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Ministry of Defence

Ejército de Tierra

'Boletín Tierra' Newspaper Reports

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Number: 648


The ministress of Defence presented the new vehicles on the 10th Mechanised Infantry Brigade’s base.

Beatriz Gonzalo/Cerro Muriano (Córdoba)


Spanish troops have the “most modern and safe” vehicle to face the “most difficult, complex and riskiest” mission that they have participated in, because now in Afghanistan are the first of the RG-31s, the new vehicle with anti-mine armour which was presented by the ministress of Defence, Ms. Carme Chacón, on 3rd November in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba).
The added elements, improvements and repairs of mechanical failures that have been being undertaken in the trial phase have succeeded in making the Spanish RG-31 configuration the “most updated” and this has placed Spain on the same standard as other countries like the United States, France or Canada on this subject. “Up to the standard of the best,” emphasised Ms. Chacón.
In her opinion, with this acquisition, the Spanish force has become the contingent which has proportionally carried out “more and better renovation” of its armoured vehicle depot. The aim of this “effort” is none other than to achieve “security, security and security” for troops deployed in an Area of Operations.



The ministress of Defence chose the headquarters of the 10th Mechanised Infantry Brigade "Guzmán el Bueno" to present the vehicle. There she attended a talk on the programme and a demonstration of the RG-31 vehicle in which she even checked the remote control operation of its machine gun. 
Accompanied by the Chief of the Joint Defence Staff, General José Julio Rodríguez, Air Force, and the Chief of the Army Staff, Army General Coll, she completed her visit by undertaking a tour inside the base in one of the vehicles.



Delivery Schedule
Both units that left for Afghanistan on 2nd November have joined the other four that were sent at the end of October. These six vehicles will be used by the 6th Occupational Mentor and Liaison Team whose mission began in October and will continue until April 2010.
By the end of the year between 10 and 25 more units will arrive and the equipment will be completed from March to January, at a yet to be determined number. 
For now 55 armoured vehicles have been received of the 100 that have been contracted. Of these, 26 will remain in Spain for training and qualification courses. To be precise, 15 units have arrived at Cerro Muriano because it has a Pilot Unit where drivers and shooters are trained.
Before the end of November the delivery of 68 vehicles to the Army will be completed. The final delivery is scheduled for 14th December, the date on which the one hundred vehicles requested will have been delivered.



Strong points of the RG-31
The acquisition of the RG-31s will permit progressive substitution on missions of the fleet of BMR Armoured Personnel Carriers. Their steel monocoque hull with a “V” shaped chassis allows for expanding the blast cast by a mine or improvised explosive device, which increases the protection of occupants in the face of this type of attacks.
To contribute to the crew’s safety, an anti-explosion and fire prevention system has also been incorporated as well as supports for the squad’s individual and collective weapons, ammunition, straps for equipment and electrical outlets for transmission systems that hook up to the vehicle, among other elements.
However, the other great improvement on this vehicle, in addition to the armour, is the remote control station. This deals with the Spanish Army’s first turret that is capable of firing a 7.62 mm or 12.70 mm calibre machine gun from inside the vehicle, even stabilised while in movement and with a night vision camera to enable day or night firing.
Thanks to these elements and the modifications introduced in the initial configuration, which were necessary following the reliability and availability problems detected by technicians in the reception trials which forced a delay in the delivery date, the Spanish RG-31s are operational and ready to fulfil the prime objective for which they have been acquired: raising the security of troops deployed abroad.

Without Changes in Rotation Dates
While the schedule for the RG-31 vehicles is being completed, troop handovers in Afghanistan are continuing to meet their scheduled dates. The Election Support Battalion, made up of 450 service personnel , will not bring forward its return date, despite the suspension of the run-off voting, and it will remain in the Asian country, now under Spanish command, until it returns between the 20th and 26th of November. On these same dates 200 reinforcement service persons will arrive, which will raise the numbers of the permanent force to 998 members.