ST Kinetics' platforms allow commanders to identify and engage enemies more effectively. Chief marketing officer Winston Toh explains how the company's network-centric technology ensures success in increasingly complex operating environments.
How does the evolution of combat affect operational development?
Winston Toh: The operational environment of a modern battlefield is complex and dynamic, and presents a variety of challenges. Increasingly, armoured platforms have to play multiple roles in a full-spectrum environment that demands high levels of operational and tactical mobility alongside protection for crew and mission systems.
Situational awareness is therefore crucial for commanders to make split-second decisions upon recognising the severity of the situation. Hence, there is an increasing demand from military forces for digitised fighting units that can exploit information effectively in dynamic operational scenarios.
At the same time, with technology constantly evolving, the systems architecture in the fighting vehicles must be inherently modularso that new capabilities or technologies can be easily integrated to address new threats.
How has ST Kinetics strived to protect soldiers from the insurgent threat?
Survivability of soldiers will always be a key consideration. When ST Kinetics (STK) engineers develop products, the safety and protection of every soldier is the priority. Given the current complex operating environments, the threats will continue to grow, whether they are conventional or IEDs.
A mixture of solutions is therefore needed to deliver the protection that our customers need. This can range from the basic 'v over v' belly for mine blasts protection to the addition of armoured protection suites and weapons systems. Physical measures alone do not ensure survivability, and consequently STK has developed a range of other characteristics to improve survivability.
What are the future-specific requirements that defence agencies need to consider when looking at procuring all-terrain vehicles?
Decision-makers place great emphasis on protection, and how the design and technologies built into the vehicle effectively counter potential threats and allow them to face the enemy with confidence.
Other than protection, they tend to look at mobility, as vehicles commonly need to be driven off-road, on soft ground and even on snow. STK's Bronco family of all-terrain tracked carrier (ATTC) vehicles are perfect examples of outstanding mobility with great protection and up-to-date technology.
Another example is the, as-yet unnamed, next-generation armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) co-developed by STK and Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA). This promises to provide not only outstanding protection and mobility, but also enhanced firepower and situational awareness through a battlefield management system (BMS) and network-centric wireless communications systems.
What compelled STK to develop Terrex 3, even though Terrex 1 and Terrex 2 were very successful?
STK has always been driven by a passion for innovation to deliver customised land systems that meet the stringent operational requirements of defence customers.
Having recognised that there was an opportunity for it to develop Terrex 3 to fulfil the needs of some customers, the company was confident, as it has had great success with Terrex 1 and 2. Not only is Terrex 3 optimised for the full spectrum of military operations - from fighting against insurgents in urban environments, to high-intensity combat operations against conventional military forces - it is also the largest, with a payload of up to 12t. With the addition of Terrex 3 into the family, STK can now offer a full spectrum of infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) that meet the different needs of its customers.
How do you see asymmetric warfare tactics changing the nature and role of military vehicles?
In asymmetric warfare, insurgents will employ kinetic energy weapons as well as IEDs. Therefore, protected armoured platforms will continue to be an important means of troop transportation.
Given the nature of modern conflict, where operations are undertaken as part of a coalition, to what extent are ST Kinetics products interoperable with other forces' land requirements?
STK recognises that interoperable communications on armoured platforms are important. The open architecture of its vehicle platforms means that systems such as the UK's GVA and the US's Victory can be integrated seamlessly and easily upgraded. The ease of integration allows STK's platforms to operate efficiently and effectively in joint operating environments.