The South African RG-31 Nyala MRAP Family History
The Mamba was a wheeled Armoured Personnel Carrier developed and manufactured from 1995 by the former TFM Industries defense systems of South Africa and was initially built for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
However following South Africa’s first post-apartheid national elections in 1994 and the adoption of a new constitution, South Africa’s re admittance to the international arena saw the vehicle sold to a significant number of other nations, notably the UN who purchased the vehicle for peacekeeping operations in Angola, Bosnia, Kosovo and Sudan.
In 1997 Reumech OMC (a division of Reunert) acquired TFM Industries defense systems. In 1999 Reumech OMC was purchased and renamed as Vickers OMC. This continued until British firm Alvis, purchased Vickers’ defence division, including OMC. Continuing with tradition, Alvis renamed the company to Alvis OMC.
It was during this period that the Mamba Mk3 was developed in to what is now known as the RG-31 Mk3A Nyala. In 2004 when BAE Systems purchased the military vehicle division of Alvis OMC then became part of BAE Systems’ Land Systems, again undergoing a name change to Land Systems OMC.
The South African RG-31 Nyala MRAP Family
The RG31 Mine Protected Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) is a 4×4 armoured vehicle with a combat mass of up to 17 000 kg, including 3 500kg of payload. The 4×4 wheeled Mk3A was purchased by the US for deployment in Iraq and by the Canadian Army for deployment in Afghanistan during 2003 as a Category 1 MRAP.
The all-steel welded armour, monocoque V-hull protects the crew against AP rifle fire and anti-tank mine detonations. In standard APC configuration, this air-conditioned vehicle carries a crew of 10 (driver plus 9).
A large rear door and two front doors ensure speedy and easy exit and entrance. With an automatic transmission, permanent 4×4 drive and a two speed (high and low) transfer case the RG31 is easy to drive, both on and off road.
With a modular interior layout the vehicle can be configured as an APC, command vehicle, ambulance, surveillance vehicle and for many other uses.
The US RG31’s are manufactured by Land Systems OMC and also under licence by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (Mk5 & Mk5E).
The RG-31 Mk5
This 4×4 wheeled vehicle kicked of as a Category 1 MRAP around 2005. The vehicle is built by BAE Land Systems OMC of South Africa and supplied to a number of nations, however the GDLS MRAP’s did not weather well during the MRAP trials and bidding process, so contracts were signed during 2005 through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government), that Mk5 vehicles for the Canadian Army and the US Armed Forces would be manufactured by BAE Land Systems OMC of South Africa whilst GDLS-Canada provides the ongoing program management and engineering and logistics support.
Under the program management, GDLS have carried out upgrades/modifications such as incorporate a Kongsberg Protector M151 Remote Weapon Station equipped with a day and night sighting system, which allows the operator to fire the weapon while remaining protected within the vehicle and other modifications.
The South African RG-31 Nyala MRAP Family Specifications
Weight 7.28 tonne
Primary armament weapons mount
Option 1: Daimler-Benz OM 352A, 6 cylinder diesel, 123HP
Option 2: Iveco Tector F4AE0681D diesel
Option 3: Detroit Diesel
Option 4: Cummins 6.7L QSB, 6 cylinder diesel, 275HP
Suspension 4×4 wheeled
range 900 km
Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
AKA the RG-31E, this vehicle is an extended Mk5 with a larger passenger/cargo capacity providing a superior blast and ballistic protection. Its classed as a Category II MRAP and has been around since 2007 when the USMC placed an order for 600 vehicles.
Among the latest developments (2009) incorporated in the RG31 Mk6E are new anti-mine seats. These provide enhanced protection to the occupants from lumbar spinal injuries which can be caused by the shock-waves associated with land mine detonations. The seats incorporate shock attenuation crushable elements developed at Land Systems South Africa. Tests have shown that these absorb some of the vertical impulse associated with mine blasts, reducing the likelihood of injury during large landmine explosions.
United Arab Emirates
United States – / US SOCOM – 50× Mk5A1’s / US Army 148× RG-31 Mk3 / 257× Mk5 / 111× Mk5E / USMC 12× Mk5 / 1385× Mk5E’s