MRAP

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For other uses, see MRAP (disambiguation).
MRAP
FPCougar.jpg
An MRAP Cougar HE tested in January 2007, with landmines detonating around it.
Type Armored personnel carrier (wheeled)
Service history
In service 2007–present[1]
Used by Croatia, United States of America, International Security Assistance Force
Wars Iraq, Afghanistan
Production history
Manufacturer various
Specifications
Weight 14+ tons

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP; /ˈɛmræp/ EM-rap) vehicles are 14 ton armored fighting vehicles used by armed forces, designed to withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes. Armored vehicles designed specifically to counter the land mine threat were first used during the Rhodesian Bush War; technology was subsequently matured by the South African Defence Force after 1980.[2] From 2007 until 2012 the Pentagon's MRAP program deployed more than 12,000 MRAPs in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan; MRAPs left behind originally intended for the rebuilt Iraqi Army, have been captured and used by ISIS. MRAP's were used by riot police in the August 2014 Ferguson unrest.

General information[edit]

Design[edit]

Writing on the door of an MRAP reads "This truck saved my life as well as 5 others on 02 Apr 08 at 2300 L(local) in Basrah, IZ."

There is no common MRAP vehicle design, as there are several vendors, each with its own vehicle. MRAP vehicles usually have "V"-shaped hulls to deflect explosive forces from below the vehicle, thereby protecting vehicle and passengers.[citation needed] Explosions may be from land mines,or IEDs. This design dates to the 1970s when it was first introduced in specialized vehicles built by and for the Rhodesian army, and further developed by South African manufacturers, starting in 1978 with the Buffel (Buffalo) armored personnel carrier (APC).[citation needed]

The TSG/FPI Cougar designed by a British-led U.S. team in 2004 for a U.S. Marine Corps requirement[citation needed] became the springboard from which the MRAP program (2007-2012) was launched. The original concept was to replace Humvee-type vehicles with a more robust, survivable vehicle when on patrol "outside the wire".[citation needed] Because there are only two steel mills in the U.S., Oregon Steel Mills and International Steel Group, qualified to produce steel armor for the US Department of Defense, it negotiated to ensure enough steel was available to keep pace with production.[3] The following companies submitted designs:

A RG-33 convoy with the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) system installed.

There are plans to integrate the Crows II remote weapon station, the Frag Kit 6 anti-EFP armor, and the Boomerang anti-sniper system on many MRAPs in combat.[citation needed]

MRAP program, 2007-2012[edit]

First MaxxPros fielded in Iraq
The last vehicle from Iraq returned to U.S. This vehicle arrived at the Port of Beaumont, Texas, Sunday, May 6th, 2012, and was unloaded from the ship on Monday, May 7th, 2012.[5]

Originally Brig. General Michael Brogan, then Brig. General Frank Kelley, Commander, United States Marine Corps Systems Command, were in charge of the Marine MRAP program.[6][7] Kevin Fahey, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Command Support and Combat Service Support,[8] managed the Army MRAP program.[9] In 2007, the Marine Corps had planned to replace all Humvees in combat zones with MRAP vehicles, although this appears to have changed.[10][11][12][13] As armored vehicles were considered an "urgent need" in Afghanistan, the MRAP program was primarily funded under an "emergency war budget". On 8 May 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the acquisition of MRAPs is the Department of Defense's highest priority,[14] so for fiscal year 2007 $1.1 billion is earmarked for MRAP.[3] Gates decided to ramp up MRAP orders after the Marines reported in 2004 that no troops had died in more than 300 IED attacks on Cougars[15]

The US military MRAP program was prompted by U.S. deaths in the Iraq War.[16] By issuing numerous contracts for MRAPs to several companies in response to the situation in the Iraq War, the Marine Corps hoped to accelerate the rate of production, and to expedite the delivery of vehicles to deployed forces.

2007[edit]

In 2007, the Pentagon ordered about 10,000 MRAPs at a cost of over $500,000 each, and planned to order more MRAPs.[17] Partial list of January-July 2007 orders under the MRAP program:

  • On 30 January 2007, FPI received an order for two Cougar H and two Cougar HE vehicles for testing and evaluation by the USMC for the MRAP program.[18]
  • On 14 February 2007, the Marine Corps Systems Command placed a $67.4 million delivery order for 65 Category I Cougar H vehicles and 60 Category II Cougar HE vehicles,[19] as well as a $55.4 million delivery order 15 Category I BAE RG-33 vehicles, and 75 Category II BAE RG-33L vehicles, built in York, Pennsylvania.
  • On 24 April 2007, the Marine Corps Systems Command placed a $481.4 million order with Force Protection for 300 Category I Cougar H vehicles and 700 Category II Cougar HE vehicles.[10]
  • On 31 May 2007, the Marine Corps Systems Command ordered 1200 Category I International MaxxPros at a cost of $623 million.[20]
  • On 1 June 2007, FPI received an order for 14 Category III Buffalo vehicles from the Marine Corps Systems Command. The contract is worth an approximate $11.9 million and is scheduled for completion by spring 2008.[18]
  • On 19 June 2007, the Navy placed an order on behalf of the Marine Corps and Army for 395 Category I, 60 Category II Force Protection Cougars at a cost of $221 million, and for 16 Category II International MaxxPro XLs for the sum of $8 million.[21]
  • On 28 June 2007, amended July 16, 2007, BAE Systems received a $235.8 million order for 16 RG-33 Category I patrol vehicles, 239 RG-33L Category II vehicles, 170 RG-33 Category I variants for the United States Special Operations Command, out of their total allotment of 333 vehicles, and 16 RG-33L Category II Ambulance variants, which are the first vehicles in the competition specifically listed for the ambulance role.[22][23]
  • On 13 July 2007, Stewart & Stevenson (Armor Holdings) received an order for 1,154 Category I and 16 Category II MRAP vehicles from the Marine Corps Systems Command. The vehicles are for delivery by February 2008 and the order is worth $518.5 million.[24]
  • On 20 July 2007, IMG received an additional order for 755 I MaxxPro MRAP vehicles.[25]
  • On 6 August 2007, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada received an order for 600 MRAP Category II RG-31 vehicles. The contract is worth $338.7 million. Manufacturing done by the Demmer Corporation of Lansing, Michigan, in addition to BAE OMC of Benoni, South Africa. Deliveries completed by March 2008.[26][27]
  • On 10 August 2007, the Marine Corps Systems Command placed a USD $69.8m order with Force Protection for 25 Category 1 Cougar H vehicles and 100 Category II Cougar HE vehicles.[28]
  • On 18 October 2007, the Pentagon placed additional orders for one thousand Category I vehicles from IMG (worth $509 million), 533 Category I and 247 Category II vehicles from Force Protection (worth $377 million), and 399 standard Category II, 112 ambulance-configured Category II RG-33L vehicles (worth $278 million) from BAE Systems. BAE also received a separate $44 million order for 89 RG33 Mod 5 (Category I) vehicles, for the U.S. Special Operations Command. GDLS and Armor Holdings were informed that they would receive no further orders in the MRAP program.[29][30]
  • On 18 December 2007, the U.S. military ordered 1,500 Category I MaxxPros (worth $1.12 billion) from Navistar, 600 Category II vehicles ($645 million) from BAE, 668 Category II vehicles (worth $458 ) from Armor Holdings (though BAE), and 178 Category I and 180 Category II Cougars ($378 million)from Force Protection.[31]

2008[edit]

  • On 14 March 2008, the U.S. military ordered 1,024 Category II Caiman's from BAE (worth $481.8 million), 743 Category I MaxxPros from Navistar ($410.7 million), and special command vehicles and ambulances from BAE ($234 million).[32]
  • On 17 July 2007, the U.S. Marine Corps System Command ordered 773 RG31 Category I MRAPs ($552M) from General Dynamics Land Systems Canada for delivery by April 2009.[33]

2009[edit]

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $1,064.46 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract W56HZV-09-D-0111 to exercise an option for 1,700 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles. A similar Army contract for 1,700 MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles was valued at a further $1,063.7 million.[34] By 2009 the US Department of Defense had spent $20 billion on the MRAP program.[35] Total MRAP program expenditure when final deliveries are accepted is expected to be $48.5 billion (FY10-11).[citation needed]

Categories[edit]

American serviceman alongside his MRAP Cougar, Ramadi, Iraq, in 2008

The MRAP class is separated into three categories according to weight and size.

Category I (MRAP-MRUV)[edit]

The Mine-Resistant Utility Vehicle (MRUV) is smaller and lighter, designed for urban operations.

International MaxxPro Category 1 MRAP

Category 1 MRAP vehicles ordered or currently in service:

  • BAE Caiman 4x4 - 2,800 ordered.[24][36][37]
  • BAE OMC RG-31[38]
  • BAE RG-33 4x4[39]
  • Force Protection Cougar H 4x4 - 1,560 vehicles ordered.[10][40]
  • International MaxxPro - 5,250 vehicles ordered.[20][41][42]
  • Textron M1117 Guardian - Removed from competition. As of May 18, 2007, has been notified by the USMC that they will not be receiving any additional orders as part of the MRAP program.[43]
  • Protected Vehicles Inc./Oshkosh Truck Alpha - Although 100 vehicles were initially ordered, Oshkosh was notified by the Marine Corps on June 29, 2007 that it would receive no further orders for the PVI Alpha due to "concern regarding overall vehicle survivability" and other fundamental design deficiencies of an automotive and ergonomic nature, adding that remediation "would require significant redesign".[44][45]

Category II (MRAP-JERRV)[edit]

The Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) is designed for missions including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering.

Category II MRAP vehicles ordered or currently in service:

  • Force Protection Cougar HE 6x6 - 950 vehicles ordered.[10]
  • BAE RG-33L 6x6
  • GDLS RG-31E - 600 vehicles ordered.[46]
  • Thales Australia Bushmaster IMV - Has been removed from the competition as of 2007-08-07. According to a Thales press release, "The Thales Bushmaster vehicle offer for the US MRAP Phase 1 Program was not selected due to an evolving requirement, not due to a lack of marketing or lobbying effort…. Thales and Oshkosh remain confident of future potential sales of Bushmaster under ongoing Phases of MRAP in the US."[47]
  • Protected Vehicles Inc Golan - 60 vehicles initially ordered, then when the Golan was eliminated from the competition all vehicles were discarded by the Marines.[48]
  • International MaxxPro XL - 16 vehicles ordered.[49]
  • BAE Caiman 6x6 - 16 vehicles ordered.[24]

Category III[edit]

  • Force Protection Buffalo MRV
  • Dedicated mine- and IED-clearing functionality.
  • Seating to carry six personnel.

Criticism[edit]

The deployment of MRAP vehicles has been criticized for its high cost ($17.6 billion program), potential logistical difficulties due to high fuel consumption and varied designs, a greater disconnection between troops and the local population due to MRAPs' massive size and menacing appearance conflicting with current counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy, and unclear disposal. In 2007 it was unknown what U.S. military would do with them following a U.S. withdrawal from the current conflict in Iraq since they are expensive to transport and operate (some speculate they may be sold or donated to Iraq, or put in storage in the US.)[50][51] MRAP funding has pulled money away from other tactical vehicle programs, most noticeably the HMMWV replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which has been delayed by two years.[52]

According to Army Times, troops openly wonder about the design of some versions of the MRAP. For example, why the rear seats face inward and not outward in a way so they could fire their weapons through ports, which some versions even lack. The height and steepness of the dropdown stairs at the rear of the some versions can make exiting the vehicle dangerous. Troops riding in the rear can hit their heads on the ceiling while bouncing around in rough terrain. Medics told the Army Times that a soldier broke his neck after bouncing his head on the overhead, and another is said to have seriously damaged his skull after slamming into a protruding bolt in the overhead while wearing a soft cover.[53]

Earlier reports had stated that the MRAP had been well received with US troops stating that they would prefer to be hit by an IED in an MRAP rather than a Humvee.[54][55]

Rollovers and electric shock[edit]

A Caiman after rolling into a ditch.

A June 13 2008 report by the 'Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned' indicated concerns about MRAP vehicles rolling over in combat zones. The V-shaped hulls of the MRAP give it a higher center of gravity and the weight of the MRAP can cause the poorly built or maintained roads in rural Iraq or Afghanistan to collapse. Of the 66 MRAP accidents between November 7, 2007, and June 8, 2008, almost 40 were due to rollovers caused by bad roads, weak bridges, or driver error. In many of the rollovers troops were injured, and in two separate incidents five soldiers have been killed by rolling over into a canal and getting trapped under water. The report said 75% of all rollovers occurred in rural areas often where roads are above grade and an adjacent ditch or canal. The report raised concerns associated with MRAP vehicles snagging on low-hanging power lines in Iraq or its antennas getting close enough to create an electric arc, which may lead to electrocution of passengers. The person located in the gunner's hatch is at the highest risk.[53][56]

Effectiveness[edit]

MRAP Cougar hit by a large IED in Iraq, all crew survived

The MRAP may not be effective against Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP), which use an explosive charge to propel a specially shaped metal plate at high velocity while simultaneously deforming it into an armor-piercing projectile. Use of EFPs in the Iraq war more than doubled in 2006, and as of 2007 was expected to continue to increase.[57][58] In 2007, 11 percent of all roadside bomb fatalities were due to EFPs.[59] In 2007, the Marines estimated that the use of the MRAP could reduce casualties in Iraq due to IED attacks by as much as 80 percent.[60] The MRAP weakness was addressed by the next-generation MRAP II. As an interim solution, the military installed a variant of the Humvee's IED defeating Frag Kit 6 armor, which adds significant weight, as well as width to the already large and heavy vehicle.[7] In July 2008 the U.S. military reported the number of EFP attacks had dropped by 70 percent.[61]

On 19 January 2008 a 3rd Infantry Division U.S. Army soldier operating as the exposed turret gunner, was killed in a Navistar MaxxPro MRAP vehicle by an ANFO IED estimated at 600 lb.[62] It is unknown whether the gunner was killed by the explosion or by the vehicle when it rolled over after the blast. The vehicle’s v-hull was not compromised. The crew compartment also appeared to be uncompromised, and the three other crew members inside the vehicle survived; one with a shattered left foot, a broken nose and several broken teeth; one with a fractured foot; and the third physically unharmed.[62][63][64][65]

Although this was reported as the first MRAP combat death, later reports stated that three soldiers had been killed by IEDs in RG-31s and two by EFPs in Buffalos before this incident.[66] As of May 6, 2008 eight soldiers had been reported killed in the thousands of MRAPs in Iraq, according to news service Knight Ridder.[67] In June 2008, USA Today reported that roadside bomb attacks and fatalities were down almost 90% partially due to MRAPs. "They've taken hits, many, many hits that would have killed soldiers and Marines in unarmored Humvees", according to Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Maj. General Rick Lynch, who commanded a division in Baghdad, told USA Today the 14-ton MRAPs have forced insurgents to build bigger, more sophisticated bombs to knock out the vehicles. Those bombs take more time and resources to build and set up, which gives U.S. forces a better chance of catching the insurgents in the act and stopping them.[68] According to Marinetimes.com the Taliban was also focusing their efforts away from anti-material IEDs and more toward smaller anti-personnel bombs that target soldiers on patrol.[69] In 2014 the US acknowledged that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was operating an advanced armored personnel carrier captured in Iraq.[70]

The MRAP program is similar to the United States Army's Medium Mine Protected Vehicle program.[71]


Logistics[edit]

Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAP) are offloaded from the Military Sealift Command roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Pililaau (T-AKR 304) onto the pier.

The MRAP program's lack of a common design presents a potential wartime logistic challenge, and the relatively low number of delivered units to Iraq and Afghanistan, despite large orders, has been criticized.[7] Some analysts see the diversity of MRAP vehicles as an advantage.[72][dead link] Other criticisms include the vehicle's weight and size, which severely limits its mobility off main roads, in urban areas, and over bridges.[73] 72 percent of the world's bridges cannot hold the MRAP.[74] Its heft also restricts several of the vehicles from being transported by C-130 cargo aircraft or the amphibious ships that carry Marine equipment and supplies. Although three MRAP vehicles (or five Oshkosh M-ATVs) fit in a C-17 aircraft, airlifting is extremely expensive, at $150,000 per vehicle, according to estimates by the U.S. Transportation Command.[75] In an effort to rush more vehicles to the theater, the US Air Force contracted several Ukrainian Antonov An-124 heavy-cargo aircraft, which became a familiar sight above cities such as Charleston, South Carolina where some MRAPs are produced.[76] For comparison, sealifting costs around $13,000 per vehicle, but takes 3–4 weeks for the vehicle to arrive in theater.[77] In December 2007, the Marine Corps reduced its request from 3,700 vehicles to 2,300.[13] The Army was also reassessing its MRAP requirements in Iraq.[78] after[79] In January 2010, 400 were flown in to Afghanistan, increasing to 500 a month in February, but the goal of 1,000 a month was scaled back, because of difficulties in distribution and training drivers.[75]

MRAP II[edit]

A member of the United States Air Force stands in front of an MRAP in Southwest Asia.
Caiman mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles in Iraq.
External images
The Bull APC[dead link][80]

On July 31, 2007, the Marine Corps Systems Command launched an MRAP II pre-solicitation, to develop a new vehicle that offers a higher level of protection than the current MRAP vehicles, particularly from threats such as explosively formed penetrators.[81] While the Frag Kit 6 was designed to meet the threat of EFPs, the MRAP II competition's purpose was to find a vehicle that didn't need the upgrade kit. The U.S. Army Research laboratory worked to ensure the technologies used in Frag Kit 6 would be available to MRAP II designers.

The 2007 solicitation asked to give the Joint Program Management Office greater flexibility.[82] [83]

Initial testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds disqualified vehicles that didn’t meet requirements. Competitors who did not receive MRAP-II orders included Force Dynamics (reinforced Cougar), GDLS Canada (upgraded BAE OMC RG-31), Navistar subsidiary IMG (upgraded MaxxPro), Textron's upgraded M1117, and Protected Vehicles, Inc. (upgraded Golan vehicle, with improved side doors and different armor; .[84] Blackwater USA (Grizzly APC with Ares EXO Scale appliqué armor) was later disqualified due to a limited amount of armor in the frontal area of the vehicle.

The two qualified designs were an upgraded Caiman, originally designed by Armor Holdings which was later acquired by BAE Systems, and the Bull, a combined effort between Ideal Innovations Inc, Ceradyne and Oshkosh. Both of the designs weighed 40,000 lb or more.

According to the Army Times in August 2007, the Pentagon had already decided to buy first-generation 14- to 24-ton MRAP I vehicles with extra Frag Kit 6-derived armor, not the 30-ton MRAP II vehicles, when placing its final MRAP orders at the end of summer, after a field commander's report on MRAP.[85] The paper also reported that in addition, the Pentagon may buy some shorter, lighter MRAPs in their final batch. A senior Pentagon official told them that "the roads are caving in" under the weight of MRAPs and "We want it to weigh less than it weighs now.”[86]


MRAP All Terrain Vehicle[edit]

On 30 June 2009, the Department of Defense announced that Oshkosh Defense had been awarded a production contract for 2,244 of the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) to address the immediate need for vehicles in Afghanistan. In October 2009, the first M-ATVs were shipped to Afghanistan.[87]

Post-war applications[edit]

With the end of the Iraq War and the drawdown of the War in Afghanistan, there was some question as to what to do with MRAPs, as they were designed specifically for asymmetric warfare. The Army decided they would keep them in some sort of service post-war. Of the approximately 20,000 MRAPs in service, 30% (6,000) will stay in brigade combat teams as troop transports and route clearance vehicles, 10% (2,000) will be used for training, and 60% (12,000) will go into storage. MRAPs are to be superseded by the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle when it enters service in 2016. It still may be used until 2022, when the JLTV is in use in sufficient numbers.[88]

On October 1, 2012, the Pentagon officially closed the MRAP production line. As of that date, 27,740 MRAP vehicles of all types had rolled off the assembly lines of seven manufacturers, and 12,726 vehicles were still in the Afghanistan theater of operations. About 870 were sold to foreign militaries, with 700 on foreign order.[89]

In early July 2012, five MRAP vehicles were delivered to the 2nd Infantry Division in the Korean Peninsula. The 2ID tested over 50 vehicles to see how they would be used by American troops in the region and if their capabilities were right for Korea. The vehicles would enhance protection against tens of thousands to millions of mines buried along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. In addition to force protection, the MRAPs provided a platform for "mission command-on-the-move" to give commanders communications and command-and-control capabilities while moving across the battlefield. Most, if not all, of the MRAPs delivered in Korea were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and were refurbished in the U.S. Previous combat experiences would determine how to best use the vehicles in South Korea. Integration into 2ID formations was to take less than a year, with positioning on the front line the following year.[90] U.S. Military officials said the MRAPs were brought in to determine whether they would enhance their ability “to preserve peace and deter aggression on the Korean peninsula.” North Korean Military officials claimed they would be used to safely cross the DMZ to mount an all-out attack on the North, and said the forward deployment of such military hardware disturbed peace and stability in the region. However, by August 2013, the 2ID had decided not to utilize the over 80 MRAPs on the peninsula. They determined the vehicles were “not suitable for maneuver battalions to use” and that there are no plans to add MRAPs to their fleet in the foreseeable future. The vehicles were returned to the Army fleet management system for use in more suitable regions.[91]

Navistar Defense is pitching its MaxxPro MRAP as a vehicle that can be upgraded into a mobile command post or power generator. With budget cuts, the plan would allow the Army to get solutions they want from the existing fleet. At Association of the United States Army 2013, a version called the Mission Command on the Move (MCOTM) was displayed as a command post with monitors, computers, and antennae mounted in the back for communications and surveillance. Five passengers can monitor incoming information, see unmanned aerial vehicle feeds, and keep track of where units are operating. The vehicle has an on-board transmission-integrated power generator that can produce up to 120 kilowatts of exportable power, which eliminates the need for a towed trailer and can single-handedly power a semi-permanent tactical operations center. It would allow commanders to be connected to dismounted troops and headquarters while on the move. The MCOTM version will undergo testing at the Army's network integration evaluations in February 2014.[92][93]

The U.S. government is looking to sell about 2,000 out of the 11,000 MRAPs it has in Afghanistan. The logistical and financial task of bringing all the vehicles back to the U.S., or destroying some in-country, is too great and foreign buying are sought to take them. Several countries have reportedly shown interest but none have signed agreements. The cost of buying them would include shipping them out of Afghanistan themselves.[94] If the MRAPs cannot be sold to allies, U.S. forces will have to resort to destroying the vehicles before they leave the country. The quantities of MRAPs have been ruled as "in excess" of the needs of the U.S. military and would cost $50,000 per vehicle to ship them out of the country, and they won't be given to the Afghan National Security Forces because they can't maintain them or operate their electronic systems. The cost of destroying them would be $10,000 per vehicle.[95] The Pakistani Army has shown interest in acquiring former U.S. MRAPs, which could be driven right across the border and handed over to Pakistani forces. Pakistani soldiers are more vulnerable to IEDs in their current armored vehicles than they are in MRAP vehicles.[96] Afghan forces have objected to this option because their soldiers would be sustaining higher casualties and want excess MRAPs left to them, but they don't have enough money to operate a large number of vehicles. India is concerned that MRAPs have "limited utility" in certain areas of Pakistan and that they would more likely be used in an offensive operation against India. The U.S. issued mixed statements, at first claiming they had no plans to provide Pakistan with MRAPs, then said they were considering and reviewing their request for excess defense articles which may include the vehicles.[97] The Pakistani military already operates 22 MaxxPro MRAPs, and a deal is being worked on to deliver 160 more MaxxPros to the country's military. The MaxxPros would be a mix of new builds and stored vehicles from U.S. Army prepositioned stocks in Kuwait and be spread among the Pakistani Army, Air Force, and Navy. The Leahey Amendment is blocking the deal because it prevents the transfer of military equipment to foreign military or police units that have been accused of human rights abuses.[98]

Post-war reductions[edit]

As of September 2013, the U.S. Marine Corps had 3,700-3,800 MRAP vehicles. The service planned to reduce the numbers in their inventory to 1,200-1,300 due to sequestration budget cuts,[99] but then increased that number to 2,500 vehicles.[100]

8,700 Oshkosh M-ATV vehicles were purchased by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command beginning in 2009 for use in Afghanistan. As part of the overall divesture of the wartime MRAP fleet, the U.S. government will keep about 5,600 M-ATVs, with some 250 vehicles for SOCOM.[101]

About 9,000 Navistar MaxxPro vehicles were bought by the Army from 2007 to 2011, and they plan to keep only about 3,000 of them.[92][93]

Following the drawdown from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the U.S. Army will reduce its MRAP fleet to 8,000 vehicles.[94]

Law enforcement[edit]

FBI Mine Resistant Ambush vehicle

United States Department of Homeland Security Rapid Response Teams have used MRAPs while assisting people affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes.[102][103] The Department of Homeland Security has also used MRAP-style vehicles while fighting illegal narcotics smuggling.[104] The Federal Bureau of Investigation used an MRAP-type vehicle in a kidnapping and hostage case in Midland, Alabama.[105]

Police departments inside the U.S. are acquiring MRAP vehicle through the 1033 program, which allows the Defense Department to redistribute equipment it no longer needs to state and municipal agencies. Rather than buying a new vehicle, which would cost $535,000-$600,000 to procure, some police departments like the Ohio State University Police Department have picked up surplus MRAPs from the Pentagon for free. By October 2013, nearly a dozen departments in several states had acquired the armored vehicles. Domestic agencies plan to use them in disaster relief roles, as they can go through flooded areas unlike normal police armored vehicles, and to respond to terrorist threats, such as playing a role in guarding sports stadiums. MRAPs used by police forces have the machine gun turret removed and are repainted from their original flat desert tan to black. Organizations have become critical about police use of military vehicles and worried about police militarization. Proponents of the domestic acquisitions argue they fill the same role as the standard police Lenco BearCat armored vehicles.[106] Proponents, such as Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, when speaking to Fox said the unique mine resistant capability is important because of "[veterans] who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.'s and to defeat law enforcement techniques."[107]

In early October 2013, the Northwest Regional SWAT team in Indiana received a BAE Caiman 6x6 MRAP. The armored vehicle will primarily be used for rescue situations. In a situation with a gunman, it could be put in between them and personnel. In a natural disaster situation like a flood or blizzard, the Caiman could drive through feet of water or snow and possibly rescue people trapped in their homes. The Caiman normally costs $412,000, but was obtained for no cost through a federal program to give surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies. Northwest Regional SWAT was on a waiting list for over a year for a vehicle before receiving the Caiman.[108]

Since becoming available in the summer of 2013, 165 MRAP vehicles had been acquired by police and sheriff’s departments. The American Civil Liberties Union has concerns of "increasing militarization of the nation’s police," and that the military hardware could escalate violent situations. Many vehicles have been obtained by rural police with few officers or crime. Police have rejected the notion of militarization and maintain that an MRAP would be an addition to their inventory to be prepared for any situation, with the main purpose of protecting occupants. Police in Boise, Idaho used their vehicles to serve a warrant to a suspect that was thought to be armed, and was found with two guns and 100 lb (45 kg) of explosive material. One was placed in front of officers to protect from a possible explosion. The Albany County Sheriff's Department has received an MRAP, which will be used alongside military surplus Humvees that have already been used for storm evacuations and to pull downed trees. About 150 other surplus vehicles, including Humvees, are in use by police departments in situations that the MRAPs could be used in. 731 more MRAPs are requested for domestic use. Though the vehicles are obtained for free, they have drawbacks for law enforcement. Some types weigh as much as 18 tons, which limits mobility on certain bridges, roads, and uneven ground. Fuel efficiency can be as little as 5 miles per gallon. Refitting a vehicle with a closed turret, black paint, new seating, loudspeakers, and emergency lights can cost around $70,000.[109]

The Defense Logistics Agency is in charge of off-loading 13,000 MRAPs to 780 domestic law enforcement agencies on waiting lists for vehicles. The DLA does not transfer property to the agencies, so the vehicles are allocated to the agencies with costs picked up by them or the state, while the vehicles still remain property of the Defense Department. To receive an armored vehicle, a requesting agency has to meet certain criteria including justification for use like for shooting incidents, SWAT operations, and drug interdiction, geographical area and multi-jurisdiction use, ability to pay for repairs and maintenance, and security and restricted access to the vehicle. The goal is to keep citizens in their jurisdiction safe from terrorist and criminal drug activity.[110]

See also[edit]

Poly Technologies Inc. CS/VP3 MRAP

References[edit]

  1. ^ "First MRAP vehicles delivered to Iraq". 
  2. ^ Russell, Robert W (2009). Does the MRAP meet the U.S. Army's needs as the primary method of protecting troops from the IED threat? (Master of Military Art and Science thesis). US Army Command and General Staff College. 
  3. ^ a b Surge in vehicle orders calls for unconventional buying methods[dead link]
  4. ^ "BAE Systems completes acquisition of Armor Holdings Inc." (PDF) (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-06. [dead link]
  5. ^ "MRAP04 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  6. ^ [1] Top Stories dla.mil[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Defense Tech: Frag Kit 6 to go on MRAPs[dead link]
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External links[edit]