The Singapore Army has put into service a new combat bridging variant of its tracked Hunter armoured vehicle platform, which it revealed in a social media post in mid-October.
Called the Hunter Armoured Vehicle-Launched Bridge (HT-AVLB), the new vehicle was first unveiled during the army Combat Engineers’ 55th Anniversary and commissioned the same day.
The HT-AVLB is jointly designed by the army and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and produced by the local defence and engineering firm ST Engineering. A mixed-reality simulator has also been developed to boost training efficiency and safety, as well as operator competency.
Specifications of the HT-AVLB have not been disclosed, although it is known that the baseline Hunter armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) measures 6.9 m long and 3.4 m wide and has a combat weight of approximately 29 tonnes. Like the AFV variant, the HT-AVLB is equipped with an all-round camera suite that provides high levels of situational awareness and enables the crew to fully manoeuvre and operate its bridging system under armour protection, thereby enhancing their survivability.
According to the Singapore Army, the HT-AVLB – which will eventually replace the service’s ageing SM-1 launched bridges – can be deployed within seven minutes and is networked with other Hunter vehicles. The AFV variant of the Hunter platform is the service’s first combat vehicle to incorporate an indigenously developed battlefield C2 system called the Army Tactical Engagement and Information System (ARTEMIS), which is not only an operating system that governs most of the vehicle’s critical mission equipment – including its weapons, sensors, and communications systems – but also functions as a real-time mission planning tool and can wirelessly exchange information between friendly vehicles via low-latency network radios and wide area communication networks.
The service also commissioned an armoured recovery vehicle variant of the Hunter platform called the Hunter Recovery Vehicle (HRV) on 18 February 2022. First revealed to the public as the Next Generation Armoured Recovery Vehicle (NGARV) in July 2017, HRV is operated by a crew of three that includes a vehicle commander, a driver, and an automotive specialist technician.
The vehicle’s primary equipment is a telescopic knuckle boom crane that can be traversed through a full 360° and a recovery winch with a stated maximum pull of 25,500 kg. DSTA also claims that it features a “first-of-its-kind mechanism” that facilitates swift and easy loading and unloading of the tow bar. When performing a recovery or winching operation with heavy loads, the HRV deploys a front-mounted dozer-like blade as well as a pair of outriggers at its rear to stabilise itself.
by Jr Ng