Benoni-based BAE Systems SA business unit Land Systems OMC is to build the US Marine Corps a further 250 RG-31 Mk5E (pictured) vehicles for its Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle programme.
The Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada a $227.4 million delivery order this week. Deliveries will be completed by October 2010.
The contract is in addition to the 1402 RG-31 Mk5 Category II vehicles already supplied by General Dynamics under the MRAP programme. Separately, an additional 584 RG-31s were previously ordered by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command for route-clearance vehicles.
“We appreciate the confidence that the US military has in the RG-31 vehicle, as they conduct their missions in a dangerous and uncertain environment,” said Dr. Sridhar Sridharan, senior vice-president of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to once again assist in protecting the lives of US soldiers.”
The contract was signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government.
The 4×4 RG31, with its a V-shaped hull, is superficially similar to the SA Army’s Mamba MRAP and 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.
In addition to the RG31 BAE Systems also produces the RG12 and the RG32M protected vehicles as well as the RG33 4×4 and RG33L 6×6 MRAP vehicles, the latter two manufactured in the US.
According to the wikipedia, the vehicle, in various marks, is used by the Canadian Forces (75 Mk3 with Protector M151 Remote Weapon Station); Colombia (4); France (100 on loan from the US), the Netherlands (5 on loan); Rwanda (6); Spain (100 Mk5E with Samson remote Weapon Station with option for 80 more); United Arab Emirates (76 Mk5); and the US: Special Operations Command: 50 Mk5A1S; US Army: 148 Mk3, 257 Mk5A1 and 111 Mk5E; and the USMC: 12 Mk5A (MRAP Cat I) and 1385 Mk5E (MRAP Cat II).
In addition the United Nations operates 30.
The Engineering News notes 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 $430-million.