Armored Fighting Vehicle
The Bionix AFV is a family of armored vehicles that currently serves the growing Singaporean military.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Bionix carrier first appeared in three pilot vehicles known as the "XV1", "XV2" and "XV3" each appearing in early 1990, late 1990 and early 1991 respectively. Such vehicles served to prove certain mechanical, technological and armament arrangements as viable in a new overall design. These pilot vehicles then allowed finalization to occur in a preproduction form suitable for evaluation by the Singapore defense forces. In all, there would be nine evaluation vehicles produced.
The "Bionix 25" became the initial production model and the first of its kind to be produced indigenously anywhere in Southeast Asia. These examples were delivered with a traversing turret armed with a 25mm Bushmaster M242 series autocannon (produced by ATK Gun Systems) and further backed by a pair of 7.62mm machine guns - one coaxially and another in a flexible mount on the turret roof. A third 7.62mm machine gun system can be mounted over the rear entry/exit ramp to cover infantry. Deliveries of some 300 vehicles commenced in September 1997. The "Bionix 40/50" was similar in form, scope and function to the Bionix 25 before it. The differentiating feature of this type was its addition of new indigenously-developed weapon station cupola which could fit a 40mm automatic grenade launcher or a 12.7mm heavy machine gun for improved offensive and suppression capabilities. The Bionix 40/50 can also reportedly seat 11 passengers.
The "Bionix II" appeared next as upgraded form of the original armored fighting vehicle in 2006. This included improved overall armor protection for the crew and key onboard systems (including attention paid to mine resistance), upgraded communications and digital sharing suites, improved sighting equipment and gunnery services, a 30mm Bushmaster II series cannon of higher capability and a laser rangefinder. These changes served to make the Bionix AFV an even more capable and potent platform.
The Bionix chassis then went on to see battlefield-specific roles developed including an engineering vehicle, a bridgelayer and a dedicated "counter-mine" vehicle. The engineering mount was known as the Bionix ARV (ARV = Armored Recovery Vehicle) while the bridgelayer was the Bionix AVLB (AVLB = Armored Vehicle Launcher Bridge). The former was easily identified by its integrated winch and crane system to help clear the battlefield of debris and destroyed vehicles. The latter fielded a steel bridge 72 feet in length, suitable for setting over trenches and streams to allow mechanized formations to pass. This form was just as easily identifiable by the folded bridge system sitting atop the basic Bionix frame. The counter-mine vehicle version was aptly titled the "Trailblazer" and featured a flail to help detonate mines ahead of the proceeding mechanized forces. This vehicle was vastly different to any other Bionix family product for its high, stout appearance designed specifically to survive mine blasts.
The "Infantry Carrier Vehicle" (IVC) was a proposed Bionix-based tracked system intended to be a light armored vehicle that could be air-transportable. It was completed with a remote weapon station fitting a 40mm automatic grenade launcher as well as machine guns to allow for the firing of all weapons from within the turret. However, the type was not selected for serial production as the established American Stryker armored wheeled vehicle was introduced instead.
A Main Battle Tank form was entertained at some point, this fitting either a potent 105mm or 120mm main gun system. Tests with these guns saw it installed across several turret options but the overall design has since fallen to naught with the Indonesian government electing instead to procure used German Leopard 2A4 tanks for the interim. As of this writing, the main battle tank prospect of the Bionix has not advanced.