Pentagon has approved the expansion of the MRAP program to over
20,000 vehicles. The US Army plan to increase its fleet of MRAP
vehicles from the planned 2,300 to 17,700. The Marines's allocation
will remain at 3,400 and special operations forces will receive
about 300 (170
have already been ordered). This plans will virtually phase
out the HMMWV from use in combat patrols and high risk missions.
Responding to the urgent requirement, the Army plans to have
all 17,700 MRAPs in theater by April 2009. To accomodate this
plan all suppliers are expanding their production facilities
to speed up deliveries, reaching several hundred vehicles per
month by the autumn of 2007. By October 2007, 8800 vehicles
are on order and the Pentagon expects 1,500 of them to be delivered
to US forces in Iraq by the end of 2007.
The total procurement of MRAPs for all services could surpass
20,000 units, with an estimated procurement cost above $10 billion.
However, the MRAP life cycle cost is expected to rise significantly
above that level, due to the need for frequent damage repair
resulting from high operational tempo and frequent battle damage.
Some estimates value the program's life cycle cost at about
$20 billion. The up-armored Humvees proved vulnerable in Iraq
and Afghanistan, resulting in the growing demand for vehicles
that could better withstand roadside bomb blasts.
Between October and December 2006 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.
The initial joint services program, was expected to cost over
US$2 billion is being managed by the US Marine Corps. However,
given the poor performance of lightly armored vehicles in Iraq
and Afghanistan, the realistic requirement for MRAP rose to
over 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 much more than what it currently
plans, as priorities are changed and additional funding allocated.
MRAP is the "highest priority Department of Defense acquisition
program," Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in a memo
sent in early May 2007 to the secretaries of the Army and Navy.
Current forecasts based on urgent requirements directed by the
Department of Defense, call for the rapid acquisition of 17,000
- 20,000 heavily armored MRAP vehicles, replacing protected
HMMWV currently operating in theater. Despite the demand, manufacturers
are producing the vehicles at full capacity and it is doubtful
if they can increase production further in the near term.
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.
the original 4,100 vehicles included in the initial program,
1,500 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.
According to the original plans, the Army would get 2,500 vehicles,
the USMC: 1,022 and Navy: 538. As mentioned above, the Army
plans to significantly increase its procurement, with over 10,000
additional vehicles. Current 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.
By February 23, over $200 million were awarded to five contractors
for the low-rate initial production of some 400 vehicles, both
category I and II MRAPs, including Cougars,RG-33Ls,
By April 24, an additional orders for more than 1,190
MRAP vehicles was awarded to Force Protection.
In July 2007 Armor
Holdings' Stewart Stevenson subsidiary received production orders
for 1,170 Caiman model MRAP vehicles based on the company's
FMTV truck. The Caiman vehicle is based on Stewart Stevenson's
FMTV truck chasis, applied with bullet proof armor and IED protection
to fulfil the MRAP mission.
orders were issued to Oshkosh
for 100 Alpha vehicles and to PVI for 60 Golan
based MRAP were issued in March 2007. BAE Systems received
orders for 90 4x4 and 6x6 RG-33s.
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
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. Two versions of the targer
truck size vehicles are considered - a Cougar
sized, 38,000 pound (17 tons) vehicle with a payload capacity
of 5,000 pounds (2.25 tons), that will be able to carry 6 –
10 troops (about 2,000 vehicles required). 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 truck sub-category also includes a larger 45,000 pound (20
tons) armored truck, (Buffalo
size) are also required by the USMC and Navy.
Two truck manufacturers Oshkosh and International were selected
among nine companies, each providing two Category I and two
Category II vehicles for testing. The Category I vehicle is
the smaller of the two vehicles, intended for urban operations
and referred to as the Mine Resistant Utility Vehicle (MRUV).
The Category II vehicle is a larger platform, designated as
the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle
(JERRV), and is designed to carry up to 10 passengers on multiple
types of missions.
International Engines and Trucks (IET) has teamed with the
Israeli armor expert Plasan Sasa to provide protected Mine Resistant,
Ambush protected (MRAP)
vehicles. The two companies have already completed another armoring
design, fitting add-on armor cab to the MXT-MV
utility vehicle. International’s trucks will utilize
a modular concept to armor its trucks for the MRAP bid. The
design maintains the standard chassis to ensure commonality
and enable worldwide support, while assembling the modular,
V-shaped crew compartment hull on top. The V-shaped hull helps
to deflect any blasts from underneath the truck to dissipate
around the crew area, minimizing damage. The chassis types selected
for the bid include commercial trucks built to carry heavy loads,
therefore accommodating the weight of protective armor built
into the truck design. This design maintains the vehicle's maneuverability
even under full loads.
has an armor integration center in Mississippi, and is teamed
with Israeli armor expert Plasan Sasa to design and produce
the protection suit for International's MRAP model. In March
2007 the company will deliver to the U.S. Marines four vehicles
for testing. In June 2007 International receivd an initial order
for 1,200 Category I MRAP vehicles.
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.
An updated review of the MRAP program is available in the
February 2007 edition of National