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Singapore Military Mulls Using SUVs To Trim Costs

Category: Defence Industry

Singapore’s military is considering using commercial sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to replace its current fleet of custom-built Land Rovers in a bid to trim costs, the defense ministry (Mindef) said April 20.

“Mindef can confirm that there are plans to replace the existing Land Rovers with commercial off-the-shelf all-wheel drive vehicles,” a spokesman told Agence France-Presse, confirming a report in the Straits Times newspaper.

“Many of such vehicles are able to negotiate difficult cross-country terrain and achieve remarkable off-road performance so this narrows the gap between commercial vehicles and military-spec vehicles in terms of maneuverability and mobility,” he said.

The spokesman added many of the commercial vehicles under consideration by Mindef are “sold at very competitive prices”.

To cut costs further, the military is considering a scheme under which the SUVs will be owned and maintained by the private sector but can be mobilized in times of emergency or war, the spokesman said.

A second option being explored is leasing out the vehicles to the private sector, he added.

The spokesman declined, however, to say how much the military could save by using commercial SUVs or how many Land Rovers it owns. The Straits Times report said the military has about 3,000 Land Rovers.

Singapore’s defense ministry has the biggest share of spending among all government ministries.

In the current fiscal year to March 2006, it has a budget of 9.26 billion Singapore dollars ($5.6 billion) which accounts for 31.2 percent of the 29.68-billion-dollar national budget announced by the government in February.


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