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.
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.
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.