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Sibmas AFSV-90 Muzium Tentera Darat.JPG
SIBMAS AFSV-90 at the Malaysian Army Museum, Port Dickson.
Type Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin Belgium
Service history
Used by See Operator
Wars Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89)
Production history
Designer Büssing[1]
Designed 1971 (initial prototype)[1]
1975 (SIBMAS)[2]
Manufacturer BN Constructions Ferroviaires et Metalliques[3]
Produced 1981 – 1985[2]
Number built 186[4]
Variants See Variants
Weight 16.5 tonnes (18.2 short tons; 16.2 long tons)[3]
Length 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in)[3]
Width 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)[3]
Height 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in) (hull)[3]
Crew 3 (commander, driver, gunner) + 11 passengers[2]

90mm Cockerill Mk.III[2]
7.62 mm coaxial machine gun[2]
Engine MAN Diesel D 2566 MK six-cylinder water-cooled diesel[2]
320 hp (205 kW) at 1,900 rpm[2]
Power/weight 20 hp/tonne (14.9 kW/tonne)[2]
Ground clearance 0.4m[5]
Fuel capacity 400 litres[5]
1,000 km[5]
Speed 100 km/h[5]

SIBMAS is a Belgian amphibious infantry fighting vehicle. It was engineered from the same prototype as the South African Ratel.[1] In appearance the vehicle is also similar to the Chinese WZ-523 armoured personnel carrier.[6] The SIBMAS was developed between 1975 and 1976 at a department of the BN Constructions Ferroviaires et Metalliques in Nivelles.[3] Production was on an order-by-order basis[3] and commenced only for the Malaysian Army.[2]

Development History[edit]

Following trials with a number of prototypes, a subsidiary of the Büssing company in 1971 commenced the development of the Ratel infantry fighting vehicle to meet the requirements of the South African Army.[1] After evaluating several alternatives, including the EE-11 Urutu, Thyssen Henschel UR-416, and the Panhard M3, South Africa purchased the rights to Büssing's final prototype, then identified as the "Springfield-Büssing Buffel".[7] Büssing subsequently sold the same design to Belgium.[1] The SIBMAS was still in the pre-production stage[3] just as Ratel entered serial production.[7] However, the obvious similarities between the two vehicles led some analysts to erroneously conclude their production was directly linked, and one was a licensed variant of the other.[8]

Belgian engineers had completed a single SIBMAS demonstrator by the end of 1976 and proceeded to trial the vehicle in both Belgium and Malaysia.[3] It was announced that production would not commence until a domestic or export order was finalised.[3] Two amphibious demonstrators were later built, one which was propelled through water by its wheels at a speed of 5 km/h and a second with twin swivel-mounted propellers which could reach speeds of 10 km/h.[3] The base model was armed with a 90mm Cockerill main gun, the same as that fitted to the EE-9 Cascavel as well as late production models of the Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando and FV101 Scorpion;[3] this was designated Armoured Fire Support Vehicle 90, or simply "AFSV-90".[2]

The Malaysian Army placed an order for 186 SIBMAS vehicles in 1981, as part of an $84 million deal with Belgium.[4] This was accomplished under the auspices of Perkembangan Istimewa Angkatan Tentera (PERISTA), a general programme to greatly expand the firepower and mechanized capabilities of the Malaysian security forces, due in part to the ongoing communist insurgency and the escalating threat of a regional conflict between Thailand and Vietnam.[9] Production of the SIBMAS for Malaysia began that year and concluded by 1985.[4] About 162 SIBMAS AFSV-90s were manufactured, the remaining 24 being recovery vehicles[4] with front and rear spades, a power winch, and a large, folding crane.[5] The AFSV-90 replaced the Panhard AML, V-100 Commando, and Panhard M3 in Malaysian service, since it was able to more effectively combine the traditionally separate roles of an armoured car and an armoured personnel carrier onto a single vehicle.[10]

Manufacturing rights to the SIBMAS design were later transferred to Cockerill; however, no further orders were received and production ceased accordingly.[2]

In April 2016, the Malaysian government announced it would be looking into an extensive upgrade programme for its SIBMAS fleet, indicating the vehicle would remain in service for the foreseeable future.[11] However, other sources maintain that the SIBMAS is being gradually retired and replaced by the eight-wheeled DefTech AV8.[12]


The long, box-shaped SIBMAS hull is of all-welded steel construction and provides the crew with protection from small arms fire and artillery fragments.[3] Most SIBMAS variants possess a horizontal roofline, which slopes inwards at the rear. The engine compartment is located in the rear hull and to the left.[2] Engine components are removed through the hull roof for servicing.[3] Passengers may debark from a large door in the rear hull to the right.[2] Entry doors and firing ports are also present in the sides of the vehicle, and there are three hull roof hatches for observation purposes.[3] Drivers are seated at the front of the vehicle and provided with a single hatch cover and three large windows.[2] The turret of the SIBMAS AFSV-90 is located near the hull front, immediately behind the driving compartment, and is provided with three large rectangular hatches.[3]

The SIBMAS was built with power-assisted steering, automatic transmission, and run-flat tyres.[3] It could also be fitted with night vision sights, a nuclear biological and chemical (NBC) protection suite, an electrical air conditioning system, heater, and a winch.[3]

Without additional hull ammunition stowage, the SIBMAS could accommodate a maximum of sixteen passengers.[3]


  • SIBMAS AFSV-90 ( Armoured Fire Support Vehicle ): Standard production model. Armed with a two-man CM-90 turret and Cockerill Mk. III 90mm cannon, one co-axial 7.62mm machine gun, and a roof-mounted 7.62mm machine gun.[5] There are eight smoke dischargers on either side of the turret.[2] An AFSV-90 was also offered with a DEFA D921 90mm low-pressure cannon and turret adopted from the Panhard AML-90 armoured car; this did not enter production.[5]
  • SIBMAS ARV ( Armoured Recovery Vehicle ): SIBMAS modified as an armoured recovery vehicle, including a large winch capable of supporting loads up to 20,000kg, a crane capable of hoisting loads of 10,500kg, and front and rear blades.[2]

A menagerie of other variants were also offered for export but not adopted. This included a SIBMAS with a 30mm RARDEN autocannon, an anti-aircraft variant with twin 20mm autocannon, an anti-tank variant with a bank of HOT or MILAN missiles, a mortar carrier with the Brandt 60 mm LR Gun-mortar, a cargo transporter, a command vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier with a single 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and an ambulance with four litters.[3][5]

In 2010, a SIBMAS was showcased mounting an LCTS90 weapon system by Cockerill. This variant is armed with a new 90mm medium-pressure gun capable of firing the Ukrainian-built Falarick 90 anti-tank guided missile.[13]



  1. ^ a b c d e Landgren, Signe. Embargo Disimplemented: South Africa's Military Industry (1989 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 83–85. ISBN 978-0-19-829127-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 344–355. ISBN 978-0-00-472452-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Pretty, Ronald. Jane's Weapon Systems, 1979–80 (1979 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. pp. 916–917. ISBN 978-0-531-03299-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Chant, Christopher (1987). A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7102-0720-4. OCLC 14965544. 
  6. ^ O'Malley, T.J. (1996). Fighting Vehicles: Armoured Personnel Carriers & Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. pp. 322–342. ISBN 978-1853672118. 
  7. ^ a b "South Africa's impressive history in the design and manufacture of armoured vehicles". South African Engineering News. 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  8. ^ Jacklyn Cock, Laurie Nathan (1989). War and Society: The Militarisation of South Africa. New Africa Books. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-86486-115-3. 
  9. ^ Alagappa, Muthiah (2002). Coercion and Governance: The Declining Political Role of the Military in Asia. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. pp. 262–263. ISBN 978-0804742276. 
  10. ^ Rolls, Mark (2002). The 'arms Dynamic' in South-East Asia During the Second Cold War. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. pp. 80–89. ISBN 978-0754615460. 
  11. ^ Mahadzir, Dzirhan (18 April 2016). "DSA 2016: Malaysian Army Chief states Condor APCs and Scorpion tanks are to be upgraded". London (Kuala Lumpur): Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  12. ^ Wong, Kelvin (3 October 2016). "Hanwha pitches Black Fox at Asia Pacific and Middle East markets". London (Singapore): Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 4 October 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "FALARICK 90 round comprising guided anti-tank missile". Kiev: State Kyiv Design Bureau (LUCH). 2015. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 

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