MELBOURNE, Australia – Singapore's defense ministry has announced that it has awarded a contract to Singapore Technologies Engineering for the production and supply of its Next Generation Armored Fighting Vehicle.

Developed jointly by Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency, Singapore Technologies Kinetics and ST Engineering's land systems division, the Next Generation AFV is expected to provide Singapore's armored forces with enhanced firepower, protection, mobility and situational awareness.

The prototype of the as-yet unnamed vehicle was first revealed last June in an Infantry Fighting Vehicle or IFV configuration and will be commissioned into service beginning in 2019 to replace the upgraded M113A2 Ultra Armored Personnel Carriers in the Singaporean Armed Forces. A spokesman for the ministry contacted by Defense News declined to reveal the contract value and the number of vehicles Singapore will acquire, citing confidentiality issues.

According to data released by the ministry, the vehicle weighs 29 tons and measures 22.6 feet long, 10.8 feet wide and 10.5 feet high. It is reportedly powered by a 711 hp MTU 8V-199 TE20 diesel engine giving the vehicle a maximum speed of 44 miles per hour, and is operated by a crew of three with provision for a further eight troops in the troop compartment.

The vehicle has been designed with the networked battlefield in mind, and will be integrated into the Singapore's Army Battlefield Internet for better battlefield coordination and order dissemination, according to a fact sheet released by the ministry. It will also feature enhanced protection by allowing the crew to fight in a closed hatch environment, using built-in integrated cameras providing 360-degree coverage around the vehicle to allow the crew to operate the vehicle via TV monitors located at the crew stations.

The IFV version shown by Singapore is fitted with a turret mounted with a 30mm chain gun and co-axial 7.62mm machine gun, and has a panoramic commander's sight fitted atop the turret. The Singaporean defense ministry spokesperson told Defense News that the turret is remotely operated.

ST Kinetics is also proposing a version of the vehicle mounting a CMI's COCKERILL 3000 series turret that can mount a 90 or 105mm gun for the US Army's Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. The company had displayed a model of its proposed MPF solution at the recent AUSA Institute of Land Warfare, Global Force Symposium and Exposition.