The Pentagon plans to phase out its armored Humvees in Iraq
and Afghanistan and send in vehicles that better withstand roadside
bomb blasts, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday (May
The U.S. Navy evaluated nine suppliers for the procurement
of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
(MRAP) trucks, destined to augment and later replace up-armored
HMMWVs currently operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new
vehicles provides much improved protection , specifically against
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which cause 70% of all
U.S. casualties in Iraq.
initial phase of the joint services program, expected to cost
over US$2 billion is being managed by the US Marine Corps. However,
given the poor performance of light armored vehicles in Iraq
and AFghanistan, the realistic requirement for MRAP is currently
estimated by the Marines to be in excess of 7,700 vehicles,
worth an approximate $8.4 billion. Some 3,700 MRAPS will go
to the USMC while the Army plans to buy 2,500. The Army is expected
to get more than what it currently plans, if priorities are
changed. MRAP is the "highest priority Department of Defense
acquisition program," Gates wrote in a memo send in early
May 2007 to the secretaries of the Army and Navy.
Previous MRAP models (including Cougar
JERRV and Buffalo mine
protected trucks) are currently in service in Iraq and AFghanistan.
These armored vehicles have a proven record of saving lives
by augmenting the current level of mine, rocket propelled grenades
and improvised explosive devices (IED) protection with a V-shaped
hull and raised chassis.
Of the total 4,100 vehicles, 1500 will be Category I Mine Resistant
Utility Vehicle (MRUV) (designed for the US Marines and U.S.
Navy use) while 2,600 will be Category II Joint Explosive Ordnance
Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) destined mostly for
U.S. Army units. In total, the Army will get 2,500 vehicles,
the USMC: 1,022 and Navy: 538. MRAP, considered to be better
protected against IEDs, mines and, if required -- RPGs, is expected
to significantly improve the protection of troops deployed in
Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicle will use bullet-proof armor
and are designed with V shaped hull, deflecting the blast effect
created by mines or IED explosions. (more...)
The U.S. Navy program office has allocated over US$34.5 million
for the initial evaluation phase of 36 vehicles. Nine contracts
have been awarded last week to most producers of armored vehicles,
excluding AM General, (AMG) the producers of the HMMWV, which
will continue production of the lighter, Up Armored vehicle
under existing programs. The joint venture between AMG and AMG
Each company will deliver four test vehicles (two per category),
within 60 days. Among the contractors are some of the well established
names, such as BAE Systems, GDLS and Force protection, and truck
producers Oshkosh, International and Stewart & Stevenson
(Armor Holdings) but also smaller producers of special armored
vehicles, such as New Haven, Michigan based GPV and PVI, based
in North Charleston, S.C. The full list of MRAP contractors
- BAE Systems, Ground Systems Division -RG-31,
- Oshkosh Truck Corporation
- Protected Vehicles, Inc. (PVI) - Golan
Dynamics Land Systems - Canada Corporation, Canada
- Force Protection
Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C. - Cougar
- Armor Holdings, Inc.
- Textron Marine & Land Systems, New Orleans, La. - ASV
- General Purpose Vehicles, LLC. (GPV)
Military and Government LLC (APC)
Due to the tight procurement schedule, only commercially available
designs were considered. The vehicle should be designed for
off-road and highway mobility, and be configured for personnel,
cargo and litter transportation. The larger (JERRV) vehicle
should have a payload capacity of 5,000 lbs, and will be able
to carry 6 – 10 troops. The vehicle will be configured
to carry existing gunner protected turrets or remotely controlled
weapon stations, enabling the gunner to load, operate and engage
targets from fully protected positions. To improve recovery
after mine damage, the vehicle will be built of modular components
that could break away from the vehicle in the case of a blast.
Its energy absorbing seats should be capable of withstanding
the accelerative effects of mine blasts.
The armor protection of the vehicle include mine protection
and ballistic protection of the full, roof protection from overhead
airburst and side protection against fragmentation and blast.
The transparent armor windows will have protection level equal
to or greater than that of the ballistic armor on the vehicle,
and will have built-in gun-ports. RPG protection could also
be an option.