this design, some
of the truck's payload capacity is traded off for the armor
suit, while retaining capacity for mission payload. Utilizing
a standard 20 ton Mack chassis, rigged to carry the heavy armor
and endure explosions, the vehicle uses a V shaped armored hull,
deflecting the blast from underneath the vehicle. The hull is
designed to withstand the mine blast effects without breach
of the bottom floor when a mine is detonated under any wheel
or directly under the crew compartment. Thick bullet-proof steel
plates are welded to create the body, offering effective blast
mitigation while protecting from fragments and debris. Even
after suffering significant damage, the MRAP can continue moving,
having 'residual mobility' using Hutchinson runflat tires, fitted
with steel inserts, retaining residual mobility to break contact.
The MRAP is capable of traveling 30-miles (48 km) at a speed
of 30 mph (48 km/h) on a hard surface road after complete loss
of air pressure in any two tires. However, the larger 6x6 MRAP
is quite limited in its ability to navigate in confined areas,
where a smaller vehicle is required. For such missions the military
will utilize the 4x4 MRAP, which has the same protection but
uses a smaller wheelbase offering better mobility and steering.
Unlike other armored vehicles, MRAP is also fitted with large
windows offering the troops clear visibility and combat situational
awareness. The vehicle is also equipped with an overhead, remotely
controlled weapon station (RCWS) or an armored gunner position
fitted with transparent shield. The US Army already plans to
boost the MRAP armor with add-on armor called Frag Kit #6, offering
enhanced protection against explosively formed penetrator EFPs.
Further improvements are expected to be fielded with the next
model of MRAP, expected next year. The Marine Corps Systems
Command is planning to buy up to 20,000 improved MRAP vehicles,
currently known as MRAP II. This vehicle will offer enhanced
performance and protection against more sophisticated threats.
The Marines are planning to test some of these vehicles this
autumn and awards for initial orders for the MRAP II are expected
by January 2008.
Current MRAP vehicles consist of three categories: Category
I vehicles (6 persons or more including driver) support operations
in an urban environment and other restricted/confined spaces;
including mounted patrols, reconnaissance, communications, and
command and control. Category II vehicles carrying 10 persons
or more, including the driver will provide a reconfigurable
vehicle that is capable of supporting multi-mission operations
such as convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, and
combat engineering. Category III (Buffalo) is designed strictly
for explosive ordnance disposal missions.
All MRAP models are required to travel distances of 300 statute
miles (480 km) at a cruising speed 45 mph (72 km/h). Road speed
is 65 mph (105 km/h), 25 mph (40 km/h) on unpaved trails or
five mp/h (eight km/h) off-road. The vehicles are required to
ascend a paved road at a 40% grade at a speed of 10 mph (16
km/h) and descend a 60% longitudinal grade maintaining a speed
of two mph (three km/h). MRAPs are designed to fit for self-deployment
on highways worldwide and be transported by rail, marine, and
air modes in C-17 and C-5 aircraft. Some of the models could
also be prepared for transportation in C-130 aircraft after
60 minutes of preparation.