General Dynamics awarded US$87 million contract for RG-31 MRAP work

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The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada an US$87.3 million contract to modify 425 RG-31 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

The contract provides for the upgrade of various components, including the transfer case, bonnet assembly, exhaust, tyre inflation system, Skydex blast-absorbing flooring material, electrical harness, and remote weapon station, amongst others.
70% of the work will be carried out in Benoni, South Africa, while the remainder will be carried out in Trenton, USA (20%) and Canada and is expected to be completed by the end of July next year.

The BAE Systems Land Systems OMC’s RG-31 was the first mine-resistant vehicle deployed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Defence Industry Daily. Numerous upgrade contracts have been placed with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) Canada, which partnered with BAE OMC of South Africa and its General Dynamics Land Systems parent in the United States. All contracts are signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which is a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government (which also uses RG-31s).

Earlier this month, General Dynamics received a US$47.3 million contract to modify 425 RG-31s with improved engines, heater guards and door actuators. Work will be performed in Benoni and will be completed by no later than June next year.

General Dynamics has received several other RG-31 orders this year, including a US$45.2 million contract in mid-September and a US$41.5 million contract in late July to enhance the survivability and operation of 691 RG-31s.

According to Defence Industry Daily, MRAP modification orders over the last two years to modify 691 vehicles have amounted to more than US$450 million.

The RG-31 Mk5E Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle is a versatile armoured vehicle that comes in several variants, including an armoured personnel carrier, command vehicle, ambulance, armoured utility vehicle and surveillance vehicle.

The 4×4 RG31, with its a V-shaped hull, was introduced in the mid-1990s and is superficially similar to the South African Army’s Mamba. It is certified to protect its crew from rifle and light machine gun fire, anti-tank land-mine detonations and improvised explosive devices. In its standard troop carrying configuration the Mk 5E variant can carry up to ten troops (a driver plus nine others), although it can be configured for many other roles. The vehicle is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun.

According to Wikipedia, the vehicle, in various marks, has been used by the Canadian Forces; Colombia; France, the Netherlands; Rwanda; Spain; United Arab Emirates; and the US: Special Operations Command, US Army and the USMC. In addition the United Nations operates 30.

South Africa exported 508 MRAP vehicles and three armoured cabins to 11 countries in calendar year 2009. Engineering News noted in a report dated February 2009 that since receiving a Canadian armed forces order for RG31 Mk3 vehicles in 2003, the South African RG-series of products have boosted the country’s exports by more than US$430-million.

In total, over 1600 RG-31 vehicles have been delivered through GDLS-C under the MRAP programme and an additional 566 RG-31s have been delivered to US forces under separate contracts.

BAE Systems says it has delivered 2 653 RG-31s to several forces, various versions, around the world.