels that have larger carrying capacity for helicopters. “The idea is not just an LST, but a joint multi-mission ship of a larger scale than the LSTs,” he said.
To beef up defence against cyberattacks, Mindef will also roll out the Cyber Security Operations Centre 2.0, an initiative to ensure security of the ministry’s computer networks.
While enhancing asset capabilities, the SAF is also beefing up its training competencies, he said. “It doesn’t mean that you rely on technology and you have less human initiative, or you have less passion, or you can remove the man in the loop.”
The new Armoured Fighting Vehicle to be commissioned by SAF by 2019.
The Republic of Singapore Armed Forces next-generation AFV is equipped with data and voice capabilities that enhances coordination among platforms and communication between on-board crew and dismounted soldiers.