USSOCOM upgrades RG33 fleet for Afghan ops


US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is upgrading most of its mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle fleet with new suspension systems that are better suited for use in Afghanistan.

Jane`s Defence Weekly reports BAE Systems’ Land and Armaments division has been awarded three contract modifications that total nearly $97 million to upgrade 294 of USSOCOM’s RG-33 MRAP vehicles with independent suspension system kits.

A July 28 US Department of Defence statement says the work “will be performed in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom areas of responsibilities and in York, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2010.”

The RG33 was jointly developed by BAE Systems` South African and US operations in 2006 with four delivered to the US Marine Corps in January 2007 for testing.

Army reports BAE Systems had built 2182 RG33 MRAPs for the US Marine Corps, US Army and USSOCOM by November last year.