Defense Update News:

Navistar Gets $752 Million for 800+ 'MRAP-Lite' MaxxPro-Dash Vehicles

MaxxPro-Dash will be lighter, more stable and maneuverable, as required for operations in the challenging Afghan terrain

Navistar Defense will develop and build a lighter version of the MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) under a $752 million contract awarded last week by the US Marine Corps. The corps is the program manager for the development and procurement of the MRAP vehicles, built under an urgent requirement to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from ambushes, improvised explosive devices (IED), mines and roadside bombs. (more...) (Current News)

The Marine Corps procured over 10,000 MRAP vehicles of different classes since late 2007. While MRAPs provided effective protection for the troops, units operating these vehicles encountered operational issues related to the vehicle's weight and maneuverability. In fact, with all its armor and protection gear, the MRAP became too heavy for its suspension and axle systems, and given its 'top-heavy' design, it also became vulnerable to rollover, particularly in the sloped unpaved Afghan mountain roads. According to Marine commandant, General James T. Conway, although more MRAPs have been deployed to Iraq than Afghanistan, Conway said, the Marines have experienced more rollovers in Afghanistan.

Under the new contract awarded by the US Marine Corps, Navistar will design a lighter, smaller and more mobile variant of its MaxxPro MRAP. Production will begin in October 2008 at the company’s West Point, Miss., plant with delivery of 822 units to be completed by February 2009. However, it is not clear yet weather the US Marines in Afghanistan will get this vehicle, since the MaxxPro was delivered primarily to the US Army while corps has sofar used primarily the Cougar version of MRAP.

The new vehicle, to be designated 'MaxxPro Dash', will maintain the survivability system used on all MaxxPro MRAP variants, including additional up-armoring. The redesigned chassis will allow for greater mobility in a smaller, lighter weight vehicle optimized for Afghanistan operations. A smaller turning radius and higher torque to weight ratio are among the improvements to mobility, provided by the MaxxForce D engine.

The MaxxPro Dash is the sixth variant in 12 months from Navistar’s MaxxPro MRAP vehicle platform. Since the initial contract in May 2007, Navistar has won more than $3 billion in contracts to produce a total of 5,222 MRAP vehicles. Navistar’s MRAP platform includes the MaxxPro, MaxxPro Plus, which adds protection against roadside bombs with additional Frag Kit 6 side pannels, MaxxPro ambulance, MaxxPro MEAP, MaxxPro Air Force and the new MaxxPro Dash.