LONDON — Singapore’s ST Kinetics showcased its newest version of its Bronco all-terrain tracked carrier vehicle designed to support a wide variety of mission sets through easy reconfiguration.
First fielded in 2001 to the Singapore Army in 2001, ST Kinetics has produced several hundred of its first-version vehicles with more than 20 variants. The second version of the vehicle was built for the British Army — known in the U.K. as the Warthog — for operations in Afghanistan. The vehicle fleet was withdrawn from the country in 2014.
Bronco 3 is “the combination of the best of the lessons that we have learned in Bronco 1 and 2,” Phillip Ou, an ST Kinetics executive, said at a media briefing Wednesday at DSEI, a defense conference in London, England.
The vehicle is “lighter, more mobile and obviously more better protected,” Ou said.
The chief marketing officer for ST Kinetics, retired Brig. Gen. Winston Toh, said the Bronco 3 “has been 17 years in the making” and is now positioned to be deployed in all facets of a mission, from reconnaissance to troop carrying to combat support, as well as battlefield extraction to resupply.
A common chassis and some other design elements allow the vehicle to be modularly reconfigured, and some systems can be swapped out to meet different missions in about 20 minutes, according to Toh. Vehicle capability can also be expanded by added a trailer to the back with an identical tracked chassis equipped with other sensors or weapons systems.
The 16-ton vehicle — which would include a full payload complement — is able to traverse difficult terrain including sand and snow, which means it can creep up from unexpected directions and fire from locations that could not be accessed by other vehicles.
The vehicle unveiled at DSEI came equipped with a Green Rock tactical counter rocket; an artillery and mortar radar system; an Othello fire-source location system; a 120mm Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System; and a 12.7mm remote weapon station. The radar was fixed to the roof of a vehicle with the mortar system on the back of a trailer vehicle hitched to the first.
While the configuration at the show does not answer a specific requirement in the Singapore military or elsewhere, the company chose to showcase what it anticipates could meet operational needs of a variety of militaries, according to Toh.
The company has yet to find a first customer for Bronco 3, but Toh said ST Kinetics is hopeful the Singapore military would be interested in the new variant in the future.
As militaries around the world look for systems that are versatile, highly mobile, well-protected and can expand mission sets as threats and operational environments continue to change, ST Kinetics believes it has the answer in its Bronco 3.
The company noted its track record with survivability, saying that the Afghanistan-deployed British Warthog encountered more than 30 improvised explosive devices while in theater with no fatalities. Toh said in one particular catastrophic encounter, an IED explosion threw the vehicle up into the air. While one soldier lost his legs in the incident, Toh said the protection on the vehicle saved the soldier’s life.
ST Kinetics has built three preproduction versions of Bronco 3 and will demonstrate the vehicle’s capability in the U.K. next week as it looks for a first customer.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.