in 2007 the US Marine Corps awarded production contracts to
eight manufacturers, each producing four Mine Resistant Armor
Protected (MRAP) vehicles for trials. Currently, more than 5,690
of the vehicles have been ordered under the initial MRAP vehicle
program solicitation. About 210 vehicles are already operational
in theater. Up to 8,000 vehicles are slated to be ordered through
current and requested fiscal 2008 funding. The MRAP vehicle’s
V-shaped hull and raised chassis have proven to protect troops
from improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire and mines.
However, as enemy threats to warfighters evolve, the technology
used to protect the troops must evolve as well. In a request
for proposal released on July 31, 2007, the Marine Corps is
asking industry again to propose even more capable MRAPs.
Vehicles procured through this second solicitation must meet
enhanced requirements determined by commanders in the field.
MRAP IIs will de designed for the same categories and roles
defined for MRAP I program. “MRAP II continues our need
to exploit every opportunity to deliver force protection,”
said Paul Mann, Joint MRAP program manager. “It builds
on the acquisition velocity in process now and enables industry
to help us deliver improved solutions in support of battlefield
commanders.” The MRAP II solicitation is designed to provide
the Joint Program Management Office with flexibility increasing
production capability and providing vehicles with enhance protection
and performance to meet future near-term requirements.
Orders for vehicles will continue to be placed under the MRAP
I program until production verification of MRAP II vehicles
is determined. Manufacturers have until Sept. 17 to respond
to the MRAP II solicitation.
Four manufacturers, International Military and Governance LLC,
Armor Holdings, BAE Land Systems and Force Protection Industries,
Inc., are primarily tasked with production of those vehicles
and it is expected that more producers will join the program
in its next phase. Some like Oshkosh and Ceradyne have already
teamed for the new program. PVI is also expected to become a
more substantial player in the next program, with its new production
lines gearing up and new armoring materials are matured.