South African defence company BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, a local subsidiary of the global BAE Systems group, has used the 2012 Africa Aerospace and Defence exposition to publicly display, for the first time, the refined 6x6 version of its RG35 armoured and mine protected vehicle.
"This is a new version of the 6x6 -- it's a bit shorter than the original 6x6 prototype," company international marketing manager Hennie Smit told Engineering News Online on Friday.
"This was done to make it more compatible with the 4x4 version of the RG35 and make it a true family of vehicles."
The development path of the RG35 first involved a 6x6 prototype, followed by the development of the 4x4, which, in turn, led to the development of the refined 6x6 vehicle.
While the 6x6 prototype had an inside volume of 15 m3, the refined 6x6 has an inside volume of 12 m3. The 4x4 and refined 6x6 now form the RG35 family.
"You can fulfill five roles with these two vehicles," affirmed Smit.
"The 6x6 can be an armoured personnel carrier or an infantry fighting vehicle, while the 4x4 can fulfill the reconnaissance, patrol and utility roles. The two versions have the same engine, gearbox and axles and the layout of the driver's positions, while not identical, are very similar. The commonality between the two versions is more than 85%."
A "revolutionary" characteristic of the RG35 is that the power pack is mounted on the side of the vehicle, and not at the front or rear.
The entire power pack can slide out on a frame and is fitted with quick couplers for the electrical and hydraulic systems. This allows the power pack to be changed in just 30 minutes. The power pack is connected to the wheels by a Y-shaped driveshaft.