Armor: Spain Rides South African


September17, 2008:  Spain has bought a hundred RG-31 (Nyala) armored vehicles for about a million dollars each. The 85 APC (armored personnel carrier) versions will have a remotely (from inside the vehicle) operated 12.7mm machine-gun. Dozens of RG-31s have given good service recently in Afghanistan, used by Canadian troops. Three have encountered Taliban bombs, leaving a total of eight passengers injured, and one dead. One Nyala, after getting hit by a powerful roadside bomb, was able to get home under its own power, with a crew that was shaken, but not injured.

 The Nyala is a South African vehicles, 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 up to 17 tons, and can carry 3.5 tons of cargo and up to eleven people. Although armed only with a .50 caliber machine-gun, the Nyala earns its way by being the first one down roads where mines or roadside bombs may be encountered. The Nyala is becoming popular with NGOs operating in dangerous areas, as it does not look particularly military (especially if the machine-gun is removed), even though it is definitely a combat ready vehicle.

Spain is also getting ten ambulance and five command post versions.





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