UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


RG-31 Mamba / Nyala / Charger
Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)

The RG-31 Nyala is a 4×4 multi-purpose mine-protected armored personnel carrier (APC) manufactured in South Africa by Land Systems OMC, a division of BAE Systems. It is based on the Mamba APC of TFM Industries. The RG-31 is built from a V-shaped all-steel welded armor monocoque hull and high suspension, typical of South African mine protected vehicles, providing excellent small-arms and mine blast protection. The vehicle is designed to resist a blast equivalent to two TM-57 anti-tank mines detonating simultaneously. The RG-31 is classified by the United States Department of Defense as a category 1 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP).

The Mamba armored personnel carrier is a wheeled, mine-resistant type designed and developed in South Africa specifically for conditions in Africa. The Mamba is the primary vehicle of the South African army military police. This patrol vehicle is based on a Unimog truck chassis, with armor added. The entry for the crew and troops is at the rear through a large door. The seats have four-point harnesses. Five passengers sit on the left and four on the right side of the rear. The commander has a hatch on the roof with a weapon mount. The windows are bullet resistant. The Mamba is also used as an ambulance, command vehicle, VIP transport, and logistics vehicle.

The slightly underpowered and much too bouncy Mamba 4x4 mine and small arms protected Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) is now the prime APC of the SA Army, though it is by no means universally popular. The Mamba was developed to make use of the same Unimog chassis used by the Buffel. But at least one South African Infantry battalion earmarked for peacekeeping duties returned the Mamba for the Casspir APC which the Mamba was meant to replace.

Over 500 units of the Mamba were produced for the SANDF as a 2X4, first by TFM and then by Reumech OMC.  TFM then built a 4X4 adaption of this vehicle and sold it in competition to the official 4X4 version (Unimog drive line components) built by Sandock Austral.  TFM named their 4X4 version of the Mamba 2X4, the Nyala RG 31.  The SADF 4X4 Mamba was designed by Mechem using Unimog automotives.  These components are considerably more complicated to use than the components TFM chose for their 4X4 conversion.  

The reason for this choice of drive line components was that the SADF logistic section handled Unimog parts as well as rebuilds of Buffel and this would therefore save money.  The RG 31 (MK3A) is cheaper to build and supply because of the automotive components choice.  Sandock Austral modified the Mamba and called it Romad, which also used Unimog parts.  Vickers/OMC only build the TFM designed RG 31 and the similarity in design with the TFM designed RG 31 and the similarity in design with the Mechem designed Mamba is evident.  

Derived from the successful RG-31, the RG-31M features a military wiring harness, central tyre inflation and several other new characteristics. It is a 4x4 Mine Protected Armoured Vehicle with a crew of 5 and a combat weight of 8 400 kg. The all-steel, welded armour, monocoque hull protects the crew against small arms fire and tank mine detonations. The RG-31M has been designed to fulfil a wide spectrum of military applications in the Command, Liaison, Scouting and weapon carrier roles.

In November 2005 South African armored vehicle manufacturer Land Systems OMC won a US$120-million order to supply the Canadian Army with 50 mine-protected troop carriers, along with an $11-million order from the United Arab Emirates armed forces - the fifth major export deal secured by the firm in 2005. In May 2005, Land Systems announced a $10-million order for 30 of its RG-12 public-order vehicles from the Italian Carabinieri and a $28-million order for 100 of its RG-32M light armored vehicles for the Swedish Defence Force. In February 2005 the US Army placed an order with the company for 148 RG-31 vehicles worth around $78-million.

The first batch of RG31 mine-resistant vehicles manufactured by Denel Vehicle Systems for the UAE Armed Forces was shipped in July 2016. The RG31 is a Mobile Mortar Platform (MMP) which is highly-regarded for its 4x4 capabilities, mobility and the protection it offers against anti-tank mines and explosive devices. Johan Steyn, CEO of Denel Vehicle Systems said an order for 24 RG31 MMP vehicles was placed by its client in the United Arab Emirates, the International Golden Group (IGG) in June 2015. This followed on the successful delivery of 73 vehicles that were already in service with the UAE Armed Forces.

In terms of the follow-on contract Denel Vehicle Systems was required to make some 30 improvements to the performance and reliability aspects of the vehicle based on assessments in the operational environment. The client visited Denel for static acceptance of the vehicles as well as dynamic testing conducted at Armscor’s Gerotek test facilities in Pretoria West.

“The vehicle was put through rigorous testing and met all the expectations and requirements of the client,” says Steyn. The first batch of eight vehicles was shipped off to Abu Dhabi where IGG would fit further customised equipment required by the client. Denel Vehicle Systems was producing the second batch that will undergo further testing by the clients within two months. Denel Vehicle Systems – formerly known as BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa – produces a number of armoured protected vehicles including the RG12 and the RG21. Variants of the RG31, now acquired by the UAE, are widely used by the United Nations and peacekeeping forces from countries such as Canada, Spain and the United States of America. The RG31 MMP has a range of 800km at a speed of 80m/h and carries a crew of 4 people, including the driver.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 28-07-2016 19:22:12 ZULU