Bionix Infantry fighting vehicle

by Tan, Eugene

The Bionix infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is an armoured troop carrier of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Developed locally, it entered operational service in the SAF in 1999. Its two main purposes are the ferrying of troops to key battlefield positions, and the provision of additional fire-power in an armoured assault.1

Development and capability
The Bionix was developed between 1991 and 1997 by a tripartite team consisting of the Defence Material Organisation of the Ministry of Defence, the SAF Armour Formation and Singapore Technologies Automotive (STA). Created to augment the army’s ageing fleet of M113 armoured carriers, it is also the first armoured vehicle to be developed in Southeast Asia.2

The pioneer batch of Bionix vehicles was completed in September 1997 and the first contingent equipped with it was the 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (42 SAR). The battalion was fitted out with 40 Bionix IFVs.3

Armed with a small-calibre cannon and machine guns, each Bionix can travel up to 70 km/h and utilises a hydro-pneumatic suspension system, giving it a smoother ride and better traversing capability, especially over obstacles such as trenches. Its driving system, which is more advanced than that of its predecessors, also makes it much more manoeuvrable.4

There are two basic versions of the Bionix: IFV 25 and IFV 40/50. The IFV 25 has a crew of three and can carry seven fully equipped soldiers, whereas the IFV 40/50 has a crew of two and can carry nine soldiers. In terms of weaponry, the former is armed with a turret-mounted 25-millimetre cannon and three 7.62- millimetre machine guns, while the latter carries a 40-millimetre automatic grenade launcher, a .50-calibre and a 7.62-millimetre machine gun.5

A variant of these two models is the Bionix infantry carrier vehicle (ICV), which is lighter than the first two models and can be deployed from a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. It was developed by the STA for the United States (US) Army’s Interim Armoured Vehicle competition in 2000, during which companies pitted against one another for a chance to be awarded a contract by the US Army.6 It eventually lost out to General Dynamics’ Stryker ICV.7

Another variant is the Bionix armoured vehicle-launched bridge. It features a two-part bridge mounted on top of its hull, allowing it to span gaps of up to 20 m. It can also be launched from within the crew compartment under armour protection or via remote control.8

Eugene Tan

1. Le Blond, R. (1997, September 6). Singapore’s new infantry fighting vehicle. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

2. Foss, C. F. (1999, October 1). Singapore drives bionix IFV to new limits. Jane’s International Defence Review, 32(10), 1. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website:
3. Foss, C. F. (1999, August 25). Singapore now armed with Bionix. Jane’s Defence Weekly, 32(08), 1. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website:
Le Blond, R. (1997, September 6). Singapore’s new infantry fighting vehicle. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Le Blond, R. (1997, September 6). Singapore’s new infantry fighting vehicle. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Singapore Technologies Engineering. (2000, June 6). Vision Technologies Kinetics submit bid for US Army interim armoured vehicle. Retrieved 2016, June 23 from Defense Aerospace website:
Army Technology. (2016). Stryker armoured combat vehicle family, United States of America. Retrieved 2016, June 23 from Army Technology website:
Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. (2016). Bionix infantry fighting vehicle. Retrieved 2016, April 28 from Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd website: 

The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Vehicles, Military--Singapore
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Motor vehicles, Amphibious--Singapore
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