KUALA LUMPUR: While we are still talking about making local defence products, our southern neighbour made an important breakthrough in the international defence market. And its the UK Armed Forces this time around, not a country desperate for arms. Thirty years ago it was the Singaporeans who were buying British arms and now its other way around…
From Bronco to Warthog
ST Kinetics Awarded £150m for Delivery of over 100 (edited to correct figure) Bronco Armored All Terrain Tracked Carriers to Replace the British Forces’ Viking All-Terrain Vehicles in Afghanistan
Earlier this month (December 08) the British MoD selected the Bronco for its ‘Warthog’ all terrain vehicle, replacing 108 Swedish made BvS10 Viking currently in service with the Royal Marines and British Army. The vehicles are fulfilling a capability gap addressed by Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) stated by the units in Afghanistan.
The Viking, a 14.2 ton gross vehicle weight (GVW) troop carrier is configured to carry a payload of 6 tons or 12 soldiers. It was originally selected for the Royal Marines for its multi-role, all terrain, rapid deployment operational capability as a lightly armored vehicle capable of operating in jungle, desert and arctic conditions.
Despite their versatility, the Afghan arena proved too tough for the Vikings. While the vehicles effectively negotiated the terrain and provided limited protection against light threats, additional armor protection required to protect from the heavier threats typical to the Afghan conditions severely limited their operational capability and necessitated rapid replacement. Consequently, MoD was seeking a heavier, better protected vehicle to maintain the high level of mobility and operational flexibility without compromising protection.
Bronco with 18 ton GVW was selected for this role, not only for the added payload capability (which translates to capability to carry heavier armor) but also since its the curb already includes integral armor. Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (ST Kinetics) was awarded a contract of about £150m (about S$330m) for the acquisition. The vehicle deliveries will commence in third quarter 2009, with the majority to be delivered in 2010. Four Warthog variants will be built under the contract – Troop Carrier, Ambulance, Command, and Repair & Recovery. ST Kinetics is Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) land systems arm.
Some 600 Bronco ATTCs are already operational with the Singapore Army. The Bronco’s articulated design delivers exceptional mobility across a wide range of terrain and climate. The basic vehicle is delivered with an armor protection which could be augmented to meet MoD requirements, primarily to increase protection against roadside bombs. Bronco will also deliver considerable increases in range, payload and internal capacity over incumbent vehicles currently being used in Afghanistan.
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