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Mar 02, 2007
SA design ordered by US marine corpBack
© Reuse this The latest design from armoured and protected vehicles manufacturer BAE Systems Land Systems OMC, of Benoni, east of Johannesburg, the RG33, has won a $55,4-million order from the US Marine Corps (USMC) for 90 vehicles, and could win follow-up orders that might eventually reach a total of more than 4 000 vehicles.
The RG33 family currently comprises two main variants – a 6x6 vehicle and a 4x4 version; the two vehicles have 90% commonality.
The order is for 75 6x6 and 15 4x4 RG33s.
This contract is part of the USMC’s Mine Resistent Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle programme.
“The RG33 is an advanced version of our RG family of vehicles and was developed specifically to meet the MRAP requirement,” reports Land Systems OMC marketing communications manager Natasha Pfeiffer.
“We were approached by the BAE Systems Ground Systems division in Santa Clara, California, with the MRAP requirement, at the start of last August (2006),” she explains.
“Development of the RG33 – from clean sheet design to completed prototype – took only seven weeks,” she reveals.
“The prototype was shipped to the US, for ballistic tests and display, in September; the seats, specialised ballistic glass, and the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) hydraulic arm were fitted in Santa Clara, and the vehicle was unveiled at the Association of the US Army exhibition in Washington DC in October,” she recounts.
Under test in the US, the RG33 met or exceeded all MRAP survivability requirements.
“The design and development of the RG33 was done using the latest design, modelling, and simulation tools at our facilities in Benoni and Santa Clara, but production series manufacture will take place in York, Pennsylvania,” she elucidates.
Deliveries will in April and will be completed 120 days later.
“The USMC has downselected a few companies, including us, to manufacture initial production batches of MRAP vehicles, which will then be sent on operations and be evaluated on how they perform in the field; the design which is adjudged to best fulfill the requirement could receive substantial follow-on orders,” she states.
To allow for this, the USMC has awarded the competing companies what are called Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (acronymed to ID/IQ) contracts.
ID/IQ is an approach which allows the military to increase the size and duration of contracts when and how they see fit, without having to draw up new contracts to cover the extra orders.
The RG33 employs a monocoque V-shaped hull, benefitting from knowledge gained in recent, and continuing conflicts, and 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 heavy machine gun fire.
The RG33 provides protection against small arms and medium machine gun fire, and mine blast protection at levels at least equal, if not superior, to those found on mine protected vehicles already in service.
In addition, the new vehicle may also be fitted with extra, tailorable, armour packages.
An advanced level of crew and passenger survivability is achieved by the use of blast-resistent seating technology, transparent armoured glazing, and uniquely reconfigurable interior stations.
Edited by: Keith Campbell© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
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