Armor: MRAPs Peacekeeper Version


May 6, 2010:  Finland has bought 16 RG32M wheeled armored vehicles, for $507,000 each. The RG32 is a smaller version of the RG31 MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected). The RG32 is similar to armored hummers, and weighs 4.5 tons. It does not have the characteristic MRAP V shaped underbody. It is bulletproof, and resistant to explosions and mines (but not as much as the MRAP version.) The RG32 can carry five people and is popular with peacekeepers.

The larger RG-31 MRAPs cost about $910,000 each (plus over $100,000 to get them to Afghanistan). The RG-31 earned a favorable reputation in Afghanistan, where the trend was towards smaller, and less top heavy MRAP vehicles. Thus the United States developed new designs (like the M-ATV) for Afghanistan. But the RG-31 was still useful for patrolling the roads (searching for mines and roadside bombs) and guarding convoys. The RG-31 was good enough, and manufacturers could not produce better models fast enough.

The wheeled (4x4) RG-31 weighs eight tons and can carry up to eleven people (depending on the variant). Some models, like the RG-31M, usually operates with a crew of five, plus a cargo area in the back. The RG-31 is preferred in Afghanistan because the bad roads make it easier for the top heavy MRAPs to flip over. The smaller RG-31 is less prone to this problem.

When the RG-31 first appeared in Afghanistan six years ago, there were problems. Some of the components did not work as well as hoped, and for the first year, more were out of action than expected. But that's common with new military equipment, and those problems were overcome.

Most of the MRAPs in Afghanistan have special equipment installed, like jammers (to prevent roadside bombs from being detonated via a wireless device) and remotely (from inside the vehicle) operated 12.7mm machine-guns. The RG-31 has a top road speed of 100 kilometers an hour and a range of 900 kilometers on internal fuel.



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