Singapore’s New Prototype Rifles

STK rifles 13 Feb 2014 blog

Since the ’80s, Singapore has paved its own way in the small arms world, producing the Sullivan-designed Ultimax 100 machine gun and bullpup SAR-21 rifle. Now, information has been released on two new rifle prototypes produced by ST Kinetics, the primary Singaporean army technology company.

Called the BMCR and CMCR (for “Bullpup” and “Conventional Multirole Combat Rifle”, respectively), they are advertised as “giving infantry soldiers maximum lethality in urban operations, ST Kinetics’ new combat rifles are designed for compactness, minimum weight and full ambidextrous operations in a highly configurable multirole package.” The BMCR in particular is touted as “the shortest bullpup in the world”. Apparently the CMCR is still in the non-firing mockup stage of development.

Many of the operating details of both rifles have not been revealed. More coverage can be read at Senang Diri blog.

 

Thanks to Christopher for the tip.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • An Interested Person

    It certainly does not look that short. And spexs have been posted in the comments of that website. You may want to update this post with them.

  • Eurocopter

    Guess the Austrians and the French were on to something, with the Israelis and now the Americans with the DT MDR following suit. After the MDR I expect the “poor trigger, get an AR” argument to me silenced and rendered moot. Done right, bullpups are quite simply superior.

    • I feel this is true, but the margin of superiority is not enough for a nation with an established, modern platform (such as the M4) to switch over.

      I expect the vast majority of “next gen” systems to be bullpups, especially if they’re associated with a new caliber adoption.

      • Vhyrus

        A 55 year old gun is a modern platform?

        • Very much so, yes.

        • Eurocopter

          There is only so much you can do to revolutionize something as “simple” as a firearm. It is still a long way ´till we see ray guns 😉

      • Eurocopter

        Indeed. I´m really eager to know more about the Desert Tech MDR and it barrel conversion kits. After all, that is possibly cheaper and more user friendly, than having to switch uppers. No .308 in the AR15…

        For the military, I could possibly see a future role for a mix between infantry and designated marksman with long barreled bulpups and good variable optics like the VCOG 16 or the S&B Short dot 1-8. That would also transfer over to the civilian world as very ergonomic and user friendly hunting a sport shooting rifles.

    • Gallan

      Strangely the biggest advantage bullpups now have, wasn’t a consideration when they were invented, rifle balance. Rifle accessories like suppressors/UGLs/white light/infrared lasers/thermal optics and upcoming laser designators/ballistic computers/airburst electronics, have made the traditional rifle layout very unwieldy and terrible for CQB.

  • iksnilol

    It is wrong to call it the shortest bullpup rifle, maybe shortest production bullpup.

    That honor belongs to Korobov’s TKB-022:
    http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/korobov-tkb-022-e.html

    525 mm (20.7 inches) long with a 415 mm barrel (16 inches), lighter than the VZ-58 (2.4-2.8 kg). Also one of the plastic gats I wouldn’t mind owning.

    • 1leggeddog

      God that was an ugly gun

      • iksnilol

        Ugly but awesome, just imagine that with some updated aesthetics and a compact 2-7 optic or 1-4 optic, also a quad stack mag wouldn’t hurt either.

        Honestly? I think it looks more ray-gun than ugly, but to each their own taste.

    • I simply repeated their marketing lingo. I am aware of the TKB-022.

      • iksnilol

        You did nothing wrong, just wrong of the makers of the BMCR.

    • Colin

      Even if they did say “the smallest in production” they’d still be wrong, the IWI x95 is way shorter. And, not sure if it counts as “in production”, the L22a2 (SA80 carbine) is a similar size, if not a little shorter still…

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Nathaniel, thank you for the excellent link. The BMCR is the next obvious logical step in the ongoing evolution that began with the SAR-21. Anyone reading deeply and at length into the Senang Diri blog link posted by Nathaniel should take into account the comments and evaluations listed there. Most of them are posted by knowledgeable Singaporeans, many of whom are current or ex-military servicemen with a truly critical eye regarding the subject. Judging from several of the remarks, many of the commentators have had considerable experience with the M-16 / M-4 platforms through the interim SAR-80 / SR-88 to the current SAR-21, so it is definitely worth taking their opinions into account.

  • Eric S

    That bullpup gives me the same sort of feeling I had when i first found my dad’s stash of Playboys.. And I hate bullpups.

  • ColaBox

    Damn that is a nice bullpup. I just hope the grip is interchangeable.

  • mechamaster

    Wow, nice forward faced ejection port and sliding mechanism cover. They need to try bullpup adjustable stock to be added later to accomodate different shoulder size.

  • Matrix_3692

    As a Malaysian, i have no idea where my southern neighbors had faith in the “shortest bullpup” claim, i mean, even the QBZ-95B is obviously shorter(looks like someone’s forgetting the B variant, aka carbine variant), not to mention other production carbines.

    It’s just making them look arrogant.

    • dp

      Sure they are, and as I said earlier – wasting money for no good reason. they have so much money out of shipping they can hire mercs to protect them. I appreciate your frankness bro.

      • Matrix3692

        On the contrary, I’m NOT against small arms R&D (I fully support small arms R&D of small countries), but just their attitude and arrogance that’s irritating me.

        • Owl

          You know what the biggest joke may be? It may be possible that they find your attitude and arrogance irritating too, so you might end up in a mutual staring contest.

          Life’s funny like that.

          “You two are such a cute couple.”
          *In tandem* “ARE YOU MAD!!” 😛

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Dp, please see my reply to our friend Matrix_3692 above — thanks!

        • dp

          Appreciate your note Diverengr. I have personally nothing against Malayan, Chinese or any other ethnicity in the region. I do not have a logical understanding what this SK kinetics is doing and why though. It looks to me like a hobby shop based of pile of misdirected cash.

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Thanks for the reply, Dp. As you probably already know, Singapore Technology Kinetics is the branch of Singapore Technologies Engineering that deals specifically with what they refer to as “Land Systems” and “Specialty Vehicles”, i.e., military small arms, support weapons, artillery weapons and armored fighting vehicles. They have come out with several excellent designs over the years, such as the Ultimax 100 LMG and CIS 50MG 50-caliber GPHMG ( inherited from Chartered Industries Of Singapore, which STK absorbed some years ago ), SAR-21 assault rifle, 9mm Compact Personal Weapon ( an SMG / PDW ), Bionix tracked AFV, Terrex AV81 8×8 APC, Bronco ATTC, 120mm Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System ( SRAMS ), FH-2000 155mm / 52-caliber Field Howitzer, Pegasus 155mm / 39-caliber air-portable Lightweight Self-Propelled Howitzer, Primus SSPH 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer, 40/50 Cupola Weapons System ( incorporating the CIS 50MG and 40AGL 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher ), and 3GL under-barrel 40mm grenade launcher ( which is an advanced replacement for the M203 ), among many others. Some of these weapons systems have been adopted by overseas users, eg., the Bronco ATTC is utilized by the British Army in Afghanistan, and Indonesia has reportedly been interested in the Terrex AV81 ( including possible licenced production ). STK also manufactures and supplies a lot of NATO-standard ammunition to other countries,

            Which begs the question, which some readers on TFB have brought up on occasion : Why have such apparently sound designs not been more widely adopted? The answer may lie in the deeply-convoluted whys and wherefores of that old bugbear of every ordnance manufacturer, “market timing”, along with the politics, “not made here” parochialism, acquisition process inertia, wartime pressures, economic pressures and other factors that have seen many a fine weapons system squeezed out of the running in favor of something that has proven ultimately less suitable. A close examination of the history of firearms and weapons systems procurement will consistently and repeatedly bear this out. This is not to say that the most cost-effective and efficient weapons aren’t often correctly adopted for service ( in fact, many frequently are ) — but it is also disconcerting to find that there are almost as many less-than-optimum choices being made.

            For a better understanding of how STE and STK have evolved and established themselves within the international military-industrial complex, a good way to start is to look up en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ST_Kinetics, http://www.army-guide.com/eng/firm1889.html ( Army Guide – Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd – STK ) and http://www.stengg.com. From there, you can surf numerous related links if you wish to delve more deeply into the subject.

            Out of all this, one thing clearly emerges — Singapore does not generally do things by halves, or without carefully-coordinated effort. The overwhelming majority of their political and economic considerations, including those related to ordnance design and production, stem from a thorough, critical and careful decision-making process designed to maximize cost-efficiency, always keeping in mind the long-term ramifications. They accept that mistakes will occur as the price for venturing forth, but the track record so far indicates that the process they have used has resulted in much long-term success with relatively few serious issues. As a case in point, the BMCR might not be as yet the ultimate bullpup rifle of its generation, and to some may seem a questionable waste of time and R & D funding, but I believe it is being utilized as a useful stepping-stone towards the development of more advanced and effective infantry rifles, and is therefore not entirely without purpose or a case of misdirected cash flow.

          • dp

            When I pay attention to your broader prospective D.E, I must admit you have strong point in many ways. My initial reaction was certainly superficial and all sweeping. However, the fact of a matter is that anyone doing anything of productive nature MUST first see reality of the exchange cycle and that is CUSTOMER first. Without him all the hard work is good for nothing. Again on practical side, I do not see how this otherwise economically vibrant community can impress some much bigger country, be it West or East to purchase their weapon systems. It is nearly ‘feat impossible’. At the same time, I am NOT saying they are not equipped with adequate know-how, just to contrary. There surely is talent there.

            Speaking specifically of bull-pup rifle concept: I have had some inroads in designing it in past. While saying this I remain skeptical about practicality of it. quite Honestly, the only way to do it right IMO, is to make ejection right straight down. Who can do it you would know of? Until this is solved, I remain negative to the idea.

            Finally, any capable individual/ company should have same chance to break ‘ring of monopoly’ of established makers; absolutely. The only ‘detail’ remaining it to be physically able to do it.

        • dp

          I read little more of your previous post I would agree that SR21 was in a way clever design and it was I believe implemented with some local force with Iimited foreign sales. What I see in this picture however is a new, not continuing direction. This type of ejection is very similar, if nor copy of latest design from Kel-tech. So, nothing new really.
          The problem here is that the industry of such mini-state is far in excess of domestic needs; they depend on foreign sales. Of course, similarly acts for example FN and perhaps others. however, it is the tradition which is the decisive factor in addition to sales and service networks. Without it the effort is kind of futile.

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Very good points, Dp, which I certainly agree with — thanks for adding substantially to the discussion!

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      In certain respects, I think you are correct. Also, several of the obviously Singaporean commentators on the “Senang Diri” blog are unhesitatingly but constructively critical of the BMCR and STK’s claims, so the apparent “arrogance” you refer to is really more on the manufacturer’s part than anything else, and even then may not be so much real arrogance as an attempt at marketing publicity, however incorrect it might be.

      Incidentally, I know of numerous Singaporeans who are appalled at, and overtly critical of, the “Ugly Singaporean” image projected by some of their countrymen. It would seem that the “Ugly ( insert whatever nationality you want ) ” will be with us as long as the human race exists, regardless of race, creed, ethnicity or national identity. A brief examination of Mankind’s convoluted social history will bear this out, and none are exempt.

  • dp

    Looks like walking around in circles and wasting money. Why they just do not chuck it and buy Chinese guns; nobody is buying ST crap. No innovation, just toying & BSing. Sorry for rude tone, but I had to say it as I feel. (I slept well btw)

    • Owl

      Just a clarification, the local domestic market of the Singaporean Armed Forces is close to that of the US standing military force. That is a key difference most people overlook when they look at country size. In an area where conscription is enforced, you can easily get a million men under arms, which is close to the quoted number of people in US active service. And each one of them needs a rifle or at least a firearm. Which means that in theory, the Singaporean market really isn’t that small, not including possible foreign sales.

      Just something that slips under the notice of most people.

  • S O

    I suppose the “shortest” claim is in the context of a given barrel length.

  • Just curious…

    OK, there are good, average and… problematic bullpup configuration rifles out there, but wonder why all special operations forces(including countries where bullpups rifles are standard like Britain, France, Belgiun…) adopt the ‘standard configuration’. Please, no ‘flame war’ intended, just genuine curiosity.

    • Yojimbo556

      http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/11/23/french-army-to-replace-the-famas-rifle/

      It is an interesting question, though i have seen pics of Belgian SF with the FS2K. Maybe just personal preference?

    • Michael

      I would say its for using similar equipment as other SF that they work with.
      Sometimes I think they use different equipment than regular troops is because they can. It makes them feel well “special”.

    • Geodkyt

      Honestly?

      The FAMAS and L85 suck. I don’t believe most nations with some variant of the AUG are having their special ops units primarily equipped with a “conventional” rifle in lieu of the AUG. Because the AUG doesn’t suck.

    • 7bs

      Weight issue I guess. Bullpups tend to be quite a bit heavier/chunkier than their M4 counterparts.

  • Perhaps they mean “Shortest Action” and there for shorter length of pull for the typically smaller Singaporean servicemen.

    • Owl

      Or engineers are not salesmen or gun history enthusiasts 🙂

      Be honest, some of them can’t even tell you who the current president is, but can lovingly tell you about the details of their current “baby” (project).

      You know the kind I’m talking about.

  • To Tin Fung

    with all due respect, I’m Singaporean, but I don’t feel good when you take your information from the other side of the bridge..

  • Vincent M.

    To be frank, I’m far more interested what kind of hands the soldiers with CMCRs will have.

  • santi

    We need to up our game here in the states. I am seeing amazing advances over seas and I feel in here – we are still stuck on the typical ar style platform. This is the 21st century, I would to see it mixed up a little. Kel tec is making their version of a bullpup any other US makers?

  • 7bs

    Its funny that the best firearms made by our country are sent out for export rather than issued to our troops. But that’s Singapore for you. Always the businessman first.

    Regarding the BMCR, I hope they added a bolt catch release this time round. And dispense with the metal charging handle assembly and long stroke gas piston for goodness’ sake, it adds a lot of unneeded weight to a gun that’s already heavy as hell. And I haven’t gotten to how badly the scope sucks.