Contributor Kimberley Johnson has a story in next months DTI about operational experience with current Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Afghanistan. Without revealing too much, lets say that the commercial-chassis vehicles ponderous size is not working out as it did in Iraq.
That makes BAE Systems RG-35 family, unveiled today at the DSEi show, even more interesting. Evolved from a long line of vehicles designed and built in South Africa, the RG-35 is largely new, and is intended to provide the protection of an MRAP with the mobility of a traditional combat vehicle.
A key feature is that the engine has been moved. Older BAE vehicles had the engine in front, under a long and lightly protected hood. On the RG-35, the powerpack is installed behind the driver, offset to the left, with space for a gun turret and operator on the right. The result is a compact vehicle with space for the driver plus 15 crew, only 2.5 meters wide and with a 15 m turning circle, with all critical systems under armor.
The basic vehicle weighs 18.1 metric tons and is designed to operate at 26 tons for high-mobility operations and 33 tons when kitted with extra armor for urban combat - the design provides for 50 mm of added side armor and 120 mm extra protection on the V-shaped lower hull. The prototype is a 6 x 6, but a 4 x 4 version should be running within a year."