Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Defence minister Dr Ng Eng Hen commissions Singapore Army's Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV)

First of the hundreds many: Singapore's Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, commissions the Hunter AFV into service by ceremoniously placing the number plate on a combat variant. Looking on are Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Melvyn Ong (in khaki beret), Chief Armour Officer Brigadier General Yew Chee Leung and Chief of Army Major General Goh Si Hou (nearest camera). At more than 6 feet tall, Dr Ng towers over most Singaporeans so note the size of the Hunter.

Formed up: Dr Ng inspecting troops from the Singapore Army's armoured regiments at Armour's 50th anniversary parade yesterday at Sungei Gedong Camp, Home of the Armour.

Infographic source: Ministry of Defence, Singapore

Glass cockpit: Commander's station at the Integrated Combat Cockpit of the Hunter AFV.

At the parade marking the Golden Jubilee of Singapore's armoured forces this afternoon, defence minister Dr Ng Eng Hen commissioned the Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) as the Singapore Army's M-113 replacement, capping a 13-year project as technology finally caught up with the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) vision for a fully digitised AFV that can wield information as a weapon.

The Hunter marks a milestone for the Singapore Army. The AFV's ability to see first and see more will give the army more options for dealing with enemy combatants from beyond the line of sight once the Hunter's capabilities are fully optimised.

The five Hunter variants - Combat, Command, Bridgelayer, Recovery and Armoured Engineer - bring several first to the army's armoured regiments and have features that make this new class of AFV unique among Asian armies.

Sensors on the platform give the crew of the fully tracked, drive-by-wire AFV a 360-degree view around the vehicle. At the heart of the fully digitalised combat platform is the latest iteration of the battlefield management system. It's called ARTEMIS and was developed by the city-state's defence scientists and engineers to improve the Hunter's situational awareness day and night, in all weather and for non-line of sight (NLOS) applications.

At first glance, the AFV appears to follow a conventional layout for contemporary armoured infantry fighting vehicles with the floor plan divided into three functional areas, viz driver, fighting and troop compartments.

The driver's compartment is up front at the left alongside the engine. A well sloped glacis reinforced by spaced armour maximises protection over the forward arc. The driver is provided with a flat screen display showing the camera feeds from 13 cameras that form the all-round surveillance system. The compartment is capped by a single rearward opening hinged hatch with two attached periscopes, with a third side facing periscope mounted on the hull.

The fighting compartment is in the centre while the troop compartment for eight fully equipped infantry is at the rear.

On the 30mm cannon-armed Combat variant shown to the media, the fighting compartment was fitted with a two-person Integrated Combat Cockpit with the vehicle commander (VC) seated on the right  and the gunner on the left. The VC's station is fitted with a top hatch and a single front facing periscope while the gunner has two periscopes.

The periscopes serve as back ups as the primary sensors are inside the fighting compartment, reflecting HQ Armour's revised CONOPS for closed hatch operations. The VC and gunner face three touch screen flat panel displays with drop down menus that can show sensor, weapon status, navigation and vehicle data. The following abbreviated functions were noted by Senang Diri on two different Hunters (the interpretation of the short forms is ours): SUR (surveillance), SIGHT (hunter-killer sight), WPN (weapon), BMS (battlefield management system), DEF (defensive aids, smoke grenades), NAV (vehicle navigation system), DRV (driving data), TRG (online training manuals), HUMS (vehicle health & usage management system).

DSTA engineers programmed the touchscreen functions to be intuitive and user friendly. It is said that users can access any required function with three clicks or less. During pre-commissioning trials, one group of soldiers figured out how the system worked without prior training.

Switches to arm/safe the cannon, coaxial MG and 76mm smoke grenades launchers are found on the panel below the centre screen. Beneath this lies the panel for the Spike anti-tank guided missiles, two of which are carried on a pop-up mount (see above) on the left of the remote controlled weapon station (RCWS).

The VC and gunner each have a two-handed multi-function control handle to control the weapon station or vehicle itself, with the VC said to be able to take over steering of the Hunter if need be.

Mention was made of a laser warning system (LWS) of unspecified origin. The LWS is designed to tell the crew when the vehicle has been illuminated by a laser beam so that they can take appropriate action. During operations, the lasing of a vehicle usually presages the arrival of an incoming laser guided munition.

A new acronym, ARTEMIS, was introduced during the media preview. ARTEMIS is short for Army Tactical Engagement and Information System and is also a clever reference to the goddess of the hunt. (Incidentally, the name Hunter acknowledges another aspect of SAF operations but we won't go there.). ARTEMIS is the latest version of Singapore's homegrown battlefield management system that is the catchall term for the operating system that fuses sensor data from the platform and SAF assets in the vicinity to give the Hunter crew a clear appreciation of the battle situation around their vehicle.

We like the touchscreen function that shows the field of view from any position on the battlefield, with red shading indicating areas visible from the selected geographical position. The ability to automatically plot a route to avoid enemy positions or exposed terrain, and share the route to other AFVs on ARTEMIS should enhance dynamic mission planning among armoured units on the move. We believe that GIS mapping was used to compile these digital maps, which should prove useful for navigation in unfamiliar terrain.

The Combat variant's main armament, a Rafael Samson 30 RCWS, is fitted directly above the fighting compartment. As the gun mount has no deck penetration and is automated, this frees space beneath it as there is no need for a turret basket for the crew.

As with contemporary vehicles that ferry troops into battle, Hunter has a single rear  ramp that is lowered for troops to enter or debus from the vehicle. The ramp also has a single hinged door. Four seats are placed on each side of the troop compartment with troops seated facing one another. The seats fold down when needed and have four-point restraints. Two roof hatches, hinged to open forward, are provided for the troopers seated next to the rear ramp.

Despite the Hunter's larger dimensions compared to the M113 it replaces, space inside the vehicle is tight. No reloads are carried for the 30mm cannon as the estimated 230-round war load is deemed sufficient for the anticipated contact rate before the need arises for a resupply stop.

The Hunter is air-conditioned and has LED "cove lights" placed beneath the air ducts throughout the cabin. But no periscopes are provided for the troop compartment and embarked armoured infantry must rely on the single flat panel screen for the section commander (first seat on the right hand side nearest the fighting compartment) for some idea of where the vehicle is headed.

Hunter has no auxiliary power unit and the engine must be left on to power up the AFV's sensors and combat cockpit.

Brigadier General Yew Chee Leung, Chief Armour Officer and Commander 25th Division, said: "The Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle is the centrepiece of the army's next generation transformation. It is the first fully digitalised vehicle in our army and it incorporates smart and digital technologies catered to our modern-day soldiers who are increasingly tech savvy.

"The Hunter AFV has many enhanced capabilities. It has greater firepower, survivability and mobility and it features for the first time an integrated combat cockpit within the vehicle that enhances our networked warfare capabilities.

"The Hunter AFV is locally developed by our army together with DSTA together with our defence partners. It is designed for our local soldiers to enhance their training and to make training intuitive and the vehicle simple to operate."

Fact File: Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
The Hunter is a next generation drive-by-wire tracked AFV that will replace Singapore Army M-113 armoured personnel carriers. The Hunter was designed and made in Singapore by the Singapore Army weapons staff, Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) and ST Engineering Land Systems. The project began in 2006 with the aim of delivering a digitised AFV with enhanced capabilities for the next generation army. Several prototypes were developed before the final design freeze. Hunter was commissioned into service on 11 June 2019 by Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, at the 50th anniversary parade of the Singapore Army Armour formation. As of 11 June 2019, five variants were announced. These variants are Combat, Command, Bridgelayer, Recovery and Armoured Engineer. Hunter will make its public debut at Singapore's National Day Parade on 9 August 2019.

First Hunter unit: 42nd Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment in 2020. Core group training starts in 2019 for first batch of Hunter instructors and officer cadets.

Hunter Combat variant
Crew: 1 vehicle commander, 1 driver, 1 gunner, up to eight dismounted troops with full equipment

Length: 6.9m (22.6 feet)
Width: 3.4m (11.2 feet)
Height: 3.4m
Weight: 29.5 tonnes
Power-to-weight ratio: 24 hp/ton

Max speed: 70km/h (43.5 mph)
Range: 500km (311 miles)
Vertical obstacle: 0.6m (2 feet)
Trench: 2.1m (7 feet)
Maximum front slope: 60%
[Addendum 12 June 2019 23:00H: Hunter cannot swim.]

Rafael Samson 30 Remote Controlled Weapon Station with Orbital ATK 30mm cannon (230 rounds), ST Engineering Land Systems 7.62mm coaxial general purpose machine gun (500 rounds) and up to two Spike ATGMs. No 30mm and ATGM reloads are carried.

Fire control
DSTA integrated combat cockpit with three touchscreen digital controls tied to the Army Tactical Engagement and Information System (ARTEMIS) and a commander open architecture panoramic sight.

Defensive aids
8 x 76mm smoke grenade launchers.

You may also like:
Eight things to note about the Singapore Army's new AFV (posted in July 2016). Click here

First pix of ARV variant of the new AFV (posted in May 2016). Click here

Tidbits on the Singapore Armed Forces (posted in February 2016). Click here

The old and the new #tank (posted in January 2016). Click here

Guide to SAF MID number plates. Click here


bar code said...

Can play chua dai di thru wifi?

potatoe said...

40 years old marder carries 1250 rounds 20mm, 6 MILAN and 5000 7.62mm, multi-spectral camouflage, IED and radar jammer and used by Indonesia

Puma carries 400 rounds 30mm, 2000 rounds 7.62mm

K21 700 40mm rounds.

Israel has iron-vision with 3D audio helmet and uses AI DSS to autonomous support crew.

Russian has 360 AESA, multispectral sights, etc

After spending 13 years developing the software and put together foreign lego components, can they not spend another few more to modify the RCWS to carry more rounds?

Our hunter looks anaemic.

Mr Tea said...


probably this platform..

wonder the laser warning system was based off trophy aps or developed inhouse by ST.

sepecatgr1a said...

Overall height of 3.4 m is very high compared to contemporary AIFVs which are
mostly around 3.0 m overall maximum height.

No rubber band tracks ? The 30 ton weight class is ideally suited for these type of tracks.

No APU. Even the Malaysian army's AV8 has an APU with noise suppressor.
Can the Hunter perform a silent overwatch with the big noisy engine running & not be detected ?

The Samson turret is fitted for Trophy APS. Perhaps this will be installed in a real war situation.
Note that the Australians will be using Iron Fist APS for their new Boxer 8 X 8s.

I wonder if the engine exhaust on the right side hull is cooled before discharging.
IMHO the exhaust shud be placed further to the rear & in a position closer to
the ground . It is a big IR magnet.

Having no 30 mm & Spike LR reloads is ludricrous. I can understand if infantry carry less ammo but a 29 ton vehicle shud be able be carry at least one reload of main ammo. The Bradley for example carries 300 25 mm ready & 600 stowed rounds, 800 ready & 3,600 stowed 7.62 mm rounds and 5 stowed TOW rounds. The majority if not all other AIFVs carry at least one reload of main cannon rounds and usually multiple reloads
of 7.62 mm.
One feature of the Samson turret is that it can be reloaded from within the armored hull & I am appalled if this will not be put to good use.
Surely, the bean counters must at it again - in a real shooting war it is a given that the SAF projected / theoretical contact rates are too low. The history of battles is littered with situations of planned 24 hour battles turning into multiple day firefights and planned 3 day battles turning into weeks long battles.
If you have ever handled a GPMG you will now how fast your ammo can run out. An AIFV must have at least additional 2,000 rounds of 7.62 mm.

Finally, why have 2 AIFVs in SAF inventory ? The Hunter is huge, while the Bionix is probably more nimble.
I can only guess that each serves a different role.

I think there is a lot of room for improvements for the Hunter.

Kenneth Kwok said...

Not carrying reloads seems to a deliberate choice to
eliminate the explosives in the troop compartment and enhance surviability. A total 180 in concept from the BX.

You have to come out of action to reload anyway, so a Bronco in close support can come up and give you ammo. These are trade-offs. I'm sure they test this in exercises and correct it if need be.

But unless the Hunter has alot of battery capacity, an APU should be included.

And it seems to have grown in width (3.4m vs 3.28m) and height (3.4m vs 3.2m) as compared to the NGAFV when originally revealed.

Locust said...

Sgs greatest minds in DSTA and Mindef worked on this platform to suit her soldiers and doctrines. Everything is deliberate and considered carefully.

The thing is a behemoth and built for expansion. I would not worry about lack of reloads. If needed, it can be implemented.

Not to mention what was deliberately said about the hunter.

David Boey said...

Added this line to the Performance stats -->

Addendum 12 June 2019 23:00H: Hunter cannot swim.

Anonymous said...

David ,

Its really interesting the trade off in Armour Doctrine and the choices made by Singapore. Armour doctrine , armour design has been always a trade off between firepower, protection and mobility. The final limiting factor being terrain. The youtube link below is for a Malaysian Armoured Exerxise and its quite interesting

1. MBTs to some extent are still mobile in some plantation terrain. In the clip as they move off road and into an assembly area, the PT 91s are clearly ok but only up to a point and noticably slower and more deliberate in their movement.

2. In giving up the M113 variants we will have given up the ability to manuvere as in the clip with the hunter, though the terrex could replace the role.

3. There is a doctrinal shift from suppression to an active protection system which is not stated in the hunter specs but its there because nothing else will make doctrinal sense. The open hatch and rear pintle GPMGs on the bionix and M113s were meant for pure suppressive fire against ATGMs and RPGs. That can only be removed if something was added

4. Historical tank and AFV combat was to fight with the commanders heads out for better SA. It seems that with the hunter the old heads out doctrine is out the window. I hope in this case that tech has advanced enough to overcome history.

5. The terrain mix up north has become more mixed with more metalled roads that connect the huge plantations.


IAF said...

HI CJ, do you know if the formation will be putting out a commemorative book or e-book?

David Boey said...

None that I am aware of.

If you are interested to learn more about SAF AFVs, there's mention of armour projects in the DSO National Laboratories anniversary book on Land Systems. I wrote chapters 2 (defence industry) and 4 (development of AFVs).

Chapter 4 contains the first public mention of the names Project Archer (SM1 light tank) and Project Spider (APFSDS round).

Get your copy here -->


Locust said...

In another forum/blog, it is stated that it took 20 30mm rounds o kill of a T 72. Mindef is being realistic in this respect in terms of the possible number of engagements in a very small battlespace.

Also; do take note that Sg will be acquiring hundreds if not a few thousand hunters. And that these AFVs will be part of a sensor and shooter network consisting of other attack platforms.

None of the regional armed forces including the anaemic and increasingly impoverished MAF have reached such levels of integration.

Playtime said...

I was wondering why they didn't go for the 40mm case mate instead.

Shawn C said...

I got up close to the NGAFV at Army Open House a couple years back and noticed it had a heavier armour package and different suspension system to the BX. It’s obviously been designed for heavy armour infantry work accompanying Leo 2SG - hence the initial deployment with 42 SAR. With our old light infantry units now fully transitioned to wheeled AFV, could the Hunter signal the evolution of the SAR into heavy and light Armoured infantry units depending on if they are equipped with Hunters or BX2?

This would explain the 30mm canon (especially if it’s equipped with programable airburst munitions) as it’s a versatile gun. For heavier firepower there should be a nearby Leo 2SG networked into the same platoon net.

Wonder if the Army will also go for the CMI 105mm turret version SAIC proposed to the US Army for their MPF program, or a version equipped with the Griffith III 50mm turret that would make an excellent armoured scout.

I was recently reading accounts of issues the Philippines Army faced during the Battle of Marawai a couple years ago - where their light armoured vehicles were surprised by the insurgents using a lot of RPG-2 (self manufactured) and 40mm HEDP grenades. The Hunter seems designed with urban combat in mind.

Oh and for lack of auxiliary power units, here’s an interesting read: https://dsta.gov.sg/docs/default-source/dsta-about/fighting-vehicle-technology.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Playtime said...

Any photos of it beside a Leo for size comparison?

sepecatgr1a said...

L2SG height to turret roof is 2.48 m
Hunter is almost a meter higher.

Hunter is truly massive and probably one of, if not, the largest AIFV.
As mentioned, most AIFVs overall height is less than 3 m, usually much less.

Hope that due to its large signature, the Hunter does not became the Hunted.

sepecatgr1a said...


See above link for comments about Hunter's massive size.

Locust said...

The height of the new Puma IFV is around 3.6metres with turret. The height of the new Ajax IFV is between 3.3metres and 3.94metres depending on turret used. The brand new T15 has height in excess of 3metres depending on turret used.I would say the brand new NGAFV is in good company pertaining to height (with turret) at 3.4metres. These are likely conscious design changes to suit doctrines...it really depends on whether you want to stick with an antiquated design like the M113 variants e.g Adnan or opt for something more suited for the future..

tragickingdom said...

Can't help but notice the potential shot-trap below the main gun exposing the crew hatches to bounced shots.

sepecatgr1a said...

The Puma manufacturer's Krauss-Maffei 's website
( together with many other websites except
Wikipedia ) states that Puma's height is "ca. 3.1 m".

For Ajax, many websites state that Ajax's height is about 3 m.

AIFVs in the ( up to 30 ton ) class including
Bradley, CV90, Pizarro, Ascod ( from which Ajax is derived - specifically Ascod 2 ),
Dardo & Bionix II invariably have heights up to a maximum of 3 m.

Even the heavy AIFV ( up to 40 ton class & even beyond )
have heights around 3 m. This includes the Puma & Ajax.

The Russian T15 is close to 50 tons.
Details on this heavy AIFV is sparse.

So it is quite incorrect to state that the Hunter is in good company
where height is concerned as almost all current & future AIFVs
are around 3 m in height. Common sense dictates that
an MBT or AIFV should have the lowest possible height as
a design criteria. It remains so for new designs. Furthermore
Hunter is in the 30 ton class.

The M113 is a poor example since it is a 1950s design entering service in 1960
& it is not an AIFV. Its design philosophy is that of a battle taxi.

Locust said...

The Puma's manufacturer's website states roof height i.e. 3.1m i.e.it does not incorporate the turret. Depending on the turret, it can go as high as 3.6m (likely the 30mm dual feed Mauser).

Ditto for the Ajax ifv. The roof height is 2.38m. The height with turret is from 3.24m to 3.94m depending on turret.

The Lynx ifv has height of 3.3m with its stealthy otherwise flat lance turret.

The initial height of the NGAFV with the lance turret is 3.2m. With the new Samson turret it is now 3.4m

My point is that IFVs are getting bigger and taller - the above latest ifvs attest to this. The NGAFV is certainly in good company.

Available details on the latest Russian IFV points to a taller and larger vehicle.

So it is incorrect to state that the NGAFV is too tall. You are spreading an urban legend that may come back and bite you and your comrades.

You mean the MAF does not have an ifv? :)

Jinn said...

I suppose the Bionix series will be used for units engaged in close terrain like plantations etc.

This beast will be used say running up a National highway in more open ground with the MBTs.

May be a need still for a medium tank based on this hull to support aforementioned units in close terrain where large tanks will find it more ponderous to manouver.

Wonder if got aircon?

Jinn said...

...also love all the cameras. Prevent accident but if langa can use as evidence (or of course maybe not)

If they develop a tank version, hope they consider a 120mm gun for ammo standardisation (if the suspension can take the recoil of course)

I suppose too many bells and whistles equals cost and we want numbers so this is a good start.

Name is also better thought out than Bionix or Terrex 'X' series.

Height should not be much issue. Mostly jungle terrain, we're not hiding in open ground anyway behind mounds. If anything I'd be curious how 'armoured' the top end is. Lot of the terrain north of us features overlooking hill convenient to shots from anti tank system (presumably the active defense system will come into play for this)

Does it come in any other colour?

sepecatgr1a said...

We clearly have some folks who are quite ignorant
when it comes to fact checking & also in making
very simple comparisons.
Just blindly looking at numbers is being negligent.
They have no sense of what the numbers mean.

When comparing all the AIFV data & specs, it is plain to see that almost
all AIFVs I mentioned in the 30t & some in the 40t class have
overall max height of 3 m.

AIFV specs refer to one or both dimensions in relation to heights.
One is Height to top of HULL and the other is
Height to top of ROOF.
For those who do not know , "ROOF" refers to turret ROOF.

So KMW Puma's ca. 3.1 m height to ROOF means turret ROOF.
A very easy method of double checking this fact is just by looking at
a picture of a Puma with a man standing next to it.
If the Puma's height to HULL is really 3.1 m as claimed, then it follows that
a soldier must be almost 3 m tall since the picture will show
that the top of the HULL is slightly above the top of the soldier's head.
Otherwise, the Puma must have been designed for giants.

So the Puma's overall height to turret ROOF ( & NOT top of HULL )
is ca.3.1 m. Quite Easily Done !

Ditto Ajax.

The latest AIFVs are in the 40 plus ton ( such as Lynx ) class
& some may exceed the overall height of 3 m, but the design goal
remains the same ie to keep the overall AIFV height to turret ROOF as
low as possible to minimise the visual signature.

With a clean slate design of a 30t class AIFV,
I had hoped that ST & DSTA would have
done better in relation to this critical design detail.

Damien said...

David mentioned 25 Division, finally it is revealed. Now waiting for the Revelation of the full Armor division.

Btw guys just look around our region, do you wonder what IFV most are using or incorporating ? Hint...hint....our first gen Terrex and that includes our neighbours.

David Boey said...

The formation, 25th Division, has been cited in open source literature like Pioneer and Army News for many years. Ditto 21 Div, which is under Guards.