Saturday, September 26, 2009

ST Engineering Shows Off Spider

Defense News


Singapore Airshow Website

ST Engineering Shows Off Spider

By Wendell Minnick

The 4x4 Spider Light Strike Vehicle, armed with a 120mm smoothbore mortar system, has been undergoing some modifications to make it lighter, said Tay King Penh, senior engineer, Singapore Kinetics' Engineering Development Centre, here at the Singapore Airshow.

"The payload cannot exceed three metric tons," said Tay. "The suspension must be able to handle the weight of the vehicle so we are also doing improvements to reduce the weight of the whole system."

The Spider looks more like a dune buggy than a military platform, but it is equipped with the Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System (SRAMS) built also by ST Kinetics. "This is a High Mobility Light Vehicle," said Tay. "It is made out of a tubular space frame, which makes it very light. The rear power pack engine is a 4-cylinder Peugeot," he said.

The Spider system has a three man crew. Two ride in the SRAMS-equipped vehicle and one rides in the tandem ammunition support vehicle. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 120 km/h and an unladen weight of 1,700 kilograms.

The vehicle can only carry six 120mm rounds for the SRAMS, he said, so a tandem vehicle, minus mortar, provides the ammunition. With a high rate of fire, up to 10 rounds a minute, six rounds clearly will not be enough. At present, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has procured 50 units for the army, said Tay. However, "no foreign orders have been placed."

The SRAMS is a unique mortar system that can be outfitted on a variety of platforms, including the Spider, Humvee and the Bronco tracked vehicle.

"ST Kinetics' 120mm SRAMS can be mounted and fired onboard wheeled or tracked vehicles. It can be integrated onto any platform without major modifications to the vehicle," according to printed material. With a low recoil of less than 25 tons, the Spider's tubular space frame design can handle the stress. The SRAMS also incorporates a "blast diffuser" that reduces the blast overpressures.

"Thus the safety of troops during continuous top charge firing is greatly reduced," according to the material. The mortar can handle Standard 120mm, 120 ER rounds and rocket-assisted bombs. The recoil rate on the ER rounds is 26 tons. The SRAMS also has a navigation and positioning System, power gun drives and an integrated automatic fire control system.