The ability of Land & Armaments to rapidly apply its globally-based corporate synergies to wheeled vehicle design and development is clearly evident in the recent development of another Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) system: the RG33 series of mine protected wheeled vehicles. The company is now producing RG33s in both 4x4 (MRAP Category I) and 6x6 (MRAP Category II) configurations.
BAE Systems used the latest design, modeling and simulation tools at its facilities in South Africa and the U.S. - Santa Clara, California and York, Pennsylvania - to develop the RG33. In a timeframe that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, BAE Systems was able to prototype and produce the first RG33 in only seven months.
The highly survivable RG33 series incorporates a monocoque V-shaped hull design that leverages knowledge gained in recent and ongoing conflicts. The RG33 is available with base protection against medium machine gun or small arms fire and mine blast protection at a level equal to, or exceeding, any fielded mine protected vehicle. The RG33 platform is equipped with a powertrain to handle upgrades and enhancements, including the addition of tailorable armor packages to defeat evolving threats.
The company is under a total of $302.4 million worth of contracts to produce and deliver 535 Category I (4x4) and Category II (6x6) RG33 vehicles, including variants for special operations and ambulance vehicles. Vehicle deliveries began in March 2007 and will continue into 2008.
The full service combat systems integration capabilities of the Land & Armaments Operating Group is an underlying strength that enhances the RG33's popularity. Those capabilities are evident in the extensive, but rapid design analysis supporting the platform. Domain expertise drove tactical features designed for the warfighter: vision studies determined the placement of windows; and ergonomic analyses determined the optimum seating and hatch arrangement for vehicle ingress and egress. The RG33 survivability performance is the result of extensive survivability analyses and systems engineering for the overall vehicle design. For example, BAE Systems designed the RG33 with a 450hp engine to provide inherent payload growth and mobility. Likewise, the selective placement of subsystems, components and installations, such as the positioning of the spall liners to minimize or reduce secondary effects, contribute to the RG33's overall performance.
Incorporating those design features, while still meeting the urgent fielding needs of warfighters, was possible through the application of modeling and simulation technologies that were originally developed for the company's Bradley Fighting Vehicle and are now being used on next generation programs like the U.S. Army's Future Combat System (FCS).
At company facilities like those in Santa Clara, California, designers and user representatives can enter an advanced 3-D dome environment where they can "sit inside" a virtual RG33 vehicle, and perform the movements and operations necessary to operate the vehicle. In addition to fostering rapid design and production, that capability can also be applied to the future integration of various subsystems on MRAP or other wheeled vehicle platforms.