Singapore has just ordered its second batch of new armored fighting vehicles designed to replace its aging M113 armored personnel carriers. The Hunter, developed by ST Kinetics, is a tracked vehicle armed with a 30-mm cannon and Spike anti-tank missiles in a retractable launcher. It can carry up to eight troops and is the first fully digital platform in Singapore service. A drive-by-wire system is provided, enabling the Hunter to be driven from any station.
Development of the Hunter was revealed in 2016, with a production contract following in March 2017. The vehicle was formally inducted into army service in June 2019. A follow-on production contract was let in April 2020. Singapore developed a direct-fire variant with a 105-mm Cockerill main gun for the U.S. Army's light tank program. It was not selected but could remain an option for export customers. Command and armored recovery variants are also anticipated.
Israel's IMI Systems has developed an air-launched ballistic missile based on the EXTRA artillery rocket. The Rampage, designed to be carried by fighter aircraft such as the F-15, F-16 and F-35, can reach near supersonic speeds with a range of more than 90 miles. It can pitch up as much as 35 degrees after launch to extend its range. The Rampage does not employ a pure ballistic trajectory in order to make it harder to intercept. It can be launched with a preprogrammed mission and accept mission updates while in flight.
The missile is armed with a 330-pound general-purpose warhead with some penetration capability to defeat targets inside bunkers. The GPS/INS guidance system with anti-jamming protection provides an accuracy of 33 feet (10 m) circular error probable. Development of the weapon began in 2012, with an initial production order reported in 2018. It was first used in combat during operations in Syria in April 2019.
Boeing is developing an extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle (XLUUV) for the U.S. Navy. The Orca is intended for missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare and strike. The 51-foot vehicle has a modular payload bay that can increase the vehicle's length to up to 85 feet, depending on the mission. The diesel-electric propulsion system enables a top speed of 8 knots. The Orca can travel 150 nm before needing to surface to recharge its batteries. It has a maximum range of 6,500 nm and an endurance of several months.
In October 2017, Boeing received an initial contract for design work for its XLUUV submission, which was based on its Echo Voyager demonstrator. The company was chosen to build four Orca UUVs in February 2019, with an order for a fifth following in March 2019. The system completed its critical design review in late 2018. The first vehicle is scheduled for delivery in late fiscal 2020, with all five to be handed over by the end of 2022. Current plans call for the acquisition of nine Orcas. The UUVs are expected to complete extensive testing before beginning operational missions.
Sikorsky's Raider X to Compete for Army Scout Helo Program
Other new records this month include the Raider X, Sikorsky's offering for the U.S. Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, and Saudi Arabia's domestically developed Saqr family of uncrewed aerial vehicles.
Several artillery records have been made current, such as the Turkish Panter towed and Polish Krab and Kryl self-propelled howitzers. The Russian ZSU-23-4 and ZSU-57-2 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns have also been updated.
India Rebuilds Sub Force With French Design
Submarines continue to play a key role in naval warfare. Several records have been updated this month, including the Indian Kalvari-, Pakistani Khalid- and Greek Papanikolis-class diesel-electric boats. The Italian Andrea Doria- and French Georges Leygues-class destroyers have also been brought up to date.
U.S. Army Plans for the Future
The U.S. Army has made some significant organizational changes, including establishing Army Futures Command, new security force assistance brigades and adding armored brigade combat teams. The latest info is now available in our U.S. Army record.
Turkish Intervention Shifts Balance of Power in Libya
The conflict in Libya has taken a new twist in the last several months as increased Turkish support for the U.N.-backed government has enabled it to extend its control over much of the northwestern part of the country. Weapons Editor Brody Ladd looks at how the civil war has evolved over the last year in "Changing Tides In Libya."
The nuclear threat has not gone away despite the counterterrorism and civil conflicts raging around the world. Andy Oppenheimer reviews potential nuclear flashpoints in "Nuclear Roulette."
Analysts around the world have noticed China stepping up its activities in disputed territories while much of the world is distracted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Reuben Johnson has the latest in "China Extends Its Grasp."
Finally, the U.S. Army is expanding the deployment of its newest tool for training and developing foreign armed forces. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey has the story on the new security force assistance brigades in "A Different Sort Of Unit."