Singapore debuts army cutting-edge 5.56mm NG SAR assault rifle

At this year’s International Defense Exhibit, the Singapore Airshow 2024, ST Engineering is unveiling a new generation of its assault rifle, the Next Gen SAR [Singapore Assault Rifle – 21st Century]. This marks an evolution from the SAR 21 rifle. 

Singapore debuts army cutting-edge 5.56mm NG SAR assault rifle
Photo credit: AngFactor

Similar to the transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly, the SAR 21 has now evolved into the Next Gen SAR. This modern weapon retains all the prime characteristics of a bullpup rifle, from its compact size to its easy maneuverability. Thanks to a closer center of gravity, it provides heightened control. 

Ready to impress even the most discerning army experts, this fresh-off-the-line assault rifle is the perfect companion for close-range combat scenarios or the chaos of urban warfare. Not forsaking any of its versatility, it can also host a range of traditional combat add-ons. 

But there’s more. The Next Gen SAR also comes with some special configurations. This includes a sharpshooter set-up featuring a high-tech fire-control system that effortlessly locks on to moving targets. On the other end, we have a grenade-launching set-up that seamlessly integrates with ST Engineering’s STK40GL side-loading launcher.

SAR 21 characteristics

The Singapore Assault Rifle – 21st Century, otherwise known as the SAR 21, is a bullpup assault rifle thoughtfully designed and meticulously manufactured by Singaporean arms company, ST Kinetics. The SAR 21 surfaced after five years of intense development that began in 1996, symbolizing the culmination of profound engineering and thoughtful design. 

Singapore debuts army cutting-edge 5.56mm NG SAR assault rifle
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Boasting an overall length of 805mm [or 31.7 inches] and a weight of approximately 3.82kg without the loaded magazine [or 8.42 lbs], the SAR 21 sets itself apart in the realm of assault rifles. Its barrel spans 508mm in length, equivalent to 20 inches, a feature that significantly enhances its accuracy. Igniting a revolution in firearm ergonomics, the SAR 21 is designed to be user-friendly, housing a built-in laser aiming device and a 1.5x optical scope for the comfort and efficiency of its user. 

Unlike its counterparts, the SAR 21 fires the 5.56x45mm NATO round, a common ammunition type amongst NATO countries. Heralded for its stellar performance in combat, this ammunition is used in various assault rifles and light machine guns, epitomizing reliability and effectiveness. Furthermore, the rifle is equipped with a detachable 30-round box magazine, adding to the convenience and practicality of using the SAR 21.

Combat capabilities

The operational range of the SAR 21 is indeed impressive. It boasts an effective firing range of 460 meters [500 yards] for point targets and up to 800 meters [875 yards] for area targets. The maximum range, on the other hand, can extend an astonishing 3,600 meters [3,937 yards]. The rate of fire for this rifle packs a punch too, clocking in at approximately 450-650 rounds per minute. 

Additional features of the SAR 21 are nothing to scoff at. A built-in LAD [Laser Aiming Device] allows for lightning-quick target acquisition, a passive night vision device facilitates operations after sundown, and there’s even a 5.56mm light machine gun variant. Additionally, the rifle boasts a modular design, making it adaptable by allowing the addition of diverse accessories such as a grenade launcher, bayonet, or bipod. 

In conclusion, the Singapore Assault Rifle – 21st Century [SAR 21] stands as a paragon of firearm design. User-friendly, well-designed and impressively featured, it packs a punch. The adoption of standard NATO ammunition, an effective operational range, and a modular design all contribute to making this a versatile weapon, excellent for various combat situations.

Features of SAR 21

Just as with the M16 rifle, the bolt in this weapon locks open when your magazine is empty. You can remove an exhausted magazine by pushing down the catch lever. To clear the weapon, you’ll need to take out the magazine, draw back the charging handle, and carefully observe the chamber. 

Once you’ve securely loaded a magazine into the housing, the next step to make your weapon “ready” is to cock it and set the cross-bolt safety button, situated right before the trigger guard. Depending on your preference, you can adjust the position of the fire selector button [SEMI or AUTO]. You’ll find this on the stock. 

Last but not least, the switch to activate the laser aiming device is located on the left handguard. When you’re holding the weapon at the ready, your left thumb naturally falls right on it. If you’re having difficulty with the operation due to fouling, you can adjust the gas regulator setting using a coin a screwdriver, or any thin, flat object, for a turn. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can use its textured surface to unlatch the gas regulator and turn it by hand.


Originating in Singapore, the SAR 21 has successfully broadened its international reach, earning recognition in various global markets. In 2005, the Brunei Armed Forces decided to adopt the SAR 21 as their standard-issue service rifle. The rifle boasts superior qualities such as an integrated laser sighting device and advanced fire control system, providing a significant upgrade from their previous equipment. 

However, the use of the SAR 21 is not limited to Singapore and Brunei. Even the Indonesian National Police’s Mobile Brigade Corps [BRIMOB] adopted this efficient firearm into their arsenal in 2012. The decision was influenced by SAR 21’s reliability and ease of operation, crucial traits for managing their often challenging operational environments. 

Lastly, contributing to its global clientele, the Moroccan Royal Guard adopted the SAR 21 in 2006. Given the critical task of protecting Morocco’s King, it was essential to equip the guards with a reliable and powerful weapon. The SAR 21 proved itself to be worthy of this important responsibility.

The Singapore Airshow 2024

The Singapore Airshow 2024 is a biennial aerospace event held in Singapore. It showcases international brands specializing in both military and civilian aircraft, along with their associated technologies.  

Renowned for its extensive product array, the Singapore Airshow typically includes the latest in aviation technology, along with innovative developments in aerospace maintenance and repair. In past events, visitors have been able to explore everything from commercial and military aircraft to helicopters, UAVs, and a variety of aerospace technologies. 

This event attracts a large international audience, with a diverse array of exhibitors from around the world. It is hosted at the Changi Exhibition Centre, which features a 40,000 square meter indoor exhibition space and a 100,000 square meter outdoor display area. Attendance usually numbers in the tens of thousands, including trade visitors, exhibitors, and members of the public. 

The Singapore Airshow is also notorious for the substantial deals brokered at the event. Sales often include aircraft, maintenance, and repair contracts, as well as strategic partnerships between aerospace companies. 


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