BAE launches new mine resistant vehicle
Abu Dhabi, February 24, 2009
BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa has launched the latest version of its RG series of mine resistant personnel carrier vehicle at Idex 2009.
The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) 2009, which opened at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on February 22, will end on Thursday (February 26).
The new vehicle, the RG31 Mk6E is said to be a new variant of South Africa’s most successful export mine protected vehicle RG31 Mk3.
Since receiving a Canadian armed forces order for RG31 Mk3 vehicles in 2003, the South African company’s RG-series of products have boosted the country’s exports by more than $430 million with a steadily increasing series of additional orders for vehicles, spares and support from new customers around the globe.
It has also created over 300 new jobs at its factory near Johannesburg and many more throughout its supplier network. The special operations command in the UAE operates 76 RG31 Mk5 vehicles, of which 70 are armoured personnel carriers and six are command vehicles. These vehicles have been in service since July 2007.
“We are confident that this latest development will further confirm our South African business as the world leader in mine protected vehicle technology,” said Johan Steyn, managing director of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa.
“The RG series builds on the three decades of experience we have gained in South Africa, through vehicles such as the Casspir, Mamba and Mfezi. Its success is a result of our ongoing investment into ever improving vehicle protection levels. We achieve this by applying new concepts and designs influenced by customer and operator feedback and simulation,” he explained.
Among the latest developments incorporated in the RG31 Mk6E are new anti-mine seats. These provide enhanced protection to the occupants from lumbar spinal injuries which can be caused by the shock-waves associated with land mine detonations.
The seats incorporate shock attenuation crushable elements developed at Land Systems South Africa. Tests have shown that these absorb some of the vertical impulse associated with mine blasts, reducing the likelihood of injury during large landmine explosions.
Since 2004, BAE Systems has sold over 2,200 RG31 vehicles, including a series of major orders for the US military which operates both the RG31 and its stable-mate RG33, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of these, more than 1,300 RG31 mine-protected vehicles have been delivered to the US and Canadian forces.
In addition to ongoing US orders, several European countries are expressing interest in RG31 mine protected vehicle for their forces, and a recent order from Spain for 100 vehicles, confirms this interest, said a statement. – TradeArabia News Service