U.S. Army refining long-term MRAP plan

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is in the process of refin­ing a long-term plan for its fleet of 20,000 blast-deflect­ing, mine-resis­tant, ambush-pro­tect­ed vehi­cles, known as MRAPs, ser­vice offi­cials explained.

The first ship­ment of mine-resis­tant, ambush-pro­tect­ed vehi­cles arrived at Camp Lib­er­ty in west­ern Bagh­dad in 2007. With all of the MRAPs in Iraq now ret­ro­grad­ed, G‑8 offi­cials are refin­ing long-range plans for the Army’s fleet of 20,000.
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Some of the MRAPS will be placed in brigade com­bat team con­fig­u­ra­tions for as-need­ed troop trans­port and route clear­ance mis­sions; some will be put in stor­age facil­i­ties and oth­ers will be kept for train­ing pur­pos­es, accord­ing to Depart­ment of the Army G‑8 officials. 

“The MRAPs were a very suc­cess­ful pro­gram,” said Col. Mark Bar­bosa, chief, Focused Logis­tics Divi­sion, Direc­tor of Mate­r­i­al, G‑8. “The $45-bil­lion invest­ment had Office of the Sec­re­tary of Defense, or OSD, over­sight, with very strong sup­port in Con­gress. The plat­form was rushed to the­ater to pro­tect our Sol­diers and it did very well. In order to meet the time­lines we need­ed to meet, we had to go to mul­ti­ple ven­dors and we had to go to very large quantities.” 

Now that the war in Iraq is over and plans for an Afghan draw­down are under­way, the Army is out­lin­ing a long-term plan for the vehi­cles to place rough­ly 60 per­cent of them in stor­age or prepo­si­tioned stocks, 30 per­cent of them with units and about 10 per­cent of the fleet for home-based troop train­ing. In addi­tion, a small num­ber will be divest­ed, Bar­bosa said. 

At the same time, the MRAP plans are a key part of the cal­cu­lus of the Army’s over­all fleet strat­e­gy which, among the flag­ship pro­gram, plans to incre­men­tal­ly field the new, next-gen­er­a­tion Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Vehi­cle, or JLTV. The now-in-devel­op­ment JLTV, a new, high-tech light tac­ti­cal vehi­cle to begin field­ing by 2016, is being engi­neered with MRAP-like pro­tec­tion at a much lighter weight. 

“The JLTV will bring the MRAP-lev­el pro­tec­tion that we need, and the on-board pow­er we will need for cur­rent and future net­works. Also, the JLTV will have an off-road mobil­i­ty and sys­tem reli­a­bil­i­ty that will exceed what we have in MRAPs,” said Tim God­dette, direc­tor of sus­tain­ment sys­tems for the Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of the Army for Acqui­si­tion, Logis­tics and Tech­nol­o­gy, or ASA(ALT).

Over­all, MRAPs only rep­re­sent about sev­en per­cent of the Army’s wheeled vehi­cle inven­to­ry; by con­trast, the Army plans to have JLTVs make up rough­ly one-quar­ter of its total tac­ti­cal wheeled vehi­cle fleet, offi­cials said. In essence, the Army plans to acquire as many as 50,000 JLTVs by 2035, they said. 

The JLTV, which has fin­ished up its Tech­nol­o­gy Devel­op­ment phase aimed at refin­ing require­ments, is now poised to enter the Engi­neer­ing and Man­u­fac­tur­ing Devel­op­ment phase of the pro­gram. It is being built with an unprece­dent­ed blend of pro­tec­tion, pay­load capa­bil­i­ty and per­for­mance for a light tac­ti­cal vehi­cle, offi­cials said. 

“Even after the war, MRAPs are going to con­tin­ue to play an impor­tant role as an inter­im capa­bil­i­ty for the next ten years until JLTV comes on line in suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties,” God­dette said. 

God­dette also explained that the reset and sus­tain­ment process for the cur­rent MRAP fleet will involve ongo­ing work at Army depots such as the Red Riv­er Depot, Texas, and Let­terken­ny Depot, Pa., aimed at bring­ing more of the vehi­cles into a com­mon configuration. 

“When we reset the vehi­cles, we want to use the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring the vehi­cles into a com­mon con­fig­u­ra­tion; this will help us get more effi­cient with sus­tain­ment and train­ing,” God­dette said. 

U.S. Army 

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