01 Juni 2011
Infantry soldiers charging out of a Terrex ICV. (photo : Cyberpioneer)
Infantry soldiers often trek tens of kilometres to reach their target or objective, are exposed to artillery fire along the way, and attack the objective with just the lightweight weapons they carry in their hands.
Now they have another option.
The introduction of the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) into the Army in September 2009 has revolutionised the way the infantry operates. Since then, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been training its soldiers to operate on the new Terrex platform which gives them more mobility, firepower, protection and networked capabilities.
Such capabilities of an infantry on wheels were demonstrated on 31 May, as part of a parade which marked the operationalisation of 2nd Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (2 SIR) as the Army's first motorised infantry battalion. The battalion had taken delivery of the Terrex in July 2010.
At the demonstration held at the Murai Urban Training Facility, fighter jets and Leopard Main Battle Tanks simulated long-range fires on enemy forces in a built-up area, before a Trailblazer mine-clearing vehicle was called in to clear the path of mines.
Then came the Terrex ICVs, from which infantry soldiers charged out of to close in on enemy forces in the buildings.
Having witnessed the demonstration, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen remarked that the parade was a major milestone in the transformation of the infantry into a key component of the 3rd Generation networked SAF.
He said: "The strength of the 3rd Generation SAF lies not just in its individual pieces of hardware, but its ability to network an array of systems and capabilities."
Commenting that the Terrex ICV links to other mechanised platforms from the Armour, Artillery and Engineer formations that share a common network, Dr Ng said: "Such a network allows the SAF to create an overall fighting system that is flexible and more responsive to the complex demands of the modern battlefield.
From left: 1WO Yeo, LTC Goh and 2LT Tarmidzie are proud to be part of the first motorised infantry battalion. (photo : Cyberpioneer)
"On how the Terrex ICV serves as an asset to infantry troops, Commanding Officer of 2 SIR, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Nick Goh, said that the new platform adds more than just mobility to the troopers.
"As the Terrex is equipped with the Battlefield Management System (BMS) which connects it to other land and air platforms, and our soldiers are equipped with the Advanced Combat Man System (ACMS), our troops are well-connected, have better situational awareness, and can call on the firepower of other assets in the SAF to support their mission."
Regimental Sergeant Major of 2 SIR, 1st Warrant Officer (1WO) Yeo Keng Hua, an infantry soldier for 21 years, added: "In the past, infantry soldiers could only attack the enemy with the weapons they carried, but the Terrex offers a whole suite of more powerful weapon systems that are more effective." The Terrex can be configured with General Purpose Machine Guns and grenade launchers.
1WO Yeo also emphasised the enhanced protection the Terrex ICV offers to infantry soldiers.
"Infantry forces who trek to their objectives are commonly hit by Artillery fire, but with the Terrex and its closed-hatch design, troops are protected in the Terrex, and this increases their survivability in the field," he explained.
Commending 2 SIR for attaining full operational capability in slightly less than a year since taking delivery of the Terrex, Dr Ng said: "This is a significant achievement in meeting a demanding timeline, while testing and establishing new fighting concepts and tactics."
According to one of 2 SIR's platoon commanders, 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Muhammad Tarmidzie Bin Mohamad Taha, this impressive feat was achieved through sheer hard work.
He said: "It's been really taxing on us, to be trained in motorisation on top of the fundamental training for all infantry soldiers.
"But we adapted, learnt quickly, and now, I'm very honoured to work on a cool platform like the Terrex, and to be part of the first motorised infantry battalion."
Present at the parade with Dr Ng were Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong, Chief of Army Brigadier-General Ravinder Singh and other senior officers from the SAF.