|Manufacturer:||Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd - ST Engineering|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Infantry fighting vehicle|
The Bionix AFV (Armoured Fighting Vehicle) was commissioned by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1997. Designed and developed by Singapore Technologies Kinetics (formally ST Automotive), it is a medium-weight tracked vehicle weighing between twenty-two to twenty-eight tonnes. The Bionix was the replacement for the ageing M-113A2 armoured personnel carriers in the Singapore Armoured Regiments (SAR).
The Bionix has been succeeded by the Bionix II, which was "jointly developed by the Singapore Armed Forces, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, and Singapore Technologies Engineering".
Along with the growth and development of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) during the mid 80's, came a need to bolster (and eventually replace) the ageing fleet of M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). This prompted the Ministry of Defence to source for a fleet of armored vehicles to operate in tandem with the current fleet of AMX-13 SM1 light tanks.
With Defence Material Organisation (DMO) being the systems acquisition house, and the participation of the SAF, DMO was appointed to conduct a technology study and recommend the direction ahead for this project. A market survey was conducted in which various armored vehicles including the Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle, the M2 Bradley, and the Schützenpanzer Marder were evaluated. The findings from the market survey showed that none of the off-the-shelf vehicles met the unique requirements of the SAF.
Therefore, the decision was made to develop the AFV locally. Local development was necessary not only because of a lack of suitable off-the-shelf designs, but also this would also serve as a good opportunity to build up the capability of the local defense industries.
Development of the Bionix began in 1988. It took several years before leaving the prototyping phase in 1995 and finally being commissioned in 26 March 1997.
The Bionix is a compact design produced to meet the conditions of Pacific rim countries where small size is a great asset when it comes to travelling among rubber plantations and over roads and bridges not designed for heavy vehicles. The power provided by the 475 hp Detroit Diesel engine to drive its 23 tonnes, ensures the Bionix is able to overcome the most difficult terrain. Future upgrades in horsepower ratings can be developed according to needs.
The integrated power pack is mounted to the right of the vehicle and can be removed from the Bionix as a complete unit in under 15 minutes. The engine is coupled to the General Dynamics Defense Systems HMPT-500EC fully hydro mechanical transmission, with the final drives being provided by David Brown Defence Systems.
The layout of the Bionix is conventional with the driver at the front left, the power pack situated at the front right and the turret in the center with the troop compartment at the rear. The driver enters via a roof hatch that opens to the left rear. When driving closed-down, observation is via three day periscopes, while the center periscope can be rapidly replaced by an image-intensification periscope for driving at night. The driver guides the vehicle using a small steering wheel rather than tillers and, as an automatic transmission is fitted, there are just two pedals - accelerator and brake. The instrument panel is mounted on the left, with the transmission selection box on the right.
The basic production models lacks an in-built NBC protection and air conditioning system, but can be fitted if/when needed.
The gunner has a twin-control handles and a day/thermal sight, with a magnification of x8 and two fields of view (high and low), with stadia for the 25mm cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The commander has an optical relay from the gunner's sight and a single control handle. The vehicle commander has a further five day periscopes to give observation to the turret front, left side and rear; the gunner has three periscopes (1 x M17 and 2 x L794D) to give observation to the right and rear. the gunner has the turret control box mounted to the right of his position and both turret-crew members have an adjustable seat. The communications equipment is installed in the turret bustle.
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