Procurement: More Chargers For EOD


October13, 2006: The U.S. Army is buying 94 more Charger armored vehicles for their EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams, and for patrols in areas likely to have roadside bombs. The U.S. Army already has 148 Chargers, and the Canadian Army has 75 as well (and calls them Nyala). Army and marine EOD teams both use the Charger, and the Canadians use them a lot for patrolling dangerous areas. One Nyala recently got hit by a powerful roadside bomb, but was able to get home under its own power, with a crew that was shaken, but not injured.

The Charger/Nyala is a South African vehicle, costing about half a million dollars each, that was designed to resist landmines and roadside bombs. It was developed from the earlier Mamba armored personnel carrier, and has an excellent track record. The wheeled (4x4) vehicle weighs eight tons and can carry up to eleven people. The model Canada is using (RG-31M), usually operates with a crew of five, plus a cargo area in the back.

The UN is a major user of the vehicle. Although armed only with a .50 caliber machine-gun, the RG-31 (what the manufacturer calls it) earns its way by being the first one down roads where mines or roadside bombs may be encountered. The RG-31 is becoming popular with NGOs operating in dangerous areas, as it does not look particularly military (especially if the machine-gun is removed), even through it is definitely a combat ready vehicle.


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