BAE awarded US$56 million US Marine Corps contracts for MRAP work

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BAE Systems has received multiple awards from the US Marine Corps totalling more than US$56 million for five separate contracts for work on the South African designed RG-33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. The awards will provide upgrades for MRAP vehicles currently in the field.

“This work is important to ensure that MRAP vehicles deployed with our troops are enhanced to maximize mission effectiveness and are appropriately supported on operations to ensure availability,” said Chris Chambers, vice president and general manager of the tactical wheeled vehicles product line at BAE Systems.
“Keeping these vehicles capable of performing in increasingly demanding conditions and terrain is paramount, adding to our troops safety and success.”

BAE Systems received awards totalling US$17.7 million for the delivery of RG-33 Special Operations Command (SOCOM) A1 and Armoured Utility Vehicles (AUVs) and related equipment and services.

Also, funding of US$11.8 million was awarded for the delivery of Skydex flooring and Vehicle Emergency Escape (VEE) Window assemblies for selected RG-33 vehicles. The Skydex flooring provides additional ballistic shock protection to the vehicle occupants, while the VEE Window allows soldiers to remove the ballistic rear window in seconds and quickly exit the vehicle in an emergency.

Additional funding in the amount of US$5.8 million was awarded for periodic maintenance and updates to the RG-33 family of vehicles technical data package. A total of US$14.2 million was awarded to provide instructor and field service personnel in support of vehicle operation and maintenance training and to support and maintain the fielded RG-33 vehicle fleet. It will also support the field upgrade of the RG-33 SOCOM A0 vehicle to the A1 configuration with independent suspension and other vehicle improvements. This allows the vehicle to operate more effectively in the rough terrain of Afghanistan and support mission requirements.

Finally, US$7.1 million was awarded to provide a universal MRAP maintenance workforce in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The maintenance workforce will be located in Bagram, Afghanistan with completion expected by December 2011.

The RG-33 is a mine-resistant light armoured vehicle initially designed by BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (formerly Land Systems OMC), a South African subsidiary of BAE Systems. BAE Systems in the US extensively modified it with additional protection, new power train and suspension systems. The RG-33 is one of several vehicles being fielded by the US Armed Forces in Iraq under the MRAP program.

The RG-33 is based on the RG-31, which itself is based on the South African Mamba armoured personnel carrier, although it is roughly twice the weight of an RG-31. There are two primary variants: the standard RG-33 has four wheels and weighs 22 tons while the extended RG-33L variant has six wheels, can carry twice as many people in the back, and weighs 26 to 37 tons depending on the version.

The RG33 is manufactured in several configurations including the category I (4×4), category II (6×6), the heavy armoured ground ambulance (HAGA) and the special operations command (SOCOM) vehicle.

The U.S. has fielded 259 RG-33 4×4 variants in a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) configuration with remote weapon stations, two extra seats, and a rear door assist. The U.S. has also fielded 16 RG-33L 6×6 variants in a Heavy Armoured Ground Ambulance (HAGA) configuration.

The Marine Corps received their first RG-33s, for testing, in January 2007, with orders following the next month.

BAE Systems has built more than 2200 RG-33 MRAP vehicles that incorporate eight different variants, all of which have been successfully fielded in combat zones across the globe.