The US has again placed an order for a further batch of mine-resistant, ambush-protected (Mrap) vehicles designed by South African company BAE Systems Land Systems OMC (Land Systems OMC), which is part of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa. The order is worth $90,6-million and is for fifly-eight RG33 vehicles for the US Special Operations Command.
The RG33s will be manufactured by Land Systems OMC’s sister company in North America (as has been the case with all RG33s, except the prototypes), and will, it seems, all be 4 × 4 vehicles (there is also a 6 × 6 version, the RG33L). However, as in the past, royalties will accrue to the South African company. This order followed only days after the announcement of a $140-million order from the US Marines for 250 additional RG31 Mk5E Mrap vehicles, which will all be manufactured at the South African company’s Benoni plant.
Land Systems OMC recently also launched its RG32M LTV (LTV stands for light tactical vehicle) light mine-protected vehicle on the North American market, but under the designation RG Outrider. The RG32M LTV has already been sold to the Irish Army for use in peacekeeping missions. The Irish ordered 27 of the vehicles in a deal worth €19,6-million, and deliveries will be completed shortly. Sweden operates 260 of the earlier RG32M model. To date, all RG32Ms and RG32M LTVs have been manufactured in South Africa, and the total number of both variants delivered or on order now exceeds 500.
The RG Outrider was demonstrated to senior US military commanders in the second week of February during the Vehicle Systems Demonstration Technology Rodeo at the Nevada Automotive Test Centre, near Carson City, Nevada. It was then displayed, during the last week of that month, at the Winter Symposium of the Association of the US Army, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The RG Outrider is being marketed in the US by BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems (of which BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa is part). The focus is on operations in Afghanistan, where RG32Ms are already successfully serving. “Based on the successful RG series in service with several forces in Afghanistan, including the US, Sweden and recently Spain, the RG Outrider is a versatile, light armoured vehicle designed for first response situations and extreme off-road driving to meet special operations needs,” says BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems president Dennis Morris. “A true all-terrain vehicle, the RG Outrider provides crew with survivability and reliability to complete the evolving missions of today and tomorrow.”
With its V-shaped monocoque hull, steel welded armour and extra side-blast protection, the RG Outrider/32M LTV can protect its crew from armour-piercing rifle fire as well as antitank land mine and improvised explosive device blasts. A 4 × 4 vehicle, it has a gross vehicle mass of only 9 t. All members of the RG32M family make extensive use of commercial off-the-shelf components, reducing maintenance costs and minimising logistical burdens.
As for the RG33, it also employs a monocoque V-shaped hull, which provides appreciable internal volume for personnel and mission equipment. It is designed to the latest standards for protection against improvised explosive devices, mines, small arms fire, and medium machine gun fire. In addition, the vehicle may also be fitted with extra tailorable armour packages. The 4 × 4 and 6 × 6 versions of the RG33 have 90% commonality. It is a medium-weight vehicle with a gross vehicle mass of 22 t – which means it can be airlifted in a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which is, for the Americans, a tactical transport aircraft – and a payload capacity of 7 t.