Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) has won an order worth more than R200 million (€19.6 million) to supply the Irish Department of Defence 27 of its latest RG32 Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) mine hardened patrol vehicles.
The BAE Systems subsidiary says the Irish government placed the order for the vehicles on 10 December with deliveries scheduled from October this year to April next.
The Irish media reports LSSA won the deal – and an option for 27 more vehicles – after a tough two-month field evaluation at the Curragh and the Glen of Imaal Irish Army training areas. The RG32 LTV reportedly beat the Eagle IV proposed by Mowag of Switzerland as well as the Italian Iveco Panther, recently adopted by the British Army.
The Irish military has ordered the RG32 LTV in four variants: standard, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications.
The Irish Independent reports that the country has sought a vehicle of this type for use on peace missions since 2000 adding that “the lack of such a vehicle was highlighted in the Lebanon earlier this year, when two Irish soldiers had a lucky escape after their unarmoured vehicle was caught in a blast from a roadside bomb.”
The new vehicles will operate alongside the 80-strong fleet of Mowag armoured personnel carriers, many of which are in used in Chad and Kosovo by Irish units.
The Irish media add the vehicles will be used for a variety of roles, including transporting Raytheon/Lockheed Martin FGM148 Javelin anti-armour missiles.
The vehicles will be armed with a remotely-operated turret-mounted 12.7mm heavy machinegun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
Irish Defence Minister Willie O’Dea says force protection “remains a key issue in overseas peace support operations and it is very important that vehicles such as these are made available to our personnel.”
LSSA says the LTV has a gross vehicle mass “of only 9 tons, classifying it as a light mine protected patrol vehicle.”
It is an enhanced mine protected variant of the successful RG32M of which about 500 have so far been sold, “providing even greater crew safety and blast survivability”.
The latest variant – also purchased by Slovakia – has a V-shaped hull that protects the crew against armour piercing (AP) rifle fire and anti-tank mine detonations. “Although the vehicle is a fully fledged light armoured vehicle it sacrifices none of the mobility, agility and ground clearance of its predecessor,” the company says.
It was initially designed as an all-purpose, mine hardened vehicle with integrated ballistic protection for convoy support, patrol, liaison and reconnaissance missions. In the LTV configuration it offers more internal crew space, due to 200mm wider hull and 50mm increased head space. Windows are externally mounted providing improved side-blast protection while also freeing up space inside the cabin.
Other features are an improved 2-ton payload capability and a newly designed load bay which can accommodate a variety of mission-specific equipment, increasing the vehicle`s versatility.
“The vehicle can also be easily fitted with mission-specific communications and weapons systems, making it a highly tactical vehicle capable of operating in most climates and environmental conditions,” the company`s marketing material adds.
“With its high commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) content the RG32M provides a cost effective through-life solution with a minimal logistics footprint and the ability to be reconfigured with customer required mission equipment.”
RG32 clients include Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and the United Nations. The vehicle was designed and is built at LSSA at Benoni east of Johannesburg.