U.S.M.C. Relies on Navistar to Upgrade MRAP Vehicles

by: Matthew Potter
January 11, 2012

Category: BAE Systems, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Department of Defense, Events, logistics, Navistar, Oshkosh Truck Corp, production program, Services, U.S. Marine Corps | RSS 2.0

When the U.S. began to understand the complexity and lethality of the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat to its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan it reacted by investing billions in a mixed fleet of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from a variety of suppliers. These were large, wheeled armored trucks designed to channel mine blasts and were used to move troops and supplies primarily on roads. They were used to replace unarmored HUMVEE and trucks that the U.S. military had relied on for decades to be their prime movers of men and materials.

Many of these vehicles were evolved out of experience the Israeli and South African military had gained by operating in areas where insurgent movements targeted them with comparable threats. Different companies were able to come up with designs that where quickly purchased and deployed. These included commercial truck companies like Navistar (NAV) and Oshkosh (OSK) as well as traditional defense contractors such as BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) as well as new start ones similar to Force Protection.

With the end of fighting in Iraq and transfer of the main effort to Afghanistan MRAP vehicles were considered too unwieldy and roadbound to support tactical operations. This led to the development of Oshkosh’s MRAP-AT designed for more off road actions.

At the same time the Army, Navy and U.S.M.C. possess large numbers of MRAP vehicles that now must be fitted into tactical organizations and doctrine. With that in mind the Marines just awarded Navistar a contract to upgrade almost 3,000 of their systems with new “rolling” chassis to improve their off-road capability. The contract has a value of $880 million.

Similar efforts will have to be made to improve other MRAP vehicles to make them a more tactical system rather then just a logistics support vehicle. Billions have been invested in them, their support and training. The U.S. will possess a large number for years to come and cannot guarantee that they will be in situations or environments that their features are best for. If not they will have to maintain a fleet of different vehicles and organizations to utilize them which is not only inefficient but expensive in a time when budgets will be declining and must be made more effective.

Photo from Tumbleweed:-)’s Flickr Photostream.

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