US eyes Singapore-made troop carrier

The Terrex is being used by the Singapore Armed Forces to provide foot soldiers with added cover and speed in the battlefield.
The Terrex is being used by the Singapore Armed Forces to provide foot soldiers with added cover and speed in the battlefield.PHOTO: ST KINETICS

ST Kinetics' Terrex 2 beats three rivals to get on Marine Corps' shortlist for $2b contract

The Singapore-made Terrex 2 armoured infantry carrier has been shortlisted by the United States Marine Corps as the war machine that could be ferrying the elite troops to war zones as soon as 2020.

If chosen, the eight-wheeled amphibious vehicle will replace the ageing and lumbering troop carriers that the marines have been using since the 1970s.

Today, the Terrex is being used by the Singapore Armed Forces to provide foot soldiers with added cover and speed in the battlefield. It also gives them invaluable near real-time updates of enemy and friendly troop positions.

Clinching the Marine Corps deal, worth some US$1.5 billion (S$2.1 billion), will be the biggest coup for Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics, which designed and built the Terrex 2.

The defence contractoralso sold more than 100 Warthog - also known as the Bronco - armoured personnel carriers to the British military in 2008 for $330 million.

ST Kinetics' rival in the two-year- long evaluation is British defence manufacturer BAE Systems.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said each firm will have to build 16 vehicles to be delivered from January till 2017 for field tests, with the eventual winner producing more than 200 vehicles by 2020.

For this project, ST Kinetics is teaming up with US defence firm Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). The Fortune 500 scientific, engineering and technology company, based in Virginia, will be in charge of wiring up the Terrex's weapons systems, among other things.

The Singapore-US consortium beat three other rivals, including industry heavyweight Lockheed Martin, to get this far.

Mr Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific defence industry analyst at military publication IHS Jane's, said it was an achievement for ST Kinetics to emerge as a serious contender for a major US military contract, adding: "Singapore's defence technology community is moving in the right direction and Singapore's continual investments in indigenous capabilities are paying off."

He noted that many countries, faced with shrinking defence budgets, want to get bang for their buck with customised, rather than off-the-shelf, capabilities.

"ST Kinetics knows it cannot just export now. It's about joining hands with foreign companies with local know-how to accurately meet the market's demand."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'US eyes S'pore troop carrier'. Print Edition | Subscribe