he RG32M LTV and the other two shortlisted vehicles will now be subjected to extensive trials before a final decision is reached, likely to be early next year. The Irish requirement is for 36 vehicles, although press reports indicated that it could, in the end, total 54. This is the second time that Ireland has run an LTAV programme – the first, for 66 vehicles, was cancelled in September 2005.
Although Ireland has followed a policy of neutrality for at least 70 years, the country has contributed to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping from the early days of such operations, and now also partici- pates in equivalent European Union operations. Over the years, 86 Irish soldiers have died while on UN operations, 47 of them in Lebanon between 1982 and 2000. At present, the Irish Army’s main peacekeeping deployments are in Kosovo and in Chad, and the Central African Republic. Thus, Irish forces have been, are, and could very well be, deployed in areas where landmines and improvised explosive devices pose significant threats.
Land Systems OMC is offering the RG32M LTV because the Irish are seeking a patrol
vehicle – something smaller and lighter than the company’s highly successful RG31 family, manufacture of which now totals in the thousands, and which has now reached its Mk 6 version. Although sold in much smaller numbers than the RG31, the RG32 family has also been a success story, with more than 420 sold to several customers around the world, including the Finnish Army, the Swedish Army and the UN.
All RG32Ms are 4 × 4 vehicles. The RG32M LTV provides improved mine protection in comparison with the basic RG32M, ensuring greater blast survivability and thus delivering improved crew safety. It has a V-shaped hull that protects its crew from armour-piercing rifle fire as well as antitank mine blasts.
The original RG32M was designed as a general-purpose mine- hardened vehicle, with integrated ballistic protection, for patrol, reconnaissance, convoy support, and liaison duties. In comparison, the RG32M LTV is a fully fledged light armoured vehicle, yet retains the full mobility, agility and ground clearance of its predecessor, and has a gross vehicle mass of only 9 t. The new version has a 200 mm wider hull, and 50 mm greater head room, giving greater internal space for the crew.
The windows are mounted externally, which both makes more space avail- able inside and increases side-blast protection. The RG32M LTV also enjoys an increased payload of 2 t, and a new design load bay, capable of taking a variety of mission-specific equipment, increasing the vehicle’s versatility. Mission-specific communications and weapons systems can also be easily fitted.
The vehicle can easily be reconfigured, if required. It can operate in most climates and environmental conditions. The design makes extensive use of commercial off-the-shelf components, making maintenance and logistic support simple, straightforward, and economical.
If ordered by Ireland, the vehicles would be built in South Africa.