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6x6 Wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) [ 1983 ]

Despite a worldwide popularity for low-cost, amphibious wheeled armored vehicles, the Belgian SIBMAS only found one taker in the Malaysian Army.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/26/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Emerging from BN Constructions Ferroviaries et Metalliques (BNCFM) of Belgium during the mid-1970s was the export-minded SIBMAS, a 6x6 wheeled armored vehicle with multi-role battlefield intentions. The base model became an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and an Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) and Armored Fire Support Vehicle (AFSV) were soon added to the line. Other marketed types included a mortar carrier, general cargo hauler, armored ambulance, and an armored command post vehicle as well as a variety of possible turret types. Highly traditional in its design, the SIBMAS was only adopted by the Army of Malaysia since its introduction in 1983. Development work began in 1975 producing a pilot vehicle the following year and deliveries to the Malaysian Army ended in 1985, totaling 186 units (including 24 of the ARV variety with the majority being the AFSV-90 mark).

The base IFV variant featured a standard operating crew of three with seating for up to eleven passengers in the rear fighting compartment. Drive power was from a MAN D2566 MK diesel-fueled turbocharged engine delivering 320 horsepower output and installed in a compartment at rear-left in the hull. The entire 6x6 wheeled arrangement was suspended for appropriate cross county capabilities. Road speeds can reach up to 100 kmh on ideal surfaces with operational ranges out to 1,000 kilometers. As an inherently amphibious armored vehicle, the SIBMAS could traverse water sources as required though speeds in such actions reached only 11 kmh - propulsion provided for by a twin propeller arrangement fitted at the lower rear of the hull.

The standard hull design was an all-modern offering with angled, faceted panels along the front and sides of the vehicle. The glacis plate itself was well sloped towards the hull roof line with the driver's compartment centered at front and behind thick bulletproof screens. Additional protection was provided through the flip-up armored visors along the three-panel window arrangement at the cockpit. Access doors for the crew and passengers were fitted along the sides of the vehicle (between the first and second axles). Thick glass vision ports were also found along the sides as were firing ports - the latter serving to allow the occupants to engage enemies with small arms fire from personal weapons typically carried by infantry elements. Road wheels were large, rubber-tired, and of the run-flat variety, giving excellent ground clearance in avoiding obstacles and keeping the belly of the vehicle as far away as possible from detonating mines or IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). Additional crew entry was granted at the rear of the vehicle hull as well.

The ARV model featured a standard operating crew of three and lost its troop-carrying capabilities as well as any turreted armament options. It did, however, feature the requisite heavy-lift crane and towing winch for the ARV role.

The aforementioned AFSV - the SIBMAS AFSV-90 - was outfitted with a 90mm Cockerill Mk III series gun in a traversing two-man turret seated atop the hull roof. The main gun armament was complemented by a 7.62mm FN MAG coaxial General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) installation. Additionally there was a 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine gun on the turret roof. The main gun was coupled to a modern Fire Control System (FCS) for assisted operation and improved first-hit probability. The turret also carried large banks of smoke grenade dischargers for self-screening. A pintle mounting at the rear hull allowed for an additional machine gun to be installed and operated by a passenger through one of the available hull roof hatches.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Belgium national flag graphic

In Limited Service.

BN Construcions Ferroviaries et Metalliques (BNCFM) - Belgium
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Malaysia Malaysia
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Amphibious Assault
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
Onboard systems provide solutions to accomplish a variety of battlefield engineering tasks.
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
General utility-minded design to accomplish a variety of battlefield tasks, typically in a non-direct-combat fashion.
Special Purpose
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

24.0 ft
7.32 m
8.2 ft
2.5 m
9.1 ft
2.77 m
35,274 lb
16,000 kg
17.6 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base BNCFM SIBMAS production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x MAN D2566 MK 6-cylinder inline diesel turbocharged engine developing 320 horsepower driving 6x6 all-wheel arrangement.
62.1 mph
(100.0 kph)
621.4 mi
(1,000.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base BNCFM SIBMAS production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
APC (Base):
1 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun on hull roof.

1 x 90mm Cockerill Mk III main gun.
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
1 x 7.62mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) Machine Gun.
16 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers.

2 x 7.62mm Machine Guns in turret.
1 OR 2 x 20mm Cannons in turret.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank cannon armament
Graphical image of a tank automatic cannon
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun
Graphical image of tank /armored vehicle smoke grenade dischargers

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Dependent upon armament configuration.

SIBMAS - Base APC Model; crew of three with seating for eleven; 1 x 7.62mm GPMG.
SIBMAS AFSV-90 - Light Tank / Armored Fire Support Vehicle; armed with 90mm main gun in two-man turret; crew of three; AA machine gun and coaxial machine gun.
SIBMAS ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle; with powered winch and lift crane; sans turret and armament.
SIBMAS CAR - CARgo Hauler Transport
SIBMAS AMB - Armored AMBulance
SIBMAS COM - COMmand Post Vehicle
SIBMAS MOR - MORtar Carrier
SIBMAS IFV - 20mm cannon in turret
SIBMAS AA - 2 x 20mm cannon in turret for air defense service.

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