The first Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), manufactured by Singapore's defence industries, rolled out at the Singapore Technologies Automotive Limited (STA) at Portsdown Road this evening, 5 Sep 97. This follows the announcement in Mar 97 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Dr Tony Tan, that STA had won a contract to specially design and build a fleet of IFV for the SAF. The SAF will receive the first batches of the vehicle from Jan 98 onwards.
Modern wars are fought with "smart", high technology weapon systems and equipment. The armed forces that is able to harness this highly sophisticated arsenal and integrate it effectively into its operational doctrine will gain a superior advantage. The overall SAF defence capabilities have increased with the acquisition of these IFVs. The Army started thinking about acquiring IFVs seven years ago to top up the shortfall of the M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers. STA was chosen because the SAF has confidence in STA due to the successful completion of upgrading of the M113 undertaken by them in 1993.
With the acquisition of the IFVs, there has been a quantum improvement in firepower, speed and protection. The IFV has thermal imaging sight which means that it can see things on conditions that normal optic vision cannot. As such it is able to fire in the dark and through smoke. The IFV's hydro-pneumatic suspension system allows speeding through rough terrain without feeling the bumps, thus making it more comfortable for the soldiers. The basic hull of the vehicle is made up of aluminium for added protection. With a stabilised turret system, the IFV is also able to fire on the move. The IFV not only travels on land but it is able to swim as well.
There are two versions of the IFV each costing 2.5 million dollars. The first, IFV 25, can sit 10 soldiers and has a 25 mm gun and three mounted 7.62 mm machine guns. It also has night vision devices. The second version, the IFV 40/50, can sit 11 soldiers and come with a 40 mm grenade launcher and the 0.5 inch and 7.62 mm machine guns.
The concept of IFV is not new. There are many types of IFVs used by armed forces all over the world. However our IFV is one of its kind. It is specially designed to suit our own army's needs and specifications. This is because no off-the-shelf IFV could meet the army's requirement as they were designed to operate in different terrain conditions.
The development of the IFV is the result of years of hard work by STA, Defence Technology Group (DTG) and the Army. It is a good example of what the SAF, DTG and local defence industry, working together, are able to achieve in enhancing the SAF's operational capability.
On his arrival at STA, the guest-of-honour, Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General (LT-GEN) Bey Soo Khiang was received by STA's Chairman, Mr Lye Fei. LT-GEN Bey then delivered a speech and subsequently unveiled the first article of the locally produced IFV. Walking away with a cheque of $5000 was Teddy Tay Gwan Joo, 27, the winner of the "Name the IFV" contest. The IFV will be named "BIONIX". The "Name the IFV" contest was introduced in 27 Mar 97 to involve the public in choosing a name for their very own IFV. The army received 8483 entries altogether.
Sumber : Mindef