SINGAPORE ― ST Kinetics is nearly ready to hand over its sample vehicle to the U.S. Army as part of a bid in the service’s Mobile Protected Firepower competition, the company has announced. The Singapore-based firm is partnering with SAIC and CMI Defence in the competition.
Speaking to Defense News at the Singapore Airshow, ST Kinetics Chief Marketing Officer Winston Toh said that the vehicle, which is fitted with the CMI Group’s modular Cockerill 3105 turret, is undergoing testing in the United States that has included firing trials at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in Nevada.
The vehicle being offered by the team, led by SAIC, which is also the system integrator, is the ST Kinetics Next Generation Armored Fighting Vehicle ,or NGAFV, which has been ordered by the Singapore Armed Forces. Production of the vehicles is due to start in 2019.
Toh emphasized the maturity of both the vehicle and turret being offered, noting that both will have ongoing production lines when the U.S. Army equips its first unit with the mobile protected firepower capability, which is expected in 2025.
He also detailed the modifications ST Kinetics made to the vehicle so it would be able to accept the Cockerill 3105 turret, which included strengthening the hull for the larger caliber gun and the fitting of a simulated turret on the chassis prior to carrying out mobility trials.
The Cockerill 3105 turret, which offers a number of different calibers up to 105mm, has been ordered by Indonesia for its General Dynamics European Land Systems combat-ready, eight-wheel drive, armored Pandur II vehicle.
Singapore’s Army previously displayed a recovery vehicle based on the NGAFV in 2017, but ST Kinetics says the country has not ordered any vehicles with the 105mm turret.
The NGAFVs ordered by Singapore are in various configurations, including troop carrier versions fitted with a remote control weapon station armed with an Orbital ATK Bushmaster 30mm cannon and a coaxial machine gun.
ST Kinetics said that the NGAFV with the Cockerill turret has a gross vehicle weight of 32.5 tons, which is slightly higher than the 29 tons of Singapore’s troop carrier.
It will be fitted with a built-in integrated day/thermal imaging camera suite providing 360-degree coverage around the vehicle and allow the crew to fight in a closed-hatch environment. Toh calls it a “future ready, highly digitized platform” that can easily incorporate new technologies throughout the vehicle’s service life.
As Defense News previously reported, Mobile Protected Firepower is a near-term priority in the U.S. Army’s combat vehicle modernization strategy, and will provide infantry brigade combat teams with a protected, long-range, cyber-resilient, precise, direct-fire capability for early or forcible entry operations.
It has requested proposals for the program from industry, due in March, with bid samples of the vehicles due April 1. Up to two companies will be selected to build 12 engineering and manufacturing development, or EMD, preproduction vehicles. The EMD contracts are expected during the first quarter of fiscal 2019 before a winner for the program will be chosen.
SAIC and ST Kinetics are also joining forces in the U.S. Marines Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle program competition with ST Kinetics’ Terrex 2 eight-wheel drive armored vehicle. The team is up against BAE Systems, which is offering the Iveco SuperAV.