The RG-33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) was developed by a South African subsidiary of BAE Systems, then modified/adapted for the U.S. military MRAP program. It is also referred to as the Medium Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV) under an Army program of that name.
First prototype RG-33 vehicles for U.S. military use were delivered 26 January 2007. RG-33 production was completed in November 2008 with about 3200 total units delivered.
The bus-like RG-33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) starts with a blast-resistant, monocoque V-shaped hull design, capped by an upper body with significant interior volume for crew and mission equipment. The chassis was adapted from the Unimog, a design inherited from the RG-31 MRAP (based on the South African Mamba). Steel armor and transparent armor (bullet-resistant glass), along with seating and other interior elements, provide protection from small arms fire (rifles and machine guns) as well as mines, IEDs and other explosives.
There are multiple versions of the RG-33 that were acquired by the U.S. military (as well as other BAE versions that were not acquired), in two basic configurations (4x4 and 6x6):
MRAP Category I RG-33 4x4
RG-33 USSOCOM Plus
MRAP Category II RG-33L 6x6
RG-33L Heavy Armored Ground Ambulance (HAGA)
RG-33L HAGA Plus
RG-33L USSOCOM Armored Utility Vehicle (AUV)
RG-33 MRAP optional features include run-flat tires and the EOD robotic arm for investigating roadside objects as well as add-on armor, hydraulic rear ramp, medical equipment, 70KW auxiliary power unit, 120/240 AC import/export power, thermal driver’s vision enhancer, taillight camera, central tire inflation system, transparent armor Gun Shield and remote weapon systems.
The Plus-variant vehicles include passive applique armor protection against Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) as required by MRAP II. The SOCOM-variant vehicles provide special operations forces with a remote weapons system, a thermal driver's vision enhancer and a more robust communication system.
In theater, RG-33 MRAP drivers take a week-long 40 hour course which includes familiarization with the communications systems, disabled vehicle procedures, proper use of the rear door assist, rollover drills and, of course, the weapons system. A disabled RG-33 is recoverable by another RG33.
Personnel from Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula, cross a highway median in order to avoid unnecessary stoppage during a convoy of then-new RG-33L MRAPs, Baghdad, Iraq, 2 June 2008.
1LT Ben Robinson, platoon leader of 4th Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army, conducts a survey of a RG-33L MRAP, New Dibaghtapa, Iraq, 10 Feb 2010.