RG31 Mk5 Mine-Protected Vehicle, South Africa
The RG31 mk5 is a 4×4 armoured mine-protected personnel carrier vehicle (MPV) developed by BAE Systems in South Africa. The mk5 is a standard variant in the RG-31 family and specially designed for resisting improvised explosives and mines. The vehicle can accommodate a crew of ten members – nine soldiers and one driver.
The RG31 mk5 vehicle first went into service in early 2006. It has a combat mass of 17,000kg, including a 3,700kg payload capacity and an operational range of 900km.
RG31 mk5 MRAP vehicle variants
The RG31 mk5E is a heavier and stretched variant of the mk5 vehicle, and can carry more troops or cargo load.
The mk5E (extended) was originally developed for the MRAP programme that was initiated in January 2007. The MRAP programme aims at producing mine-resistant ambush-protected armoured vehicles for the US defence forces.
BAE Systems Land Systems OMC is the designer and developer of the RG-31 mk5. General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLS-C) is the prime contractor for all North American programmes, and sells vehicles to the US and Canada.
The RG31 mk5EM is classified as a Category I mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle. The variant offers enhanced blast and ballistic protection and features enhanced mobility over other variants of the mk5. An upgraded version of the RG31 mk5EM will replace the Canadian RG-31s as part of the Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) programme of Canada.
The other variants of the RG31 family include RG31 mk3A, RG31 Sabre and RG31 mk6E.
RG31 MRAP vehicle orders and deliveries
The Canadian Army has had 75 RG31 mk3 vehicles in service since 2006. The US forces (TACOM, SOCOM and MRAP) operate over 2,100 mk5 and mk5E vehicles. Both countries have deployed the RG-1 mk5 vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The UAE has been operating 76 mk5 vehicles since 2007. A total of 100 mk5E vehicles were delivered to the Spanish Army in 2009.
The US Marine Corps ordered 250 RG31 Mk5E mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles with independent suspension in February 2010. The value of the contract is $227.4m and the vehicles were delivered by October 2010.
In July 2010, the US Marine Corps (USMC) signed a $33.2m contract for the delivery of 21 RG31 mk5EM and six RG31 mk5E vehicles. Deliveries were completed by April 2011. In November 2010, USMC awarded a $21m contract for upgrade kits of RG31 mk5E vehicles.
In December 2010, USMC placed a $317.4m order for upgrade kits for RG31 mk5E vehicles in service.
RG31 vehicle features
The RG31 vehicle has a range of features, including high mobility, ease of handling and air-conditioning for comfort. The two main variants are the utility vehicle and the armoured personal carrier (APC). The utility vehicle can carry cargo and the modular mounting allows it to transport a lot of weapons, including the 106mm RCL, 81mm mortar and the 20mm cannon.
The vehicle's high level of protection against improvised explosive devices (IED) and landmines makes it adoptable for multipurpose military applications.
It can be used as a pathfinder to lead convoys and explosives ordnance disposal speciality vehicles by the US Army and US Marine Corps.
The Canadian Army and the US 101st Airborne use the RG31 vehicles as blast-resistant patrol vehicles. The mk5 is also used in several other roles such as armoured utility vehicle, command vehicle, surveillance vehicle and ambulance.
The front and rear axles of the vehicle are from the Axle Tech Series 4000 and are rigid with hub reduction. The wheels are of rim type 11.0 × 20 and use 365/80 R20 Michelin XZL tyres. The main brake system of the vehicle includes pneumatic, dual-circuit and disc brakes with ABS, and the parking brake has pneumatic releases with a spring applied on the rear axle. The vehicle is air transportable through C-5, C-17, C-130 (with partitions) and commercial aircraft.
RG31 mk5 protection
The RG31 mk5 has a V-shaped monocoque-welded steel hull, which provides protection against IEDs and ballistic threats.
The vehicle can protect the occupants against a double landmine of TM-57 under any wheel and single TM-57 mine below the vehicle. It has a ballistic protection against 7.62mm armoured-piercing ammunition, small arm fires and anti-tank mines detonations. The all-steel welded armour can be enhanced with an add-on for enhancing the ballistic protection. The vehicle has front doors and a wide rear door along with roof hatches for emergency access.
The glass windows of the vehicle are bullet proofed and tinted for providing protection and clear vision. It also has night vision, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection.
The RG31 mk5 is powered by a Cummins QSB engine coupled to an Allison 2500 SP Gen 4 transmission, which allows the vehicle to run at a maximum speed of 105km/h. It uses a hydraulic assisted recirculating ball-type steering system.
The all-wheel drive and suspension with semi-elliptic leaf springs and double-acting shock absorbers provide the vehicle with excellent on and off-road mobility.