Ireland Orders Mine-Resistant Vehicles
The Republic of Ireland is a neutral power with a small armed forces, whose equipment is more suited to policing than war. Eire’s troops do deploy abroad on UN missions, however, where more protection and firepower are needed. French AML-20/AML-90 armored cars, and GD MOWAG’s wheeled LAV/Piranha vehicles have been purchased and deployed for those operations.
In September 2005, Ireland canceled a planned purchase of up to 66 light-armored tactical vehicles (LTAV), which would have provided its forces with mine-resistant patrol vehicles for use on its missions in Pakistan/Afghanistan, Bosnia, Lebanon and the Golan Heights, The Congo, Liberia, and the Western Sahara between Morocco and Algeria. Instead, the Department of Defence purchased 15 more Piranha-III wheeled APCs in January 2006.
That move has now been reconsidered. In early 2008, the EUFOR Chad mission was added to the above deployments, and in May 2008, the An Roinn Cosanta (DoD) restarted the LTAV tender competition. The new competition will be for 27 vehicles, plus a pair of options that could add 27 more and bring the total number of vehicles to 54. Tenders were received in early July 2008, and in September 2008 the 3 finalists were announced. Now, it seems that we have a winner…
The vehicles selected to go forward to the trials stage of the LTAV tender competition were:
RG-32M, by BAE OMC of South Africa. This variant has also been purchased by Sweden, and is designed to function well in extremes of both heat and cold. The RG-32 and its larger, better protected relation the RG-31 are in service with the UN, and with a number of countries around the world.
Pather LMV, by Iveco Defence Vehicles UK, a subsidiary of Italy’s Iveco. These vehicles use a mild v-hull, plus a number of additional safety features, in order to defeat mine blasts. They are entering widespread service with the British armed forces, and have also been purchased by Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Norway, and Spain.
Eagle 4, by General Dynamics MOWAG. Unlike previous Eagle vehicles, this Swiss machine is not based on the USA’s HMMWV. Instead, it uses a Duro truck chassis to improve its load carrying capacity and allow the addition of extra armor. Denmark and Switzerland both use this vehicle. Mine protection maxes out at STANAG 2A, but this option has commonality benefits since Eire already operates Duro trucks.
Contracts and Key Events
Feb 22/09: BAE announces the successful RG32M Light Tactical Vehicle, a 9-ton variant with additional mine protection that includes a V-shaped hull:
“BAE Systems recently received its first order for this new variant from Ireland. The initial contract is for 27 vehicles and deliveries will commence later this year.
…[This variant] was initially designed as an all-purpose, mine hardened vehicle with integrated ballistic protection for convoy support, patrol, liaison and reconnaissance missions. In the latest LTV configuration it offers more internal crew space, due to 200mm wider hull and 50mm increased head space. Windows are externally mounted providing improved side-blast protection while also freeing up space inside the cabin. Other features are an improved 2-ton payload capability and a newly designed load bay which can accommodate a variety of mission-specific equipment.”
Sept 19/08: The Irish DoD announces that 3 finalists have been selected, as described above. A standard vehicle from each company has arrived in the Curragh Camp for the commencement of trials, which are expected continue until early November 2008. A contract is expected to be announced before the end of 2008. Irish Department of Defence release.
May 9/08: The Irish Department of Defense announces that the LTAV competition has resumed. Irish DoD release.