New Light Tactical Armoured Vehicles for the Irish Army

Looks pretty cool...

Looks pretty cool...

BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa has won the Irish Army’s Light Tactical Armoured Vehicle (LTAV) contest, securing an order for 27 RG32M LTVs. The contract is worth some €19.6 million, and includes an option for a further batch of 27 vehicles. According to BAE, deliveries will start this year and take place over a three year period.

This deal follows on the heels of a third order from Sweden for the RG32M. The latest Swedish contract, announced last month (December) is for 60 vehicles and is worth some €18 million. It follows two previous orders for RG32Ms, the first – placed in 2005 – for 102 vehicles, and the second, placed in 2007, for another 98. The 200th and last vehicle acquired under these first and second contracts was delivered last year, and the first vehicle from the new contract will be delivered in February 2010. The RG32Ms of this third batch will be upgraded in various ways (the details are confidential) and the delivery of the production vehicles will be preceded by an upgrade and test cycle during this year.

Regarding the Irish order, the RG32M LTV was chosen after two months of intensive field trials, beating two European competitors – the Mowag Eagle IV from Switzerland, and the Iveco MLV from Italy. The Irish are adopting an LTAV, as they call this type of vehicle, specifically to participate in peacekeeping missions abroad, on behalf of the UN or EU – Ireland currently has an infantry battalion serving with the EU force in Chad.

In Irish service, the RG32M LTV will be employed in various roles, including surveillance, communications, target acquisition, and transporting US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles. The Irish vehicles will be armed either with 12,7 mm heavy machine guns or 40 mm automatic grenade launchers.

The RG32M LTV is the latest version of the RG32M, LTV standing for Light Tactical Vehicle. It has improved mine protection in comparison with previous models, providing greater blast survivability and crew protection.

The RG32M LTV is classified as a light armoured vehicle, in the light mine protected patrol vehicle category, and has a gross vehicle mass of only 9 t. Its armour can protect its crew from armour-piercing rifle fire as well as anti-tank land mine blasts, with its externally mounted windows providing improved side-blast protection. It has a 200 mm wider hull and 50 mm greater head space in comparison to earlier RG32Ms. The LTV version also has an increased, 2 t, payload and a new design of load bay which can take a wide variety of mission-specific equipment, making it more versatile. Despite its better protection and greater internal space, it has lost none of the ground clearance, agility, or mobility of the earlier versions.

The RG32M family makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, reducing maintenace costs and minimising logistical burdens. These latest contracts take the total number of RG32Ms, of all models, built or on order, to more than 500. All have been, and will be, manufactured at the company’s plant in Benoni, east of Johannesburg.


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