by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
All photographic images contained in this article were taken by
DefenseReview.com, and they are the exclusive property of
DefenseReview.com. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. All photos were shot with a 7.2-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot digital camera (Model #: DSC-P150).
DefenseReview got to inspect (and sit inside) a number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles at AUSA Winter Symposium and Exhibition 2007 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. One of these was the new BAE Systems RG33 series 4×4 combat/tactical (Category I) MRAP vehicle . The other was a 6×6 (Category II) ambulitic version. BAE has already received an initial $55 million delivery order (February 14, 2006) from the U.S. military for 90 RG33 series armored vehicles (15 4×4 and 75 6×6 RG33s) under an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. This is in addition to a previous order on January 26, 2007 for 2 of each vehicle (4×4 and 6×6) for U.S. Marine Corps testing. Deliveries are to begin this month (March) and all vehicles must be delivered within 120 days. And, it’s highly likely that BAE Systems will continue to receive additional delivery orders for more RG33-series vehicles under the current IDIQ contract and/or other U.S. military contracts.
BAE Systems bills the RG33 (a.k.a. RG-33) as…
offering more volume under armor than any other mine-protected vehicle, as well as incorporating all the latest anti-mine / anti-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) technology, including the requisite monocoque V-hull (a.k.a. monocoque V-shaped hull design) for blast deflection and protection, as well as superior armor protection against enemy small arms threats (a.k.a. rifle rounds).
The RG33 MRAP armored vehicle DefenseReview got to view from both the inside and outside looked good, and showed off the company’s already considerable experience and expertise in designing anti-mine / anti-IED armored vehicles (a.k.a. mine-resistant vehicles). After all, the RG31 (a.k.a. RG-31) "Pathfinder" armored vehicle, manufactured under partnership between BAE Systems Land Systems OMC South Africa and General Dynamics Canada, is already one of the defacto Category I MRAP vehicles in service in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the Force Protection, Inc. Cougar armored vehicle.
There are currently over 400 (approx. 424) RG31 Pathfinders in service with the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM a.k.a. SOCOM) in Iraq and Stan, including over 250 (approx. 265) of the uprated RG-31 Mk5 Pathfinder vehicle.
When we went inside the vehicle, the BAE Systems representative immediately showed us the suspended seats and foot rests to protect against blast impact from land mines and IEDs. He also showed us the internal vault-type locking system on all side doors, which was interesting. The vehicle felt roomy inside, and looked purpose-built, both inside and outside. The RG33 sports a wrap-around turret with bullet-resistant glass viewing windows for the gunner for a better field of view while remaining protected against enemy small arms fire.
The name of the game with the RG33 series is essentially maximized crew survivability, and everything in and on the vehicle communicates that concept.
The RG-33 series features 90% commonality of parts between the 4×4 and 6×6 variants, and features "on-board exportable power for C4I and other mission equipment."
Company Contact Info:
Additional RG33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP Vehicle) Photos:
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Force Protection, Inc. Continues to Supply Buffalo and Cougar Armored Vehicles
Navy Set to Test new MRAP Armored Vehicles from Nine Contractors (Defense Update)
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Armored Vehicles (Defense Update)
MRAP Advance Purchase #2: Oshkosh, PVI & GD (Defense Industry Daily)
MRAP: Survivable Rides, Start Rolling (Defense Industry Daily)