25 February 2009
Land Systems South Africa introduced a new variant of its RG-series of mine-protected vehicle, which has been deployed with great success by defence forces around the world, at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this week.
The new RG31 Mk6E features improved anti-mine seats, developed in South Africa, which give the vehicle’s occupants enhanced protection from injuries that can be caused by the shock-waves associated with large landmine detonations.
Land Systems SA is jointly owned by global aerospace and defence company BAE Systems (75%) and black economic empowerment group DGD Technologies (25%).
“We are confident that this latest development will further confirm our business as the world leader in mine-protected vehicle technology,” Land Systems South Africa MD Johan Steyn said in a statement this week.
He said the RG series was built on three decades of experience gained in South Africa through vehicles such as the Casspir, Mamba and Mfezi, and that its success was the result of ongoing investment in improving vehicle perfection levels.
“We achieve this by applying new concepts and designs influenced by customer and operator feedback and simulation,” Steyn said.
Major US orders
Since receiving a Canadian armed forces order for RG31 Mk3 vehicles in 2003, the company has sold over 2 200 of the vehicles, including a series of major orders for the US military, which operates both the RG31 and its stablemate, the RG33, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The US RG31s are manufactured both locally as well as under licence by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, and more than 1 300 of the mine-protected vehicles have already been delivered to US and Canadian forces.
The special operations command of the United Arab Emirates has been operating 76 RG31 Mk5 vehicles, of which 70 are armoured personnel carriers and six are command vehicles, since 2007.
Expression of interest
According to the company, several European countries are also expressing interest in the RG31 mine-protected vehicle for their forces, and a recent order from Spain for 100 vehicles confirms this interest.
The company recently won an initial contract from the Irish Army for 27 vehicles of a new variant, the RG32M light tactical vehicle.
“The South African company’s RG-series of products have boosted the country’s exports by more than US$430-million, with a steadily increasing series of additional orders for vehicles, spares and support from new customers around the globe,” Land Systems said.
“It has also created over 300 new jobs at its factory near Johannesburg and many more throughout its supplier network.”
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