BAE OMC’s RG-31 was the first mine-resistant vehicle fielded by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it was used by the 101st Airborne (and reportedly by SOCOM) as a patrol vehicle. Since hostilities began, a series of orders have been placed by US forces through an odd triumvirate: General Dynamics Land Systems Canada was partnered with BAE OMC of South Africa and its GDLS parent in the USA. All contracts are signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government (who also use RG-31s).
General Dynamics did reap 50% of every Cougar MRAP order to Force Protection, via the Force Dynamics partnership, but the RG-31 had been MIA (Missing In Action) in the MRAP competition. An August 2007 order for 600 more vehicles put General Dynamics back in the game as a distant 4th place producer, and other orders followed. Hopefully, US forces will be able to avoid the initial maintenance issues that have given Canadian RG-31s problems in Afghanistan. Thanks to 2 sets of new suspension upgrades, they also hope to mitigate the off-road issues created by a v-hull’s higher center of gravity.
According to General Dynamics, as of August 2007, U.S. forces had ordered 492 RG-31 vehicles, including 309 of the improved RG-31 Mk5 variant for the U.S. Army and Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Almost none of these orders had come through the MRAP program, however – just 20 vehicles as of July 2007, even as competitors like Navistar and Force Protection had seen order book totals approaching 2,000.
They would finish the competition with just under 1,400 MRAP program orders, while the top 3 contenders each finished in the 3,000-6,000 range.
The MRAP Category I MRUV (Mine-Resistant Utility Vehicle) specifies a 6-person vehicle (including both front seats), with blast-resistant design, ballistic glass, gun turret, undercarriage armor and a raised chassis.
Category II JERRV vehicles must seat at least 10, and offer larger mine-protected patrol and specialty vehicle functions for troops and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams.
The CCC – GDLS – BAE OMC team entered the RG-31 Mk5 as its CAT I entry, or RG-31A2 as it’s known by the US Army. RG-31s are one of the lighter MRAP vehicles on the roster, with a combat weight of about 18,500 pounds, as opposed to the Cougar 4×4’s weight of 31,000 pounds empty. The RG-31 MK3 4×4 Mine Protected APC is built from an all-steel welded armor monocoque hull; dismounting is provided via a large rear door for rapid exits and 2 front doors. The RG-31A2 is the latest version of the “Charger,” as the Americans call it, delivering a significant increase in power and payload to meet emerging requirements.
The team’s CAT II entry is the RG-31 Mk5E (“Extended”), a stretched and heavier variant of the RG-31 Mk5 that can carry more troops and/or cargo.
Many RG-31s are currently used by the US Army and US Marine Corps as pathfinder vehicles that take lead convoy roles, or act as specialty vehicles for Explosives Ordnance Disposal teams. The US 101st Airborne uses these vehicles the same way the Canadians do, as proven blast-resistant patrol vehicles whose protection level, mobility and multiple firing ports make them small but formidable opponents. As one report notes:
“On 26 September 2006, a suicide bomber attacked a Canadian convoy 2km from Kandahar Airfield. The bomber detonated a explosives-laden minivan while trying to ram an RG-31 Nyala Armoured Patrol Vehicle. The result differed dramatically from earlier attacks on armoured [Mercedes] G-wagons. Instead of charred wreckage, the blast- resistant [BAE Systems OMC] Nyala limped home with little damage. Instead of wounded or dead, no-one was injured inside the APV.”
No vehicle is invincible, however; a July 2007 land mine attack near Kandahar left 7 crewmen dead. The July 4/07 Edmonton Sun article also notes a series of mechanical issues the Canadian Forces have had with the RG-31 and its independently-manufactured remote weapons system:
“Army records show that at the height of fierce fighting in Afghanistan last summer, more than a quarter of the RG-31 fleet were in the shop with maintenance problems.
The vehicles had a series of electrical and software glitches, many relating to the roof-mounted remote-controlled machine-gun [DID: the Kongsberg Protector M151 RWS, also used on US Stryker vehicles].
Nyala maintenance logs, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, show the vehicles arrived with a series of minor defects.
Records show that between mid-June and mid-July last year, 13 of the 50 Nyalas – some with as few as 550 km on them – were deemed “non-mission capable” by the army.
The ratio has since improved, with only one or two of the current complement of 75 RG-31s down for maintenance at any time.”
The overall MRAP competition breaks down as follows:
|Manufacturer||CAT I||CAT II||Notes|
MaxxPro Dash MaxxPro Plus
|MaxxPro||Top finisher in number of MRAP orders.|
|BAE Systems||RG-33 |
|Won MMPV with RG-33L derivative.|
|Force Protection||Cougar 4×4||Cougar 6×6||Buffalo MRAP CAT-III sole-source. Also received orders before MRAP began.|
|General Dynamics||RG-31 Mk.5/ RG-31A2||RG-31 Mk.5E||Partnered with BAE OMC, Canadian government CCC. Also received orders before MRAP began.|
|No MRAP orders, but sole winner of related M-ATV program with its own design.|
serve w. US Border Patrol
|Alpha failed MRAP testing; 2008 firm bankruptcy & fire-sale acquisition|
|Textron||M1117 ICV||M1117 ICV||Failed MRAP testing; no MRAP orders, but ASV variant widely ordered by Military Police and fire targeting units.|
Of the envisaged 15,771 vehicles in the MRAP-I program as of March 31/08, all have now been ordered – and follow-ons have grown the total further, even as related programs like the more mobile M-ATV and the Army’s MMPV engineer vehicle have grown the overall fleet of blast-resistant platforms.
Thus far, General Dynamics’ 3-way arrangement for the RG-31 has won US MRAP contracts for 1,643 vehicles, in addition to over 400 orders for the smaller RG-31 4×4 that predated the MRAP competition.
This places them a distant 4th in the competition as the last manufacturer to win significant orders, behind Navistar, BAE Systems, and Force Protection.
RG-31 w. LROD armor
Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are issued by the US Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) in Quantico, VA. Contracts are signed with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government in Ottawa, ON. General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada manages the contracts, and works with partner BAE OMC in South Africa to deliver the vehicles. RG-31 Delivery orders include:
#0001: Test vehicles
#0002: 10 4×4 Category I and 10 6×6 Category II
#0003: 600 Category II
#0004: 773 Category I
#0007: 250 Category I
#0002: 10 4×4 Category I and 10 6×6 Category II
#0003: 600 Category II
#0004: 773 Category I
#0007: 250 Category I
May 18/10: A $29.7 million firm-fixed-priced modification under a previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028) for 79 field service representatives to perform RG-31 maintenance and repair services throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq areas of operations.
Work is expected to be complete by May 31/11. This contract modification was a sole-source procurement, and contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/10.
April 6/10: A $28.6 million modification to delivery order #0007 under contract (M67854-07-D-5028). The procurement is for MRAP vehicle engineering change proposal upgrades and associated non-recurring engineering costs to support the 250 LRIP Lot 17 MRAP RG-31A2 vehicles ordered. Work will be performed in Centennial, CO, and Boston, MA, and is expected to be complete no later than Dec 31/10.
March 3/10: A $41.5 million modification to delivery order #0007, covering various associated RG-31 kits. They include the authorized spares list, the prescribed load list, and battle damage repair kits that will support 250 LRIP Lot 17 MRAP RG-31A2 vehicles ordered (the wording of the DefenseLINK release was mangled, this is correct). See also Feb 16/10 entry.
Work will be performed in Fairfield, OH; Buffalo, NY; and Ogdensburg NY, and is expected to be complete no later than December 2010. This contract delivery order was a sole-source procurement.
March 2/10: General Dynamics subsidiary AxleTech International in Troy, MI announces that will supply 250 new RG-31 MRAP vehicles with its proprietary 4500 Series ISAS independent suspension systems. They will be delivered to BAE Systems’ Land Systems South Africa division in South Africa.
The company’s ISAS technology already deployed in Textron’s M1117 Guardian ASV armored cars and Thales Australia’s blast-resistant Bushmaster, and will be used to upgrade Navistar Defense’s top-selling MRAP, the MaxxPro. AxleTech says that “major components” are common to BAE’s RG-31, RG-33 and Husky blast-resistant vehicles, as well as Oshkosh Defense’s serving HET and the Palletized Load System (PLS) heavy trucks.
Note that many of these vehicles are US Army platforms, as opposed to the TAK-4 suspensions in wide use among US Marines platforms like the MTVR, and modified Cougar MRAPs. GDLS has no visibility into final customers, however, and could not confirm a service-specific split between RG-31s upgraded with AxleTech 4500s, and those upgraded with TAK-4 suspensions. They could confirm that RG-31 operator Canada hasn’t begun discussions to acquire similar off-road capabilities for its own RG-31s in Afghanistan.
Feb 18/10: A $29.2 million modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0006) will buy 127 TAK-4 independent suspension system (ISS) upgrade kits and associated support.
Installation will take place at the MRAP sustainment facility in Kuwait. But the suspensions themselves are Oshkosh’s TAK-4s, and will be made in Oshkosh, WI. The TAK-4 already equips the Marines’ MTVR trucks, the M-ATV MRAP, and is available as a retrofit kit for other MRAP models like Force Protection’s Cougar and the RG-31. Work is expected to be complete by May 1/10. This was a sole-source procurement, as the vehicles and ISS manufacturers are pre-determined.
Feb 16/10: A $227.4 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order for 250 MRAP RG-31A2/ RG-31 Mk5E vehicles and associated engineering change proposal upgrades to include an independent suspension system.
Work is expected to be complete no later than Oct 30/10. As is customary under the 3-way sole source arrangement for RG-31s, major production and assembly work takes place in South Africa, subassemblies will be purchased from companies in Fairfield, OH; Buffalo, NY; and Ogdensburg, NY; and finishing takes place in London, ON, Canada (M67854-07-D-5028, #0007).
Aug 24/09: A $6.4 million firm-fixed-priced modification to delivery order #0004 for battle damage repair parts to support repair of damaged RG-31 MRAP vehicles. Work will be performed in London, Ontario, Canada, and is expected to be complete in May 2010.
April 9/09: A $15.4 million firm fixed priced modification to a previous delivery order (M67854-07-D-5028, #0004) for RG31 Mk5 technical manuals. Work will be performed in London, Ontario, Canada, and is expected to be complete by Dec 9/10.
Feb 5/09: A $26.8 million firm fixed priced modification to a delivery order under a previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0004) for the purchase of Authorized Stockage List and Prescribed Load List parts to support 673 MRAP vehicles.
The staging of these parts allows vehicles that have been damaged to be brought back to full mission capability quickly. GDLS-C uses a multitude of suppliers for these parts, both U.S. based and abroad.
Dec 4/08: An $8.4 million firm fixed priced modification to a delivery order under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0003: 600 CAT II MRAPs for $338.7 million) for the purchase of Battle Damage Sustainment Kits and associated Non-Recurring Engineering costs. Work will be performed in London, Ontario, Canada, and is expected to be completed no later than July 29/09.
Nov 19/08: A $49.5 million firm-fixed-priced modification to a delivery order under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0004: 773 RG-31 Mk5E MRAP Category I) for the purchase of technical service representatives and trainers in Afghanistan and associated areas. Work is expected to be complete no later than Jan 2/10.
Oct 29/08: An $8.1 million firm fixed priced modification to a delivery order under a previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0004) for the engineering changes and upgrades for enhanced maneuverability, and associated non-recurring engineering costs to 100 RG-31 vehicles. Work will be performed in Durban, South Africa, and is expected to be complete by April 24/09.
Oct 24/08: Defense News reports that more mine-resistant vehicles could be in the order pipeline. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps reportedly plan to rapidly develop and buy a fleet of lighter 7-10 ton vehicles that offer better mine resistance than Hummers, but better off-road mobility than MRAPs. Afghanistan is seen as an especial focus for these vehicles.
Oshkosh’s Sandcat and Force Protection’s Cheetah vehicle are mentioned as potential candidates for that bridge buy. Other competitors are likely, and the RG-31 may also be in this category given recent the orders for maneuverability modifications and its previously favored position in the Afghan theater (vid. Sept 4/08 entry).
Defense News places potential military demand at 2,000- 5,000 bridge buy vehicles – assuming that issues with JLTV don’t lead to the bridge becoming the road. General Dynamics may be covered either way, however; its GTV partnership with Hummer manufacturer AM General won one of the 3 JLTV development contracts.
Sept 4/08: Despite the statements in the Pentagon’s Juy 2008 report re: MRAP demand in Afghanistan, it appears that competitor Navistar has won with an 822 vehicle, $752 million contract for a “MaxxPro Dash” variant optimized for Afghan conditions.
The CCC/BAE/General Dynamics firm-fixed-priced delivery order (M67854-07-D-5028, #005) is for $7.7 million, and covers 5 “test vehicles with engineering change proposal upgrades for enhanced maneuverability and associated non-recurring engineering costs.” This is the exact same language used to describe the MaxxPro Dash, and could indicate interest in future conversions or production, but DID’s spreadsheet shows an MRAP program that has reached its stated overall limit of 15,771 vehicles with the MaxxPro order.
Work will be performed in Durban, South Africa (80%), and London, Ontario, Canada (20%), and is expected to be complete no later than Jan 31/09.
Sept 2/08: General Dynamics closes a EUR 64.6 million ($102 million) contract from the Spanish Government to supply 100 RG-31 Mk5E vehicles for the Ejercito de Tierra.
July 24/08: A $15.8 million firm-fixed price contract for MRAP sustainment spare parts. Work will be performed in Guateng, South Africa; Trenton, N.J.; and Ontario, Canada, and is expected to be complete by July 5/09. One bid was solicited on June 17/08 by U.S. Army TACOM in Warren, MI (W56HZV-08-C-0514).
July 17/08: The consortium receives delivery order #0004 under a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-07-D-5028). They will produce another 773 RG-31 Mk5E Category I vehicles for the MRAP vehicle program, including Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) upgrades and associated Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) costs. The order has a total potential value of $552.1 million.
Part of the reason for General Dynamics’ success is rising demand for MRAPs in Afghanistan. There are roughly 800 MRAPs in Afghanistan, and Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commander of Combined Task Force 101 at Bagram Airfield, relayed his request for more to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen during Mullen’s recent visit to Afghanistan. Commanders in Afghanistan wanted the RG-31 in particular because it’s smaller and lighter than many other MRAP vehicles, without being to small and light to have survivability issues. They also reportedly believe that the RG-31’s design is well suited for Afghanistan’s unimproved roads and rugged terrain. Those requests, and their urgency as violence intensifies in Afghanistan, are driving an accelerated production schedule that has forced a slight change in work arrangements. Work will be performed in South Africa (57%); Lansing, MI (22%) and Anniston, AL (21%).
The GDLS press release adds that:
“Work will be performed by General Dynamics employees in Anniston, AL and by Demmer Corporation of Lansing, MI. Additional production will come from BAE OMC of Benoni, South Africa, in order to meet the urgent production schedule. Deliveries will be completed by April 2009.”
This contract is in addition to the 624 RG-31 Mk5 vehicles already supplied under the MRAP program, bringing GDLS’ total to 1,397 – just over 9% of total MRAP orders to date. Another 566 RG-31s have been ordered under other programs by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.
June 11/08: The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS), has awarded a USD $67.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for RG-31 Mk5 vehicles to General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada, via US Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC).
The contract orders 111 RG-31 Mk5E Mine Protected Vehicles, and deliveries will occur from August – October 2008. Yet this is not an MRAP order.
Since February 2005, the TACOM LCMC has ordered RG-31 vehicles based on Operational Need Statements (ONS) by the U.S. Army for route clearance vehicles. This is the 3rd ONS requirement,folowing ONS 1 (148) and ONS 2 (307) RG-31 Mk5 vehicles. The RG-51Mk5E is the larger variant recently purchased by Spain, and predominates in the American MRAP program as the Category II variant. This order brings the total of RG-31 vehicles bought under ONS requirements to 566; the 610 RG-31s ordered under MRAP are additive.
April 28/08: Looks like some design changes are underway. A $28.6 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order modification is received under previously awarded contract M67854-07-D-5028. RG-31 vehicles will be brought to Durbin, South Africa for a battle damage assessment repair list, removal of gun ports in the ballistic windows, a revised statement of work, and a related contract data requirements list. Further work will be performed in a combat area of operations operating in an austere environment (35%); Lansing, MI (35%); and Texarkana, TX (30%), and is expected to be complete by April 2009.
March 11/08: A $7.2 million for firm-fixed-priced delivery order modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028). The funds will pay for OCONUS (Outside the CONtinental US) Field Service Representatives (FSR) in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) areas of operation, and is expected to be complete in April 2009.
Feb 21/08: The stretched RG-31 Mk5E wins the second phase of the Spanish MRAP competition, for 100 squad level vehicles at a cost of about EUR 100 million ($150 million). Spain’s General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas will be the vehicle integrator, and armament will include RAFAEL’s Samson remote weapon system that can be fired from inside the vehicle. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2008, and end in 2009.
Jan 24/08: A $6.1 million delivery order under a previously-awarded firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-07-D-5028, #0001) for the purchase of Objective Gunner Protection Kit Parts. The equipment will be installed on RG-31 Mk5 MRAP Category I vehicles. Work will be performed in Ontario, Canada, and is expected to be complete by February 2009.
Nov 5/07: A $60.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028) for the purchase of field service representatives, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) University, new equipment training, logistics and engineering requirements, logistics demonstration at Red River Army Depot, level of repair analysis, and PLL/ASL (prescribed load list/authorized stock level) sustainment parts.
Work will be performed in combat areas of operations in an austere environment, and in Lansing, MI and Texarkana, TX, and is expected to be completed October 2008.
Oct 9/07: BAE Systems and the Red River Army Depot (RRAD) signed a Memorandum of Intent for a partnership to support production of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles during the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA 2007) Annual Symposium and Exhibition in Washington, DC.
The memorandum states that RRAD and BAE Systems have agreed to enter into a Public Private Partnership for MRAP production and follow-on support, similar to the existing M2/M3 Bradley public-private remanufacture program undertaken with RRAD. BAE notes that they are “contracted to build three of the five MRAP variants,” and imply that the agreement covers all of them – if so, General Dynamics’ orders would also be covered. Further specifics were not included in BAE’s Oct 31/07 release
Aug 7/07: $338.7 million for firm-fixed-priced delivery order #0003 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028) to produce 600 RG-31 Category II MRAP vehicles. The 600 RG-31s will be manufactured by Demmer Corporation of Lansing, MI, with additional production coming from BAE OMC of Benoni, South Africa, in order to meet the urgent production schedule. Deliveries will be completed by March, 2008.
July 17/07: BAE Systems announces a lightweight form of “cage armor” for the RG-31. An initial contract will also see LROD installed on installed on U.S. Army RG-31 vehicles; the first 2 kits have been installed, and the US Army will procure 12 additional LROD kits for 2007 delivery to operational units in response to an Army Operational Need Statement. The Army has also expressed interest in procuring additional kits for the entire RG31 fleet.
Feb 14/07: The Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA issued Limited Rate Initial Production (LRIP) orders for a number of MRAP contender vehicles. These firm-fixed-price delivery orders under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts are not destined for the testing range – they are being issued to accelerate the production of “lower risk” (i.e. more complete and tested) vehicle designs for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of the order, logistics support will continue up to two years after fielding [emphasis DID’s] for test and any production vehicles. Work will be performed by the manufacturers, and is expected to be complete in June 2007.
Feb 23/07: An $11 million delivery order for 10 Category I and 10 Category II MRAP vehicles (M67854-07-D-5028, order #002). Support will be provided from York, PA.
This article can be found in its original format here.