Key countries in the region are now fielding new fleets of tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) to replace older vehicles that have now become obsolete and in some cases are difficult to maintain as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is no longer in existence.
While some of these new AFVs have come from overseas, an increasing number of countries in the region are now manufacturing their own, with the key subsystems such as engine, transmission, suspension and drive line being imported.
Indonesia has taken delivery from Rheinmetall Defence of Germany 103 Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and 42 Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The former are a mixture of the enhanced Leopard 2RI and Leopard 2+ and support vehicles.
Indonesian company PT Pindad and FNSS Savunma Sistemleri of Turkey have developed the Kaplan medium tank (MT), fitted with the latest Belgian CMI Defence Cockerill 3105 turret armed with a 105mm gun fed by a bustle-mounted automatic loader, which has enabled the turret crew to be reduced to commander and gunner. Following a successful demonstration in August 2018, it was stated that Indonesia would order a minimum of 44 Kaplan MTs.
Indonesia has fielded a large number of locally developed PT Pindad Anoa (6x6) armoured personnel carriers (APCs), plus an increasing number of more specialised versions such as a mortar carrier and an armoured recovery vehicle (ARV). It has also taken delivery from South Korea of a batch of 22 Black Fox (6x6) vehicles fitted with a CMI Defence turret armed with a 90mm gun and a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun (MG).
PT Pindad is now in production of the Badak 90mm Direct Fire Vehicle (6x6), which leverages from the development of the Anoa and is also armed with a 90mm gun and a 7.62mm co-axial MG. The company has also developed the Intal (4x4), which can be used for a wide range of battlefield roles but is typically armed with a roof-mounted protected weapon station armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm MG. There are also a number of specialised versions.
The Indonesian Marine Corps has now taken delivery from Russia of a batch of BMP-3F IFVs, which are optimised for amphibious operations. Like the standard BMP-3 IFV, this is fitted with a two-person turret armed with a 100mm gun, a 30mm co-axial cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG, plus two bow-mounted 7.62mm MGs.
Malaysia has taken delivery from Poland of 48 PT-91M MBTs plus six ARVs, five armoured vehicle-launched bridges (AVLBs) and three armoured engineer vehicles (AEVs). Its fleet of SIBMAS (6x6) and Condor (4x4) vehicles is being supplemented by the procurement of 257 Turkish FNSS Pars (8x8) vehicles, which are now manufactured by the local company DEFTECH under the name of Gempita (Thunder).
There are 12 variants of the Gempita. The baseline IFV is fitted with a one-person turret armed with a stabilised 25mm M242 dual-feed cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial MG. This version is fully amphibious.
The non-amphibious cavalry version is fitted with a South African Denel Land Systems two-person turret armed with a 30mm dual-feed cannon and a 7.62 mm co-axial MG.
Following major upgrades to the French AMX-13 light tank to the AMX-13S1 standard and upgrading its large fleet of M113 APCs and variants, Singapore Kinetics Land Systems has now moved a stage further into the design, development and production of AFVs.
The first of these was the Bionix, which was produced in IFV, APC, ARV and AVLB configurations, with components also being used in the more specialised Trailblazer flail-type mine-clearing system.
The next was the Bronco articulated all-terrain vehicle (ATV), which has been built in large numbers for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in many specialised versions. The UK has taken delivery of an enhanced version, known as the Warthog, for deployment to Afghanistan.
The Next Generation AFV is now in production for the SAF and is also being marketed by US company SAIC with a Cockerill 3105 turret, as fitted to the Kaplan MT.
Singapore has also acquired the German Leopard 2, with most of these being upgraded to an enhanced standard.