- The Straits Times
The Singapore Army’s armoured forces have just ushered in its newest weapons platform, the “Hunter” Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) – and it’s primed to be the centrepiece of efforts to build the nation’s “next-generation army”.
The Hunter AFV was commissioned by Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Armour Formation’s 50th anniversary parade on Tuesday (June 11). At the event, Dr Ng said that the new vehicle would be replacing the Ultra M113 and represent a “significant step-up” in areas such as firepower, mobility and protection.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on June 7, the ministry said the Hunter AFVs are “tougher and more capable” than the Ultra M113s, allowing for the Army to become a “stronger, faster, smarter and more lethal fighting force”.
The Hunter AFV was developed through a collaboration between the Army, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and ST Engineering.
It will also be the Singapore Army’s first-ever fully digitised platform decked with command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems to improve networked warfighting capabilities and operational effectiveness, Dr Ng said.
Here’s what we know about the Hunter AFV:
The Hunter AFV is armed with a Remote Controlled Weapon System that comes with armaments that include:
- 30mm cannon with armour-piercing and high-explosive ammunition
- Anti-tank guided missile for selected variants
- 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
- 76mm smoke grenade launcher
Integrated combat cockpit and enhanced mobility
Being the first platform of its kind to be equipped with an integrated combat cockpit, the Hunter AFV allows the vehicle commander and gunner to operate the war machine using a common set of controls.
The Hunter AFV boasts an automatic target detection and tracking system which enhances the crew’s ability to “quickly and effectively” detect and engage the opposition.
The vehicle commander is given an “independent commander’s sight” for him to search for other targets as the gunner is taking on the enemy.
- The Straits Times
Enhanced mobility and survivability
The Hunter AFV is able to travel longer distances due to its increased speed and operating range.
Equipped with a “drive-by-wire” capability, the vehicle commander can take over the driving functions from the driver when required.
The AFV’s exterior carries an all-round surveillance system that gives the crew a 360-degree field of vision, enabling them to operate close-hatched and remain protected inside the vehicle.
A laser warning system provides early warnings when the crew is being targeted by enemy forces.
Enhanced command, control, communications and computer
Sporting a next-generation tactical command and control system, the crew will be able to operate the vehicle in a fully digitised environment, with digitised mission planning enabling efficient wireless information exchange between military formations and vehicles.
Low latency network radios and wide area communication networks enhance the Hunter AFV’s connectivity by allowing for faster data transfer and wider range.
The Remote Controlled Weapon System is integrated with the command and control system for the crew to quickly identify and share information about a target with neighbouring forces.
The Hunter AFV is also equipped with “vehicle health status” monitoring as part of its “smart vehicle” maintenance and management system.
Should vehicle anomalies, potential system failures or hazards arise, the crew will be informed via audio and visual alerts.
In addition to emergency stop features and safety distance markers, the Hunter AFV comes with a camera view switching capability that commanders can access to direct the driver when reversing.
There will also be voice and video recording within the vehicle to monitor the crew’s operations for training feedback and forensics purposes.