BAE systems mine resistant vehicles set to save troops’ lives
London, United Kingdom. - BAE Systems is playing a major and increasing role in protecting front-line troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from roadside bombs and ambushes.
The company is now contributing design and build of three vehicles to the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle program, which is being spearheaded by the U.S. Marine Corps.
MRAPs are the U.S. Pentagon’s top acquisition priority to meet today’s threats and BAE Systems-designed and built vehicles now account for more than 2,300 of almost 5,000 ordered so far. The DoD’s total requirement could rise to more than 20,000.
From an initial contract in January 2007 for two 4x4 and two 6x6 versions of the company’s acclaimed RG33 family of vehicles, a series of orders for the Marine Corps has increased BAE Systems’ contribution to the MRAP program to 2,307 vehicles with a combined contract value of $944.7million.
The MRAPs come in three categories – Category I vehicles carry up to six people and are intended for urban combat operations, Category IIs can carry up to ten people and are geared toward convoy operations and troop transport, and Category IIIs are designed for mine clearance and disposal.
The highly survivable RG33, the most advanced system in the RG series, offers more volume under armor than any other mine-protected vehicle and incorporates the latest designs in protecting against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), small arms, heavy machine gun fire and mines. It features a unique monocoque V-shaped hull designed to deliver enhanced blast protection.
The RG33 incorporates design work that leverages the best expertise from four decades of designing mine-protected and mine-hardened vehicles in South Africa, and the company’s long history of providing high-survivability combat vehicles in the US.
The company’s facilities in the US are now producing RG33 vehicles to deliver US Marine Corps orders worth a total of US$291.2m for 531 Category I (4x4) and Category II (6x6) vehicles, including special operations and ambulance variants.
As well as the RG33, BAE Systems has two other vehicles in the MRAP programme.
In the most recent contract, BAE Systems Land Systems in South Africa, through its partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLS-C), was awarded a $135 million order for 600 Category II RG31 Mk5E vehicles for the Marines. The vehicle is an extended version of the RG31 Mk5 currently in service and which has already proven to be highly effective against mines, IEDs and ballistic threats encountered by US and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And with the recent acquisition of Armor Holdings, BAE Systems will be building 1,170 MRAPS vehicles based on the Caiman family of medium tactical vehicles following a $518.5 million order for 1,154 Category I and 16 Category II vehicles placed in July.
John Swift, MRAP Program Manager for BAE Systems, said: “It is our true privilege to be part of the MRAP team with our full understanding that saving lives tomorrow means delivering these highly survivable vehicles today.”
The view from the front line is that the MRAP vehicle is delivering. According to Marine Corps Brigadier General Michael Brogan: “They are giving troops a sense of confidence that spills into their mission. From a performance standpoint, it’s done its job. From a reliability standpoint, it’s exceeded its job.”
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