Death of an MRAP
Posted by Lurch on August 30, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Bernhard from Moon Of Alabama has pointed out that a Marine Cougar MRAP has been killed by a large IED. EFPs that are allegedly supplied by Iran are not the problem. The real issue is all those hundreds or thousands of ammunition bunkers that Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld refused to guard during our initial conquest of Iraq.

Cougar-Bwreck-B001.jpg


Other photos at the link. Be sure to note what happened to the engine.


Main & Central Articles on MRAPs

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream

MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq

MRAPs Get Bad Press From Pentagon

The Struggle Between Armor and the Projectile

Death of an MRAP

The Struggle Between Armor and the Projectile
Posted by Lurch on August 30, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

As we watch our national treasure of blood and money sink into the sands of Mr Bu$h’s ego-war in Iraq, it’s useful to understand the mechanics of why our MRAPs will end up costing at least twice the amount (some $20 Billion) they were sold for. Part of that $20 Billion will be increased by the costs of flying these beasts to Iraq. This is a necessary cost because blood is far more expensive than money and the troops need these vehicles two years ago.

For some presently unexplained reason, when the Marines in Iraq started asking for them back in late 2004 the requests were ignored at the Pentagon. I speculated elsewhere that it was felt they would arrive after our Iraq conquest was completed – “cakewalk” and all – but then I am exceptionally cynical after watching the Bu$h malAdministration for six and one-half years. Don’t mind me – your mileage may vary.

The problem started with our thin-skinned HumVees, which were very susceptible to RPGs and simple IEDs. The resistance had a lot of them, because as we conquered Iraq ammunition bunkers weren’t deemed worth guarding. Only the Oil Ministry, with its precious oil field maps, was deemed worth protecting.

So the bunkers got looted and it was “game on.”

The quick answer to the RPGs was simple armor plating – first “hillbilly armor” scavenged at dumps by desperate GIs until the Pentagon finally got some bolt-on plates made and shipped into Iraq.

A large part of military history has been the technological struggle between weapons makers and their opponents, armor makers. Each new weapon produced a defensive counter, which was then eventually overcome by a new weapon. Wax on, wax off.

This hillbilly armor was defeated by the first IEDs, courtesy of the thousands of tons of explosives that Messers Cheney and Rumsfeld did not feel were worth guarding. IEDs buried in a road beat hillbilly armor and bolt-on plates, which only protected the sides of HumVees. The way to defeat these buried IEDs is to travel slowly and keep a good watch on all suspicious points, which of course made you vulnerable to the gun and RPG ambush. A second response to IED hunting is the secondary booby trap. The troops see a suspicious spot, halt to call up the OED people and they are vulnerable to a better-hidden command detonated bomb.

The troops started asking for better armor protection and the Stryker vehicle, which was already in the procurement and deployment pipeline, was sent to Iraq with newly deployed brigades. They were vulnerable to larger IEDs and EFPs, which began slowly making an appearance in the cities and roads of an unpacified Iraq. The very large IED and many EFPs can defeat any armor plating, including the Chobham armor on our M1A2 Abrams tanks, said to be the best battle tank in the world.

How did we get to this point?

The use of the Abrams tank for urban pacification is a radical step because tanks are not optimized for urban combat. They are too vulnerable. We saw more EFPs and still larger IEDs incorporating aircraft bombs – 2000 pound bombs capable of tipping an Abrams or Bradley fighting vehicle on its side.

A predictable step, of course since EFPs can defeat most armor systems. They have defeated the special Chobham armor on M1A1 Abrams tanks. You’d expect them to crack standard armor.

Before and during WWII vehicles were armored with successive series of steel plates. To beat that, cannon makers developed guns with longer barrels, and a slightly smaller muzzle in order to produce a higher muzzle velocity. Ammunition makers created hardened steel caps to enable the projectile to penetrate the plates.

Armor makers developed a new idea, sloping the armor, which gave the benefit of automatically making the armor thicker at no additional cost in steel or weight carried by the vehicle. If you studied geometry in school, you’ll remember that the hypotenuse of a right triangle is larger than the other dimensions.


800px-T54_Training_Parola_Tank_Museum_3.jpg

Image - Wikipedia.com

The answer to this was to make anti-tank guns larger, with longer barrels for still higher muzzle velocities, and the tank mafia just made armor thicker. One response to this was to add additional layers of steel, with an air space between them. The energy of the explosion penetrates the outer armor layer, but doesn’t have enough punch to defeat the vehicle’s armor.

The Germans developed a hollow charge explosive device to attack the huge reinforced concrete forts that guarded Belgium at the Meuse river. These were followed by shaped charges. This is the secret to how the EFPs work. The explosion melts an inner core, often copper, and focuses it as a jet of molten metal that burns right through the armor.

During the Cold War forces on both sides developed reactive armor – an outer layer of small explosive boxes that dissipated the effects of the molten jet upon contact.

The best current solution to defeat shaped charges and EFPs is still an outer layer to cause the round to explode on contact with that outer layer. The US Army and Marines have had some success in Iraq and Afghanistan against RPGs by putting “cage” armor on their vehicles. This causes the projectile to explode before it strikes the vehicle.

LAND_Stryker_With_Slats_lg.jpg


As we struggle to enforce our occupation, and uparmor our new MRAPs to defeat the EFPs used by the resistance they will most likely just produce more EFPs, and bigger ones.

It looks like the resistance in Iraq might continue for many years, until we either leave and give these people back their country, or until we have killed so many of them that the survivors will be too few, and too weak, to resist.

Main & Central Articles on MRAPs

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream

MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq

MRAPs Get Bad Press From Pentagon


The Struggle Between Armor and the Projectile


MRAPs Get Bad Press From Pentagon
Posted by Lurch on August 30, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

There’s a fascinating story this morning in USA Today, revealing that the Pentagon doesn’t feel MRAPs are the final answer to protecting US troops as they occupy Iraq for the next 40 years, or until the oil runs out. Those of you who understand how military procurement work will not be surprised.

Pentagon Wants to Bulk Up Armored Vehicles

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is rushing to develop added protection for its new Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the deadliest roadside bombs, military contract records show.

A Pentagon solicitation released Monday calls on contractors to detail their armor solutions "as soon as possible." The move to bulk up MRAPs comes as the Pentagon builds the vehicles as fast as possible, spending at least $700 million to fly them to Iraq.

Though MRAPs offer more protection than armored Humvees against improvised explosive devices, they are vulnerable to bombs called explosively formed penetrators or projectiles (EFPs). These weapons fire a high-speed slug of metal that can cripple even tanks. EFPs account for about 4% of roadside bomb attacks, but they are particularly lethal.

So after spending some $20-odd Billion to procure and ship MRAPs to the sandbox, we are now going to start developing armor protection and upgrades to make the MRAPs survivable.

The Marine Corps, which issued the solicitation Monday and manages the Pentagon's MRAP program, declined to comment Wednesday on the new request.

MRAPS are the best protection available but "are not fail-safe vehicles," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a briefing Wednesday.

Military officials have known for more than two years that MRAPs need greater EFP protection.

A cynical man would suppose that the long delay in moving to MRAPs was the political assumption that Iraq was going to be the “cakewalk” that the Likudniks who control our defense and foreign policy organs insisted, and if MRAPs were ordered they would arrive after the fighting was all over.

Be sure to work through the sidebar items on the left margin. Excellent graphic fillers.


Main & Central Articles on MRAPs

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream

MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq

MRAPs Get Bad Press From Pentagon

The Struggle Between Armor and the Projectile

Themed Topic Thread
Posted by Lurch on August 25, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

This is a themed topic opinion thread. I’d like readers’ opinions on a specific topic.

IraqSlogger has a neat little article up about a press demonstration conducted recently at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Several different types of MRAR were driven around the course, over washboard sets, and through water/mud puddles. There are some good pics, but if you’ve been trying to keep the various types (as many as 8) straight in your mind, good luck. These vehicles are described by category type.

BG Michael Brogan, USMC, joint program executive officer and commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, answered questions from the assembled press. According to David Axe, who’s worth reading every day, BG Brogan has a case of the hips because the press are trying to do their jobs.

The Marine Corps general in charge of buying “Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected” trucks for the U.S. military had some harsh words for the media who gathered to observe MRAP testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland this morning. “All troops in theater are happy to see these vehicles,” said Brigadier General Mike Brogan in response to several questions about the armored trucks’ effectiveness. When reporters pressed for specific examples of incidents where MRAPs proved resistant to roadside bombs, Brogan grew impatient. He said that he would not discuss operational details, and pointed out that all the press attention on this potentially $20-billion program was providing intel to insurgents and even encouraging propaganda-motivated attacks on MRAPs. “Because of what you’re doing, these are becoming symbolic targets.” [emph added]

Here we go. Not only are liberals, Democrats and the MSM going to be blamed for the Dolchstosslegende it has apparently been decided that every single casualty endured in these babies will have happened because the MSM took photos of them, wrote about them, and ran video tape on TV.

This will fit in perfectly with the plans of Mr Dorrance Smith, assistant defense secretary for public affairs, to set up yet another a 24/7 news propaganda shop in Baghdad.

So, your opinions, please:

1. Is BG Brogan right? Is telling the American people how their dollars are being spent to protect American soldiers somehow wrong? Does writing about it somehow tell the “enemy” what we’re doing? Do you believe (as apparently BG Brogan does) that the “enemy” don’t have access to the internet and satellite TV and would never know about these 25 ton monsters snorting around the streets of Baghdad if the press didn’t warn them?

2. I noticed in the photo on IraqSlogger that BG Brogan seems to be wearing a class ring. Do you suppose he got it in a cereal box, or as a family heirloom? He apparently never went to college and doesn’t quite understand how this electricity thing works in the one or two hours a day Iraqis have it.

3. The press I’ve seen has invariably been positive. The DoD made a great deal of talk about flying these babies in just to try to lessen casualties. The above questions were – you know – poking the bear with a stick through the bars of the cage. But really, here’s the thread question. The Government is putting on a huge press crush to get out the information about these trucks. Is BG Brogan’s reaction understandable from the viewpoint of an infantryman or is he just reluctant to discuss details with press people, who, I will admit, are clueless assholes?

Main & Central Articles on MRAPs

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream

MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq


MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq
Posted by Lurch on August 22, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

As I mentioned here, most of the MRAPs being shipped to the Middle East are being flown in to expedite their delivery to the troops. The DoD has released a news advisory (puff piece report) on the shipments.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2007 – U.S. troops serving in Iraq will have a little more protection soon, as two of the military’s newest armored vehicles are on their way to the theater.

Two Buffalo Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known as “MRAPs,” were loaded onto C-5 Galaxy aircraft last night at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., to be shipped to Iraq. This latest shipment is part of the Defense Department’s push to get as many of the new vehicles to troops in combat as quickly as possible.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has been pushing the production and delivery of MRAPs, which boast a V-shaped hull that deflects bomb blasts and protects troops inside better than the military’s current vehicles. The Defense Department awarded two more contracts for the vehicles the week of Aug. 10, which brings the number of vehicles on contract to 6,415. An estimated 3,500 MRAPs are expected to be shipped to Iraq by Dec. 31.

The MRAPs are shipped to Iraq by the 437th Airlift Wing, out of Charleston. The vehicles are part of the 300 tons of cargo the unit moves on a daily basis. It typically takes two days to airlift the MRAPs to Iraq, said Cynthia Bauer, a public affairs officer with U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees the movement of the vehicles. A small number of MRAPs are taken by sea, which takes between 22 and 30 days, she said.

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Buffalo being loaded onto C-5 Galaxy
Photo by SSG Jackson Robertson, US Army

As of Aug. 9, Transportation Command has shipped 701 MRAPs and MRAP-like vehicles to the Central Command area, Bauer said. The command will continue to ship the vehicles as the military commanders in theater request them, she said.

MRAPs come in three categories: Category I vehicles are designed for urban combat operations and can transport six people; Category II vehicles have multi-mission capabilities, including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering, and can transport up to 10 people; Category III vehicles perform mine and improvised-explosive-device clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal and can transport six people, or five with additional equipment. The Buffalos that were shipped last night fall under Category III.

The troops who participated in loading the vehicles yesterday told local media that they feel their job is important, because the MRAPs have been proven to save lives in combat. "It's absolutely critical. It saves lives every day when they have them," Air Force Master Sgt. Jared Breyer, with the 437th Airlift Wing, told ABC News.


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Buffalo loading onto C-5 Galaxy
Photo by SSG April Quintanilla, USAF


Related Defense Link Articles

‘Herculean Work’ Drives MRAP Production

Defense Department Seeks MRAP Improvements While Accelerating Program

Special Report: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles

437th Airlift Wing


Main & Central Articles on MRAPs

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream

MRAPs AirShipped to Iraq

MRAPs Go Mainstream
Posted by Lurch on August 18, 2007 • Comments (0)Permalink

This morning’s IraqSlogger has a catch-up story about the MRAP program(s) that the troops are dying to get in Iraq.

Last month, Pentagon placed a $5.4 billion rush order for 3,900 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, pushing to get at least 3,500 into Iraq by the end of 2007.

The MRAPs have a V-shaped reinforced hull designed to withstand the blast of IEDs and EFPs, the leading killer of US troops in Iraq. The Pentagon's MRAP program is "the fastest moving major program in the Defense Department," according to John Young, chairman of the Pentagon's MRAP task force.

The original MRAP, the Cougar, and its larger stablemate, the Buffalo, were designed by Ladson, SC-based Force Protection, Inc. A very small shop, it was initially turning out only a couple of vehicles each month. After its first DoD order, it has added more manufacturing space, and a much larger staff, and is capable of churning out about 100 vehicles per month right now. It plans to open two new factory spaces before the end of the year, which will double its capacity. The new factories will primary produce the Cheetah model, a lighter vehicle than its standard, the Cougar, and will be aimed at replacing the HumVee, to be used as recon, command & control and “urban operations.

Cheetah 1.jpg


Video presentations of all three Force Protection mdoels available here.

The heavy-armored vehicle demand is so high that Force Protection’s larger competitors have also drawn orders. BAE/Armor Holding’s RG-33 will definitely be added to the Pentagon’s list, solely because of its proven track record in South Africa.

RG-33.jpg

BAE has also just introduced a new vehicle, the Caiman, a 14 ton personnel carrier.

Caiman.jpg

General Dynamics has been tapped to produce 500 copies of its RG-31. A USMC unit is shown in this “after” photo of an IED exploding beneath the vehicle. The five Marines inside suffered two concussions and two light burns, according to HQ, USMC, and are well pleased with the vehicle.

RG-31-ied.jpg

Navistar/International Trucks has received several orders for its MaxxPro design, reportedly around 2,000 units in total.

MaxxPro MRAP.jpg

The manufacturer claims the vehicle is manufactured with as many standard industry-wide parts as possible, to make repair and replacement easier. Additionally, the armored body is bolted together, rather than being welded. It is felt that using this method of assembly will again make repair and replacement at a lower level maintenance shop possible.

The unit cost of these babies, which was estimated at about $1 million per, will approach $3.4 million each, and in some cases exceed that figure. This is not all manufacturing cost, however. The Armchair Generalist explains why the ticket cost is so high:

Yes, the bucket seats, air conditioning, and radios weren't included in the original sticker price. Now, the surprise isn't just that the Army and Air Force are getting MRAPs at $2 million a pop (and why is the AF getting so many vehicles? Do they go off-base?) and the Marines are getting a larger one at nearly twice the cost (Marines have bigger... needs?). It's not that the SOCOM and Navy are getting what appears to be pork on top of an MRAP procurement to keep them happy. It's that we're going to fly these multi-ton vehicles into theater at a cost of nearly $750 million.

The emergency funding request would allow the military to fly many of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to troops rather than send them by ship, which takes weeks. The flight takes 13 hours, allowing for same-day delivery, said Lt. Col. Ed Thomas, an Air Force spokesman.
----------
The military's Transportation Command estimates that it costs $135,000 to send an MRAP by plane compared with $18,000 by ship. An Air Force C-17 can carry as many as three MRAP vehicles.

These vehicles are high priority items now, for both military and political reasons. Air freight is a mandatory expense, and not just because the Pentagon might have appeared to dither in the decision to buy them. They’re needed - now.

It should also be noted that downstream maintenance costs are going to be higher than expected due to the huge parts availability needed for so many different types of vehicles. While there will inevitably be some standardization from one model to the next, you can be certain that a maintenance company won’t be able to put a Cougar fender on an RG-33 or MaxxPro. Additionally, a lot of the maintenance work to be done on these vehicles will be done by contractors rather than uniformed service personnel, and you know how that works, right?

However, for the HumVees that are still out there in Iraq, and still doing much of the everyday work, there is another temporary solution. Most HumVees in Iraq are the newer, armored version, the M-1151. AM General, the manufacturer, has devised a “Frag 6” armor kit that can be added in the field.

"It's a significant weight increase on the truck - about 1,000 pounds - and it adds about 12 inches each side of the truck of the entire width," said Larry Day, program executive with AM General Defense.

The doors are so heavy, troops may need a mechanical assist device to open and close them and drivers will likely require built-in visual references so they'll know if they can fit the vehicle in narrow spaces.

The Army has not yet given AM General the order to produce the kit.

"We have not been given the go-ahead to put them into production or even finalize the design," Day said. "But it's our responsibility integrate them onto our doors, so it would be better for us to do it."

AM General is planning to outfit about 3,000 M1151 Humvees with the Frag Kit 6 doors if the Army decides that's the way to go.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

MRAPs Go Mainstream



What Does the JIEDDO Do?
Posted by Lurch on August 17, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

IraqSlogger devotes some space to the JIEDDO this morning, working off a Newsweek article about that Office.

I wrote about the JIEDDO a while back, with the helpful assistance the Armchair Generalist, who has done some pioneering research on the topic. Both the Generalist and I took the view that the Bu$h malAdministration’s response to the IED problem of establishing a large office presence in Northern Virginia was rather typical: loot the Treasury and throw lots if cash at some contractors. (OK – he was a bit more polite than I am.)

Describing IEDs as “Weapons of strategic influence” has some validity to it, because the problem, while deadly, has consumed a tremendous amount of attention, effort, and ca$h in our still-unsuccessful battle to pacify conquered Iraq. Those uppity natives still don’t understand that we believe we’re wearing the white hats.

As the Generalist noted:

According to its website, the JIEDDO's mission is "to eliminate IEDs as weapons of strategic influence."

So the problem with IEDs isn't that they kill or injure our troops. It's that they influence public opinion. They are weapons of propaganda.

"It can be mitigated, minimized, made into a nuisance," said Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs (ret.), the JIEDDO director, taking a page from John Kerry's anti-terrorism playbook.

How do we defeat "weapons of strategic influence"? Not by outfitting our troops with armor. Not by improving our intelligence and infiltration of insurgency groups. No.

We defeat them by funding sources of counter-propaganda: pro-war think tanks, pundits, and bloggers.

Our budget for next year allocated $6.4 Billion-with-a-B to funding the JIEDDO, whose job appears to be “outreach” – “communication,” – “information operations,” – you know, the classic Bu$hCo response to anything – propaganda.

Bu$hCo is a confusing message center; GEN Meigs says the best way to deal with the problem is to minimize it, while MNF-I insists the problem must be blown out of all proportion, and blamed on the evil Iranians.

According to Newsweek GEN Meigs says that the MRAPs are a good idea, but they’re basically a defensive measure. Defense doesn’t win wars –ask the man who designed the Maginot Line. Offense is needed, although some people think word spew is not the correct approach to solving the problem of these deadly weapons.

The article does mention "a retired general who declined to be quoted by name criticizing his former military colleagues," who is also described as a veteran of the Balkans, noting in passing that “While there are a number of retired generals who served in the Balkans, this also could refer to Gen. Meigs, who commanded NATO's Multi-National Division (North) in Bosnia in 1996, and assumed leadership of the NATO Stabilization Force in 1998-99.

The anonymous general doesn't discuss JIEDDO's work, but tells Newsweek that in order to reduce the threat of IEDs:”

One step is to get soldiers out of the vehicles that have too often become their fiery coffins. "What does barreling down a highway at 45mph, peering through a dust-covered windshield, actually accomplish?" asked a retired general who declined to be quoted by name criticizing his former military colleagues. A veteran of the Balkans, this general recalled that his troops had a term for routine, pointless patrols. "Dabbing," they called it, from the caustic acronym for "driving around Bosnia." "'Dabbing' now means 'driving around Baghdad'," says the general. Before he became head of Coalition forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus wrote the Army's new manual on counterinsurgency. For his forces in Iraq, he boiled it down to a series of instructions. Instruction No. 4: "Get out and walk."

Everyone—from the Americans to the British to the Israelis, with their long experience in Lebanon—seems to agree that better intelligence is essential to reducing the IED problem to a mere "nuisance" (Meigs's goal). But good intelligence is hard to come by. Instead, the Americans have resorted to operations like sending out convoys as bait—while drone aircraft loiter overhead to track the bombers, and signals-intelligence teams listen for their communications—followed by a larger force to spring a trap on the attackers. If that tactic sounds a little desperate, a senior military official, speaking anonymously about a sensitive subject, assured NEWSWEEK that such convoys use volunteer crews and very-well-armored vehicles.

“Dabbing around”, looking for trouble? Sending crews out as bait? Newsweek is going to get a nasty letter from BG Kevin Bergner, the head press flack at MNF-I about those statements. BG Bergner interned in the White House before being sent to Iraq, so he knows how to apply the political pressure and play the parsing game to get his own way. I guess the Mighty Wurlitzer will be all up in arms about the traitorous Newsweek soon.

Of course the troops have to patrol; the conquest isn’t complete yet. The natives, with no clean water, no sewage services, electricity one or two hours a day, no schools, not enough jobs (60%+ unemployment) not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough doctors, not enough food, and a ruthless civil war raging all around them, are restless.

While police work isn’t a perfect analogy to subjugating a conquered country, policing experts all agree that foot patrolling a bad neighborhood pays better dividends that motor patrol when it comes to stopping crime. The good guy residents get to see the beat cop, and the bad guys leave the area. The fact that Iraq’s bad guys are a bit better armed than, say, an American inner city is just a point of scale. GEN Petraeus is right in his instruction #4: “Get out and walk.”

He has had quite a few photo ops on the streets of Baghdad, creating a visible presence: walking around markets, pressing the flesh with shop keepers, smiling and nodding in order to show our nation’s good side. His large, heavily armed escorts can be seen as evidence of his determination to turn the mean streets of Baghdad into Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood.

With the incredible upsurge in use of these devices we will have to develop better ways of making friends with our future conquests.

Newsweek notes:

[T]he IED—cheap, easy to make and adapt, and deadly—has in its own way proved equally powerful. The bombs have bled the U.S. military in Iraq. And thanks to the ubiquitous videos of IED attacks shot by insurgents and put up on YouTube, they will be credited with driving us out of the country whenever we do leave. Guerrillas, even armies, elsewhere are watching: most of the world's conventional militaries would be vulnerable to similar tactics. Already, locally made devices have begun appearing on battlefields from Somalia to Thailand to Pakistan.

GEN Meigs has his work cut out for him in minimizing the strategic effect of these weapons on the general public, if they’re becoming more popular and effective around the world. One possible good example of his organization’s work has developed however:

The U.S. military hasn't told the public exactly how many soldiers and Marines are killed and injured by IEDs every month in Iraq. Such disclosures would aid the enemy, or so goes the official explanation, though it might also embarrass Pentagon officials who say they have spent at least $6 billion so far trying to defeat IEDs, with limited success. The best estimate is that about one in three soldiers lost in 2004 was killed by an IED. Now it's more like four out of five. About 50 soldiers a month are killed or injured by IEDs, up from about 30 a year ago. Success, such as it is, is measured this way: the insurgents are setting off more and more IEDs every month—perhaps twice as many as last year. The American death toll is not rising as fast. Officials claim that about eight out of nine IED casualties are injured, not killed, which is a consolation of sorts, though not much of one to the maimed and brain-damaged.

Getting out the word that IEDs are killing fewer GIs on their 3rd and 4th tours has to have a beneficial effect.

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

What Does the JIEDDO Do?

A New Solution to Snipers
Posted by Lurch on July 18, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to Yahoo Finance visitors. We're glad to have you here again. Please feel free to take a look at some of our other essays.

During Congressional hearings last month a number of soldiers gave testimony supporting the Interceptor armor supplied to the Army by Point Blank Industries. One in particular is significant:

Staff Sgt. Jeremie Oliver of Fort Hood, Texas, has been in Iraq since October 2006, wearing his body armor every single day. "It works very well," he has reported. The husband and father of four children was shot on Father's Day this year.

"We were on patrol securing a site ... a shot rang out and I got hit in the chest. I was in a Bradley, standing up in the hatch, plotting a grid on my GPS. At first I didn't know what had really happened, but then I felt the pain. I sat down, realized what happened, and opened my vest. The bullet had not penetrated the vest, so we continued the mission and went after the enemy."

I’ve written about the Body Armor issue a number of times. From what I’ve read and heard the Pinnacle Dragon Skin armor is tactically superior to the Interceptor vest, although it is more expensive than the Interceptor vest. It should also be noted that many soldiers have died in Interceptor vests. They were not available to testify about Interceptor failures.

VoteVets, an organization created by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, assisted during the 2006 mid-term elections with a hard-hitting TV commercial that pointed out the inadequacies of the Interceptor vest. Amazingly, even in 2006, soldiers were being deployed to Iraq with less-than effective body armor.

It’s important to understand the Army desires to protect the troops as much as possible. They have been testing a new solution to the problem SSG Oliver experienced: being shot while standing in the hatch of a vehicle.

CROWS Installation.jpg


The U.S. Army plans to outfit thousands more vehicles with Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS), which allow gunners to fire on targets from the safety of armored crew compartments.

In August, Army officials intend to choose one firm from among several competitors to receive a contract for 1,500 CROWS stations. In total, the contract could grow to as many as 6,500 CROWS, Army officials said.

“The Army is looking at the CROWS system for the up-armored Humvee, Fox [reconnaissance vehicle], RG-31 [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles] and the Abrams [tank], so right now the Army is trying to finalize the basis of issue regarding how many CROWS to order and who gets them,” said Richard Audette, deputy project manager for soldier weapons at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.


CROWS Operator.jpg


Remote weapon-firing capability is a requirement for new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, so more CROWS could wind up being added to expected orders, Audette said.
“Remote weapon stations is a growing industry, if you would, because there are things like MRAP vehicles and other mine-resistant vehicles,” [COL Carl] Lipsit [project manager soldier weapons at Picatinny Arsenal] said. “The goodness of keeping everybody inside that specialty vehicle under armored protection is a valuable thing. CROWS does that for you, keeps people inside. Yet you are still engaged and can still see day and night. With the zoom capability, you can fire all the weapons.”

This would certainly ensure more operator safety and probably survivability. In the installation photo above, the weapon is the Army’s long-time favorite, the “Ma Deuce,” the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, a standard vehicle heavy weapon. It is prone to jams and stoppages, according to Army tests about once every 500 rounds.

One weapon that may go on some of the CROWS stations is ATK’s new high-speed Lightweight 25mm (LW25) Bushmaster chain-gun, which can fire up to seven times as many rounds between jams as the ubiquitous .50-caliber machine gun, ATK officials say. The company developed the gun to fire various heavy rounds that can do the jobs of the .50-caliber and the 40mm grenade launcher.

The Army intends to test-fire the LW25 from an MRAP vehicle in the coming weeks.

Picture 2.png

ATK is the basic manufacturer for the M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun presently used in the Army’s Bradley vehicles as a turret gun.


Baby Huey Needs Feeding
Posted by Lurch on July 02, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to Force Protection investors and visitors from Google Finance. If you wish, please feel free to look around our archives.


The Army has had a big increase in the number of MRAPs approved and the orders will be going out.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has approved an Army recommendation for a 600% increase in production of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to protect soldiers from makeshift bombs in Iraq.

The unannounced decision Thursday to build as many as 17,770 MRAPs for the Army comes as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made the vehicle the Pentagon's top priority. The MRAP's V-shaped hull and raised chassis are up to four times safer against the top threat to U.S. troops in Iraq — improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

It should be noted that these units, as conventionally constructed, are not proof against EFP’s and have to be further armored before deployment. Other than that, it’s all good news for Ladson, SC manufacturer Force Protection, the primary manufacturer of these trucks, right?

No.

As the Armchair Generalist points out, the little company that could is about to be crushed in the elephant stampede:

The little company with the Big Idea to develop Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles is struggling to get its contracts from the U.S. government. Its initial order for 455 vehicles was smaller than expected, and surprise surprise, the Big Boys have awakened as to this great source of income opportunity to protect our soldiers and Marines. From The Street:
Fierce competition for a big government armored-truck deal is dimming Force Protection's glow.

The Ladson, S.C., military-vehicle maker has been the biggest winner so far in the Army's mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles contract. But as the MRAP show goes on, Force Protection is sharing more and more of the spotlight with its rivals.

Navistar -- once viewed as a minor character at best -- recently grabbed the largest single MRAP order placed so far. Other players like Armor Holdings and Oshkosh Truck, as well as an upstart launched by Force Protection's founder, are poised to crowd the stage as well.
----------
Now, Millward looks for two Force Protection rivals to land new contracts in a matter of days. Notably, Millward believes that General Dynamics -- Force Protection's joint-venture partner -- may have already passed performance tests and could soon snag a big contract on its own. Then, she feels that Armor or Oshkosh could announce a major award right after that.

Dagnabit! Just when I thought I saw a chance to make a dollar or two in the defense industry! Force Protection was cruising along at $31 a short time ago and it looked like tall cotton as they got their first order of about 500 vehicles. Last Friday it closed at $23.07 as Wall Street realized the elephants will get the majority of the orders.

Navistar (NAVZ - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) -- once viewed as a minor character at best -- recently grabbed the largest single MRAP order placed so far. Other players like Armor Holdings (AH - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) and Oshkosh Truck (OSK - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), as well as an upstart launched by Force Protection's founder, are poised to crowd the stage as well.

While the MRAP has been promoted as a robust successor to the HumVee, it was not really conceived as combat vehicle. It was just supposed to be more impervious to IEDs than the older vehicle. It takes the infantry to the fight. Then, like infantry for thousands of years, they have to dismount and fight on foot.

Back during the 1950s and 60s NATO was horrified to learn that the Soviets had developed Infantry Fighting Vehicles with gunports on the side, implying they would be part of the armored juggernaut poised to roll across Europe, engulfing everything. There was great panic among analysts at the image of these monsters cruising through the Fulda Gap, their infantry passengers blazing away out the sides like a 20th century version of Jan Hus’ war wagons. Cooler heads eventually pointed out that the small width, confined compartment, and lack of good ventilation would made the interiors a hellish nightmare that the troops would be happy to escape.

Still, the MRAP is a better choice and naturally the Pentagon wants them yesterday, even as an active search continues for a better version of this $20+ Billion purchase.


The Armchair Generalist points out that in a battle between Army ants and Defense Industry elephants the ants always lose:

It seems that the Marine Corps also likes the BAE version of the MRAP, with an announcement for a $214 million contract for its vehicles. And now perhaps you'll see my concern over rushing to judgment over a "good idea" that the field has - the military-industrial complex isn't going to get rolled that easy, so now we're going to have four or five different vehicle systems entering the inventory, all with unique spare parts and maintenance contracts, costing billions more than the more reasonable solution. What's that solution, you ask? Doing it the old fashioned way - getting out of the vehicles. … This is why you don't rush into knee-jerk procurement actions. There is a rationale for the process of examining non-material options before going with expensive hardware solutions. I'm sure that our fine military leaders will figure this all out, they don't need any advice from small-time defense analysts such as myself. But right now, they're currently too busy ordering up more armor to strap to the MRAPs, since the MRAP armor won't stop the explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). Details, always details.

If you really want to understand why we’re staying in Iraq and Afghanistan until the bitter end, Big Oil’s lust for new fields isn’t the only answer. The Baby Huey of the Defense Industry has to be fed, too.

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation


The Cougar MRAP
Posted by Lurch on June 21, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to our visitors from Investor Village and Force Protection. It's nice to have you visit again. Please feel free to look around at our other articles. We've had quite a few posts on MRAPs. The complete list is at the end of this article.

The Army has ordered some of these vehicles.

RG31-1.JPG

In an unusual development in the U.S. Marine Corps-led Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program, the U.S. Army has ordered 44 RG-31 Mk5 Mine Protected Vehicles in a $19.9 million deal with General Dynamics Land Systems — Canada.

The RG-31 is one of nine MRAPs being considered by Marine Corps Systems Command (SysCom), the lead on the joint-service effort to procure ambush-protected vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicles are designed with a V-shaped hull to defend against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by deflecting shrapnel and bomb fragments. The Pentagon is hoping to procure more than 23,000 MRAP vehicles for the Marines, Army, Navy and Special Operations forces by 2010.

The RG-31 is based on a BAE design; under the contract between GDLS- Canada and the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management, the Canadian subsidiary of GDLS will manage the procurement while the vehicles are manufactured in South Africa by BAE Land Systems. The vehicles will be delivered by October and November of 2007, according to a GDLS written statement.

U.S. forces have previously ordered 448 RG-31 vehicles, 265 Mk5s for the Army and Special Operations, and 24 Mk5s for the MRAP program.

The RG-31 Mine Protected APC is a 4x4 armoured vehicle with a combat mass of 10 220 / 11 500 kg.

The all-steel, welded armour, monocoque hull protects the crew against small arms fire and anti-tank mine detonations.

In standard APC configuration, this air-conditioned vehicle carries a crew of 10 (driver plus 9).

A large rear door and two front doors ensure speedy and easy exit and entrance. With automatic transmission, permanent 4x4 drive and a two speed (high and low) transfer case the RG-31 is easy to drive, both on and off road.

The Marine Corps seems to like them.

RG-31-ied.jpg

A US Marine Corps RG-31 Cougar rests on its front axel after an improvised explosive device detonated under the vehicle near Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, Jan. 6. The IED detonated directly under the vehicle; however, the blast was pushed outward instead of directly straight up due to the vehicle's “V” –shaped undercarriage. Of the five service members in the vehicle, two received concussions and two others received minor burns. (Photo by: Courtesy photo by 8th Engineer Support Battalion)

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation

The Super-MRAP
Posted by Lurch on June 11, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to the visitors from Force Protection. It's nice to have you visit. Please feel free to look around our other entries.

Even as the Pentagon scrambles to replace up-armored HumVees with the newest defensive wonder-weapon, the MRAP, an announcement has been made that this vehicle, the Cougar, is vulnerable to EFPs and has to be itself up-armored.

WASHINGTON — New military vehicles that are supposed to better protect troops from roadside explosions in Iraq aren't strong enough to withstand the latest type of bombs used by insurgents, according to Pentagon documents and military officials.

As a result, the vehicles need more armor added to them, according to a January Marine Corps document provided to USA TODAY. The Pentagon faced the same problem with its Humvees at the beginning of the war.

The Cougar was eagerly seized upon by the Pentagon as a solution to larger IEDs that were destroying HumVees, even after they were up-armored. The Pentagon has ordered some 7,500 of these vehicles and is preparing to order 17,000 more, at a total price tag of somewhere north of $25 Billion. (I know the official price has been quoted as between $20 and $25 Billion, but this is government procurement and things always cost more than advertised.)

This larger, heavier armored vehicle is celebrated for its Vee-shaped hull, which is supposed to channel the force of an IED up and away from the vehicle.

mrap_vehicle.jpg


But no so much with EFPs. It has been revealed that there have to be add-ons to the present generation of MRAPs.

But the armor on those vehicles cannot stop the newest bomb to emerge, known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). The Pentagon plans to replace virtually all Humvees with MRAPs to provide better protection against roadside bombs, responsible for most casualties in Iraq. … Since MRAPs are so much safer against traditional roadside bombs, the document says, Iraqi insurgents' use of EFPs "can be expected to increase significantly."

As a result, the Marine commanders in Iraq who wrote the statement asked for more armor to be added to the new vehicles.

The Army has tested an armor that seems to be resistant to EFPs, according to BG Michael Brogan, head of the USMC Systems Command, the agency charged with obtaining the vehicles. "How rapidly we can engineer that onto these vehicles is yet to be seen because it is significantly heavy," he said.

The Army’s new armor is still in testing, but it appears to shatter the slug of hot metal rusting from an EFP detonation.

Enter the Newest version of the MRAP

Ceradyne, Inc is introducing an armored vehicle called BULL, designed to complement the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle currently produced for the US Marine Corps and Army. The BULL is based on a commercial chassis and uses an armor suite providing superior protection from all types of IEDs.

BULLs can be configured as urban patrol vehicles or logistics transportation vehicles providing logistics crews the same increased level of protection as that being provided to ground forces. The vehicle has already passed limited testing by the U.S. Government, where it demonstrated a high level of performance and crew survivability. According to Marc King, Vice President of Armor Operations for Ceradyne, the vehicle is specifically designed for close urban terrain and can survive the most lethal IED (improvised explosive device) threats faced by ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). "We feel this is a clear technological leap forward in crew survivability." said King.

Future procurements of the BULL are under discussion with several government agencies, in addition to the Department of Defense, who have expressed interest. The vehicle was developed at Ceradyne's vehicle armor division, in conjunction with its teaming partner, Ideal Innovations, Inc. of Arlington, Virginia.

This newest vehicle is supposed to be resistant to IEDs, VBIEDS and EFPs. The Pentagon is testing the beast, which the manufacturer says can be produced at the rate of 100 units per month.

Oh yes, the Russians are also building an MRAP, the Kamaz, which has been offered to the Iraqi government and private contractors. It is unacceptable for US forces because of the NIH rule.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation

The Super-MRAP
Posted by Lurch on June 11, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to the visitors from Force Protection. It's nice to have you visit. Please feel free to look around our other entries.

Even as the Pentagon scrambles to replace up-armored HumVees with the newest defensive wonder-weapon, the MRAP, an announcement has been made that this vehicle, the Cougar, is vulnerable to EFPs and has to be itself up-armored.

WASHINGTON — New military vehicles that are supposed to better protect troops from roadside explosions in Iraq aren't strong enough to withstand the latest type of bombs used by insurgents, according to Pentagon documents and military officials.

As a result, the vehicles need more armor added to them, according to a January Marine Corps document provided to USA TODAY. The Pentagon faced the same problem with its Humvees at the beginning of the war.

The Cougar was eagerly seized upon by the Pentagon as a solution to larger IEDs that were destroying HumVees, even after they were up-armored. The Pentagon has ordered some 7,500 of these vehicles and is preparing to order 17,000 more, at a total price tag of somewhere north of $25 Billion. (I know the official price has been quoted as between $20 and $25 Billion, but this is government procurement and things always cost more than advertised.)

This larger, heavier armored vehicle is celebrated for its Vee-shaped hull, which is supposed to channel the force of an IED up and away from the vehicle.

mrap_vehicle.jpg


But no so much with EFPs. It has been revealed that there have to be add-ons to the present generation of MRAPs.

But the armor on those vehicles cannot stop the newest bomb to emerge, known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). The Pentagon plans to replace virtually all Humvees with MRAPs to provide better protection against roadside bombs, responsible for most casualties in Iraq. … Since MRAPs are so much safer against traditional roadside bombs, the document says, Iraqi insurgents' use of EFPs "can be expected to increase significantly."

As a result, the Marine commanders in Iraq who wrote the statement asked for more armor to be added to the new vehicles.

The Army has tested an armor that seems to be resistant to EFPs, according to BG Michael Brogan, head of the USMC Systems Command, the agency charged with obtaining the vehicles. "How rapidly we can engineer that onto these vehicles is yet to be seen because it is significantly heavy," he said.

The Army’s new armor is still in testing, but it appears to shatter the slug of hot metal rusting from an EFP detonation.

Enter the Newest version of the MRAP

Ceradyne, Inc is introducing an armored vehicle called BULL, designed to complement the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle currently produced for the US Marine Corps and Army. The BULL is based on a commercial chassis and uses an armor suite providing superior protection from all types of IEDs.

BULLs can be configured as urban patrol vehicles or logistics transportation vehicles providing logistics crews the same increased level of protection as that being provided to ground forces. The vehicle has already passed limited testing by the U.S. Government, where it demonstrated a high level of performance and crew survivability. According to Marc King, Vice President of Armor Operations for Ceradyne, the vehicle is specifically designed for close urban terrain and can survive the most lethal IED (improvised explosive device) threats faced by ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). "We feel this is a clear technological leap forward in crew survivability." said King.

Future procurements of the BULL are under discussion with several government agencies, in addition to the Department of Defense, who have expressed interest. The vehicle was developed at Ceradyne's vehicle armor division, in conjunction with its teaming partner, Ideal Innovations, Inc. of Arlington, Virginia.

This newest vehicle is supposed to be resistant to IEDs, VBIEDS and EFPs. The Pentagon is testing the beast, which the manufacturer says can be produced at the rate of 100 units per month.

Oh yes, the Russians are also building an MRAP, the Kamaz, which has been offered to the Iraqi government and private contractors. It is unacceptable for US forces because of the NIH rule.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation

A Minor MRAP Problem
Posted by Lurch on May 31, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

The new MRAPs that are about to be fielded in Iraq at great expense aren’t quite good enough, it seems. Apparently they have to be up-armored.

WASHINGTON — New military vehicles that are supposed to better protect troops from roadside explosions in Iraq aren't strong enough to withstand the latest type of bombs used by insurgents, according to Pentagon documents and military officials.

As a result, the vehicles need more armor added to them, according to a January Marine Corps document provided to USA TODAY. The Pentagon faced the same problem with its Humvees at the beginning of the war.

Waugh! What? I had the distinct impression that we were 86ing the HumVees and going to MRAPs (cost: $25 Billion +) in order to keep the troops safer in Iraq.

The military plans to spend as much as $25 billion for up to 22,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles by 2009. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that buying the new vehicles should be the Pentagon's top procurement priority.

But the armor on those vehicles cannot stop the newest bomb to emerge, known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). The Pentagon plans to replace virtually all Humvees with MRAPs to provide better protection against roadside bombs, responsible for most casualties in Iraq.

If you remember, these are the very same EFPs that are only manufactured in one country on Earth. Iran has the sole license to manufacture these babies.

And these are the MRAPs that the Marine Corps stalled for a year before ordering.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation


A Minor MRAP Problem
Posted by Lurch on May 31, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

The new MRAPs that are about to be fielded in Iraq at great expense aren’t quite good enough, it seems. Apparently they have to be up-armored.

WASHINGTON — New military vehicles that are supposed to better protect troops from roadside explosions in Iraq aren't strong enough to withstand the latest type of bombs used by insurgents, according to Pentagon documents and military officials.

As a result, the vehicles need more armor added to them, according to a January Marine Corps document provided to USA TODAY. The Pentagon faced the same problem with its Humvees at the beginning of the war.

Waugh! What? I had the distinct impression that we were 86ing the HumVees and going to MRAPs (cost: $25 Billion +) in order to keep the troops safer in Iraq.

The military plans to spend as much as $25 billion for up to 22,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles by 2009. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that buying the new vehicles should be the Pentagon's top procurement priority.

But the armor on those vehicles cannot stop the newest bomb to emerge, known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). The Pentagon plans to replace virtually all Humvees with MRAPs to provide better protection against roadside bombs, responsible for most casualties in Iraq.

If you remember, these are the very same EFPs that are only manufactured in one country on Earth. Iran has the sole license to manufacture these babies.

And these are the MRAPs that the Marine Corps stalled for a year before ordering.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation


Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae
Posted by Lurch on May 23, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

There’s a story coming out of Wired.com about apparent procedural delays in officially requesting funding for MRAPs to be used by the Marine Corps. It’s actually filed in Wired’s “Danger Room, because it is serious.

The Marine Corps waited over a year before acting on an "priority 1 urgent" request to send blast-resistant vehicles to Iraq, DANGER ROOM has learned.

According to a Marine Corps** document** provided to DANGER ROOM, the request for over 1,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles came in February, 2005. A formal call to fulfill that order did not emerge until November, 2006. "There is an immediate need for an MRAP vehicle capability to increase survivability and mobility of Marines operating in a hazardous fire area against known threats," the 2005 "universal need statement" notes.

mrap.jpg

Back then -- as now -- improvised explosive devices, or IEDs -- represented the deadliest threat to American troops in the region. "The expanded use" of these bombs "requires a more robust family of vehicle capable of surviving the IED... threat," the document adds. "MRAP-designed vehicles represent a significant increase in their survivability baseline over existing motor vehicle equipment and will mitigate... casualties resulting from IED[s]."

"The [Marines] cannot continue to lose... serious and grave casualties to IED[s]... when a commercial off the shelf capability exists to mititgate [against] these threats," the request continues.

Despite the stark language, however, that request was not acted upon. Instead, the Marine Corps waited until November, 2006 to issue a formal request for proposals to buy approximately 1,200 MRAPs.

During the invasion and occupation of Iraq the Marine Corps has reported 933 deaths: 806 active duty and 127 Reservists


The **document** is available in .pdf form and was hand-dated “2/17/05” in the signature block signed by D.J. Heljik, immediately under the approval comment:

“Due to anticipated funding constraints. 1MEF recommends procurement of the troop transport and multi-mission MRAP before funding the other variants. This will provide the most protection for the greatest amount of forces based on injury statistics.”

Bill Johnson-Miles, a Marine Corps spokesman, is quoted as saying that the delay was perfectly justified. "We can't just take the request from them, and put it out on the street."

In February 2005, the manufacturer of the Cougar 4x4 armored vehicle was producing one unit per month with a staff of 12. Due to greater demand the Force Protection Inc had increased its staff to 400 and was cranking out one per day. Signed agreements with larger companies have greatly increased the production since then.

The Army and Marines have requested the bulk of the 17,700 MRAPs ordered, and Defense Secretary Gates has described the acquisition program the Pentagon’s “highest priority” for new equipment.

In response to this story, Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that the stunted response is another example of how "the suits and the bureaucrats in Washington don't seem to have the same sense of urgency as the guys in the field."

"This is what happens when industry isn't put on a war footing," he adds. "It's like the military families are at war, and everyone else is out shopping."

A sensible man would probably ask why the Pentagon and Bu$hCo didn't react sooner to the many deaths by IEDs and seek a solution to the problem sooner.

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation

17,700 MRAPs
Posted by Lurch on May 18, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Welcome to our visitors from Yahoo Finance and Force Protection. It's nice to have you visit again. Please feel free to look around at our other articles. We've had quite a few posts on MRAPs. The complete list is at the end of this article.


The military has requested a total of $25 Billon from the Defense Department to purchase Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers. A memo submitted on May 15th to Defense Secretary Gates asks for authority to order 3,500 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and another 1,000 for Air Force and Special Operations use. The remaining 13,000 are planned for use by the Army, to replace the stop-gap up-armored HumVees currently in use. It is just about the same figure as the HumVees currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The projected cost of $25 Billion will cover acquisition through July, 2009.

However, there may not be enough material and production capacity to field the MRAPs quickly, according to the memo and Pentagon officials.

No single company can provide more than 1,200 of the vehicles per month, which is the Marines' production goal, said Chris Isleib, a Pentagon spokesman.

Adequate supplies of steel for armor and rubber for tires are also concerns, Isleib said.

Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, criticized the Pentagon for moving too slowly on the MRAP program.

"By the time we field all the vehicles we could be on our way out of Iraq," Thompson said.

Thompson said MRAPs may be needed elsewhere.

"Sadly, this vehicle will probably find plenty of uses in other places," Thompson said. "We've shown the world how to fight our army to a standstill."

The Army's rush to buy more MRAPs could affect how many other armored vehicles it buys now and in the future, according to the memo. The Army has sent officials to Iraq to determine how MRAPs will fit in with its existing fleet of armored vehicles, including tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The Army is also budgeting $5.5 Billion for the M1A1 Abrams tank, M2/M3 Bradley IFV and M1126 Stryker vehicle family. The M1A1 is no longer in production, although upgrades to M1A2 standards are still being done. There is still some limited production of M2s and upgrades are being performed. The Stryker contract is continuing, although recent adverse reports from Iraq cast doubt on the vehicle’s future.


Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation

Mine Resistant Vehicles
Posted by Lurch on February 17, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Before the Bu$h malAdministration unleashed their publicity campaign to ramp up for the coming war against Iran, the military understood they had a mine problem, and that the HMMVs were unequal to the task. Requirements for a better-protected patrol vehicle were developed in late 2005/early 2006.

The Hampton Roads Daily Press reports that the Marine Corps has decided to abandon the HMMV for transportation and patrol use in Iraq and adapt a stronger vehicle.

WASHINGTON -- Marines in heavily armored Humvees are being killed by powerful roadside bombs at such a rate that the Marine Corps intends to replace all its Humvees in Iraq with specialized blast-resistant armored vehicles, according to senior Marine officers.

The Army will continue to rely primarily on its armored Humvees in Iraq, senior Army officers said yesterday.

The decision to scrap the Marines' Humvees in Iraq, after years of trying to protect their crews by adding armor plate, was made by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of Marine forces in the Middle East.

It will cost an added $2.8 billion for the V-hull armored vehicles called MRAPs, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, that are being delivered in small numbers to Iraq, and it will take years to complete the replacement.

Since the Iraq war began in 2003, more than 700 Marines have been killed in combat action. Almost two-thirds have been killed in HMMVs. There are some MRAPs already in use in Iraq, and experience indicates that troops are four times more likely to survive attacks by IEDs in this sort of vehicle.

The Corps placed four Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts in late January for MRAPs for testing purposes.

BAE Systems for four vehicles, two 4x4 and 2 6x6 from their R33 series, for testing. This vehicle has had some success in South Africa.

Force Protection, Inc. and General Dynamics Land Systems have formed a joint venture to offer the Cougar 4x4 and 6x6 armored vehicles.

Textron Marine & Land Systems produces the M-1117 ASV.

Oshkosh Truck Corporation has been contracted to supply two smaller units for urban patrol and two larger vehicles, sized to carry ten occupants.

Protected Vehicles, Inc of South Carolina has partnered with RAFAEL of Israel, which produces the Golan, currently in testing phase in that country.

The urgency of the project might require an off-the-shelf commercially available item, with little immediate concern for refinements. Those might be included in later blocks of the vehicles once After Action Reports are submitted.

The BAE R33 and PVI/RAFAEL Systems vehicles suffer from the NIH syndrome.

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation


Mine Resistant Vehicles
Posted by Lurch on February 17, 2007 • Comments (0)TrackBack (0)Permalink

Before the Bu$h malAdministration unleashed their publicity campaign to ramp up for the coming war against Iran, the military understood they had a mine problem, and that the HMMVs were unequal to the task. Requirements for a better-protected patrol vehicle were developed in late 2005/early 2006.

The Hampton Roads Daily Press reports that the Marine Corps has decided to abandon the HMMV for transportation and patrol use in Iraq and adapt a stronger vehicle.

WASHINGTON -- Marines in heavily armored Humvees are being killed by powerful roadside bombs at such a rate that the Marine Corps intends to replace all its Humvees in Iraq with specialized blast-resistant armored vehicles, according to senior Marine officers.

The Army will continue to rely primarily on its armored Humvees in Iraq, senior Army officers said yesterday.

The decision to scrap the Marines' Humvees in Iraq, after years of trying to protect their crews by adding armor plate, was made by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of Marine forces in the Middle East.

It will cost an added $2.8 billion for the V-hull armored vehicles called MRAPs, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, that are being delivered in small numbers to Iraq, and it will take years to complete the replacement.

Since the Iraq war began in 2003, more than 700 Marines have been killed in combat action. Almost two-thirds have been killed in HMMVs. There are some MRAPs already in use in Iraq, and experience indicates that troops are four times more likely to survive attacks by IEDs in this sort of vehicle.

The Corps placed four Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts in late January for MRAPs for testing purposes.

BAE Systems for four vehicles, two 4x4 and 2 6x6 from their R33 series, for testing. This vehicle has had some success in South Africa.

Force Protection, Inc. and General Dynamics Land Systems have formed a joint venture to offer the Cougar 4x4 and 6x6 armored vehicles.

Textron Marine & Land Systems produces the M-1117 ASV.

Oshkosh Truck Corporation has been contracted to supply two smaller units for urban patrol and two larger vehicles, sized to carry ten occupants.

Protected Vehicles, Inc of South Carolina has partnered with RAFAEL of Israel, which produces the Golan, currently in testing phase in that country.

The urgency of the project might require an off-the-shelf commercially available item, with little immediate concern for refinements. Those might be included in later blocks of the vehicles once After Action Reports are submitted.

The BAE R33 and PVI/RAFAEL Systems vehicles suffer from the NIH syndrome.

Articles on MRAPs:

Mine Resistant Vehicles

17,700 MRAPs

Marine MRAPs Mired in Minutiae

A Minor MRAP Problem

The Super-MRAP

The Cougar MRAP

Baby Huey Needs Feeding

A Strategically Influenced Nation


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