US invests in RG-31


The US Marine Corps Systems Command (USMCSC) has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada a further US$21.2 million delivery-order modification for upgrade kits for RG-31 Mk5E vehicles previously delivered under the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle programme.

The kits will enhance the survivability and operation of the RG-31 vehicles to the latest production configuration, the US Department of Defence says. Delivery of the kits is expected to be completed by October next year.

The USMCSC in August awarded GD a US$33.2 million delivery order to produce 27 more of the MRAPs at BAE Systems Land Systems OMC’s factory at Benoni in South Africa. GD in a statement said the 21 RG-31 Mk5EM and six RG-31 Mk5E would be delivered by April next year. The order took the number of RG-31s delivered by GD to the US military to 1679.

The 4×4 RG31, with its a V-shaped hull, was introduced in the mid-1990s and is superficially similar to the SA 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.

According to the 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. The 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.