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Yesterday     2003     2002     2001     2000     1999

SAF commissions locally built howitzer Primus


Minister for Defence, Rear-Admiral (NS) Teo Chee Hean, commissioned the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) new self-propelled howitzer at Kranji Camp on 24 Nov 2003.

Named Primus, this is a highly accurate, mobile artillery platform that will enhance the capabilities of the Army’s Combined Arms Divisions’ forces. It was jointly developed by the Singapore Armed Forces, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics).

In the early 1990s, the Army conceived of a need for a weapon system that combined the range, firepower and accuracy of an artillery system with the ability to keep pace with the high tempo of armoured operations.

 DSTA technologists later worked closely with SAF planners and ST Kinetics engineers to design and develop a system that would meet the Army’s specific operational requirements.

The delivery of the Primus marks the latest milestone in the strategic partnership between the SAF, DSTA and the local defence industry.

Since the late 1980s, this tripartite partnership has also designed, developed and produced weapon systems and platforms such as the Field Howitzer 88 (FH 88), the Field Howitzer 2000 (FH 2000), the ‘BIONIX’ Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the ‘BRONCO’ All Terrain Tracked Carrier, and the SAR 21 Assault Rifle for the Army.

From the outset, the major challenge the team encountered was in designing a platform that could satisfy all the required specifications. DSTA and ST Kinetics had to deliver an SPH that not only matched the performance of other SPHs available in the market, but one that would suit the SAF's unique operational needs.

Some of these specifications included the ability to navigate and move on paved and soft soil terrain, common in our area of operations, as well as the capability to ‘come into action' rapidly. Being lightweight would provide our SPH with this unprecedented mobility, thus emphasis was placed on limiting its weight.

As a result, most of the system and its sub-components were customised to suit the SAF, and a large portion of the design work went into enhancing the weapon system performance through automation, increasing its efficiency and effectiveness.

The result is a closed loop automated fire control system (AFCS) consisting of 5 main subsystems ranging from the patented Ammunition Handling System to the Laser Ring Gyroscopic Navigation & Positioning System.

Combat Weight : 28.3 ton

Maximum Rate: 6 rds / min

Length: 10.21 m

Burst Rate: 3 rds / 20 s

Width: 3.00 m

Sustained Rate: 2 rds / min for 30 min

Height: 3.28 m

Secondary Weapon: 7.62 mm GPMG

Chassis Length: 6.60 m

Operating Range: 350 km

Chassis Width: 2.80 m

Top Speed: 50 km/h

Ground Clearance: 0.45 m

Transmission: GD HMPT-500-3EC

Ground Pressure: 180 kPa

Engine: 550 HP Detroit Diesel

Calibre: 155 mm , 39 Calibre

Emplacement Time: <1 min

Max. Range : 30 km with ER projectile

Displacement Time: 1 min


Crew: 4 men

Source: Ministry of Defence News Release 24 Nov 2003



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26 November 2003

Singapore Time