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Ever wanted to know how South Africa became a world leader in the field of mine-protected vehicles? How about the many prototypes developed in secrecy by South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, in defiance of the UN-led international arms embargo against the country? You probably didn’t know that in the past 40 years South Africa has developed and manufactured over 200 different mine-protected vehicles and their variants, many of which have been used by armed forces around the world? Many of the specialised mine-resistant and ambush protected vehicles used by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq had a South African influence? They were either developed or manufactured in South Africa or, drawing from South Africa’s many years of experience in this field, prototypes were designed in the country and then sent to the USA where they were re-engineered. South African scientists and engineers were head-hunted to work in the USA to develop these MRAPs. The Pentagon spent $50 billion purchasing some 28,000 of these vehicles—which have saved an estimated 70,000 lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This fascinating story has been well researched and is for the first time being told. Mine-protected and mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles are today standard in the USA, most major western armies and many other armies as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While this was not always the case, 40 years ago the South African Army was already routinely using mine-protected armoured personnel carriers and patrol vehicles, even if they looked primitive and ungainly. A few years later, the South African Army reached the stage where it could deploy entire combat groups into battle zones equipped with only mine-protected vehicles, including their ambulances and supply trucks. By then the mine-protected vehicles had also become effective combat vehicles, rather than just protected transport, with the Casspir being the chief example. They saved countless soldiers and policemen from death or serious injury, and the basic concepts now live on in the various MRAP types in service today. The valuable lessons learned by the South Africans with their early designs of these combat-proven vehicles has made the country one of the global leaders in the design of MRAPs, which are locally manufactured and exported around the world.

Paperback, 252 pages, A full colour book illustrated with 450 photographs.

FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINT

 

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