The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) new locally-developed tracked Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) called the “Hunter” was commissioned by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on June 11 during the Singapore Army armour formation’s 50th anniversary parade on 11 June. The 29.5 tonne Armoured Fighting Vehicle will replace the Singapore Army’s upgraded but ageing M113A2 Ultra armoured personnel carriers (APCs) which entered service from the 1970s and will operate alongside the in-service Bionix II infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
A first prototype of Hunter AFV earlier known as the Next-Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle (NGAFV) prior to its commissioning was delivered to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in July 2016. The development of the new NGAFV (Next Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle) is a result of a close cooperation between the SAF, DSTA (Defense Science and Technology Agency), and ST Kinetics of Singapore as the manufacturer of the NGAFV. The first locally developed armoured fighting vehicle, the Bionix infantry fighting vehicles, was rolled out in 1999.
The Hunter is armed with a 30mm cannon, a 7.62mm machine gun, eight 76mm smoke grenade launchers, and two anti-tank guided missiles – the first time the missiles have been integrated into an armoured fighting vehicle. A digital steering system, called drive-by-wire, allows the vehicle commander to take over the driving function if needed. Its weapons can be controlled via a touchscreen interface. The baseline is 6.9 m long, 3.4 m wide, and has an overall height of 3.4 m.
It is operated by a crew of three comprising a driver seated on the front left, while the gunner and vehicle commander are seated side-by-side immediately behind the powerpack. Up to eight fully equipped dismounts can be transported in the rear troop compartment. The Hunter crew can mobilise unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to gather reconnaissance and surveillance information remotely, with obvious advantages for stealth manoeuvres and its own protection.