Sunday, May 3, 2015

Singapore Police Force Gurkha MPV

The Singapore Police Force's (SPF) expanded range of protected mobility vehicles includes the Gurkha Multi-purpose Patrol Vehicle (MPV), made in Canada by Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc.

The rarely-seen MPV has been aptly named as the "Gurkha" in SPF service. These vehicles serve the crack 2,000-strong, brigade-size Gurkha Contingent, which is based at the Gurkha Cantonment in the Mount Vernon area. Senang Diri believes the vehicle serves with the hostage rescue force within the Gurkha Contingent.

The Gurkha is protected against armour-piercing 7.62mm NATO and 7.62mm rounds fired from AK-type rifles as well as 12.7mm ball. The MPV is also built to withstand the blast and fragments from roadside bombs.

Along with the Gurkha MPV, the SPF is believed to have taken delivery of a new Austrian-made wheeled armoured vehicle for the Police Special Operations Command.

Both vehicles are expected to be part of the SG50 Mobile Column.  

Gurkha MPV fitted with an open cupola.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Singapore's armoured forces target 50:50 balance between "live" and simulated AFV training

Aim to kill: The sharp end of 48 SAR and 41 SAR Falcon and Glory Company advance to take centrestage during the live-fire demo at the SAFTI live-firing area on 24 April 2015.

It's like World of Tanks on steroids - computer-generated tank warfare realistically recreated for the Singapore Army's armoured forces to sharpen their fighting skills repeatedly, cost-effectively and under close professional supervision.

Headquarters Armour is expanding its range of driving, gunnery and combat simulators to create the capacity needed for the Armour Training Institute (ATI) to achieve a 50:50 balance between training on simulators and live training on AFVs outfield in Singapore and overseas.

Hosting ACCORD members and a visit by employers to HQ Armour on Friday 24 April'15, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Armour Formation updated visitors on the type and features of military simulators at ATI that will spearhead a revamped training programme.

Simulation technology builds on experience running the Armour Simulator Centre's Armour Tactical Trainer (ATT), which used Compu-Scene IV visual simulation technology from GE Aerospace to provide networked simulation training for SM1 tank crew. The Compu-Scene IV visual system and instructional system was state-of-the-art back in 1987. These systems were anchored on the Encore 32/9705 software development computer and provided simulated training in tank tactics up to platoon level.

Things have since moved on at ATI under Project S******.

New AFV simulators
Taking pride of place at ATI are a number of new indoor simulators that offer motion in six degrees of freedom ( Six DOF). Simply put, a trainee can experience movement such as pitch, roll, heave, yaw, sway and surge while sitting in an air-conditioned cabin that replicates driving controls, driving performance and fields of vision of AFVs such as the Bionix 2 infantry fighting vehicle and Bronco all-terrain tracked carrier.

The idea is for armoured vehicle drivers to know their vehicle better in a safe, controlled training environment. Simulator training done indoors allows HQ Armour instructors to inject varying driving conditions, lighting (day/night driving), weather states (rain, haze, sunshine and more) and terrain (local or customised) at the press of a button. Such scenarios can be repeated as many times as needed.

The new 6DOF simulators ensure trainees achieve the required level of proficiency without wearing out or damaging real vehicles, and have zero impact on the tracks/roads (that may need repair/maintenance) or vegetation (that may need replanting after an AFV bashes through).

Simulators are also used to prepare, evaluate and benchmark active and NS units in the Singapore Armoured Regiment (SAR) orbat to keep these SARs at a high level of mission readiness.

Mission rehearsals
The ability to customise terrain options allows operational mission rehearsals so that drivers and vehicle commanders can better appreciate their assigned area of operation (AO) before actually stepping foot in the AO.

Furthermore, simulations done indoors as well as simulated firing engagements done using the Tactical Engagement System allow SARs to strengthen their operational skills in a realistic threat environment against an intelligent and evasive Opposing Force. Such simulations allow Leopard tank and BX crew to practice operating as a coordinated and cohesive fighting force to maximise their destructive potential.

The Singapore Army and HQ Armour are to be commended for the investments in simulation technology. Such training assets reduce wear and tear on AFVs, especially as driving conditions in Singapore's humid climate and the stop/go motion experienced by A vehicles in confined terrain in Singapore places undue stress on the vehicles.

The enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism among HQ Armour personnel when showcasing what the simulators can do was palpable. One could sense that the ATI instructors were eager that the takeaways from the visit were positive ones.

Many thanks for reacquainting interested visitors to developments within SAF Armour. Manoeuvres by personnel from 41 SAR Falcon COY and Glory COY, 48 SAR, HQ Guards, Motorised Infantry Training Institute during the firepower display were well executed and much appreciated by the visitors.

Am particularly thankful to the ATI and 48 SAR instructors who took time to acquaint me with the Leopard 2SG driving simulator. Sliding into the driver's station and strapping on the Leo2 before the driving experience left a positive impression of the Armour Family's professionalism and esprit that I will long cherish.

It's been awhile since I had the opportunity to see HQ Armour firsthand. The visit provided a useful opportunity for comparing what had been seen and experienced in the past with the present day situation.

Drove this Bronco during the media engagement as part of HQ Armour's 35th anniversary. My instructor was an NSF who ORDed years ago.

SM1 driving experience.

Getting acquainted with different tank and artillery ammunition back in 1998 at the Bourges arsenal, France, and getting a close look at an ex-Egyptian Army M4 Sherman tank modified with an AMX-13 turret. Have always found the oscillating turret design interesting.

Media embed with 42 SAR during Exercise Wallaby, which provided a firsthand experience with an ABG during a CALFEX. The then CO of the battalion is the current Chief Armour :)