The US Marine Corps decided to cut their planned
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
(MRAP) vehicle order by 1,400 vehicles, settling for about
2,300 vehicles to equip currently deployed forces in Iraq. The
stated reason for the decision is the reduced violence in Iraq
and the vehicle's mobility issues, restricting its movement
in theater. Other considerations could derive from the difficulty
to support the outsized vehicle with current or future naval
transportation vessels. The reduction in MRAP orders could save
the corps $1.7 billion. (More...)
Gen. James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant,
said that improvised explosive device attacks are down sharply
in western Iraq where most of the Marines operate. He also cited
the inability to use the massive MRAPs for chasing terrorists
in urban areas, off main roads, and over less stable bridges.
For those reasons, the Marines need more armored Humvees, which
are lighter and more mobile, Conway said. Ultimately, the Marines
want to replace the Humvees with the JLTV.
Sofar the Marines procured the MRAP based on Force Protection
Cougar armored vehicle. The Army plans to acquire 10,000 MRAPs,
opting for the MaxPro produced by International and BAE Systems'
RG33. The Army also bought heavy Buffalo vehicles from force
protection, for route clearance. Special Operations Command
has also ordered BAE Systems' RG-31s.
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