Props to my boy Mike Goldfarb over at the Worldwide Standard blog who hoodwinked management into loosening the purse strings for a trip to the AUSA symposium in Ft. Lauderdale.
Hes got some great coverage of the various offerings from top military vehicle manufacturers like General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Force Protection for the so-called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected tactical vehicle program. The MRAP has become a top priority for commanders and their patrons on Capitol Hill, who finally recognize that the Humvee was never built to be a tactical vehicle and is ill-suited for explosive resistance upgrades.
After years of adding more and more armor to the Humvee, which was originally built as a logistics vehicle, the camels back snapped; just ask a mechanic down at the motor pool whos been working all night on Humvees gone Tango Uniform from the last patrol. So the services particularly the Army and Marine Corps began to slip in requests to Congress for more MRAPs. Previously, the MRAP was used mostly for explosive ordnance disposal teams and other specialized units.
Now it looks as if the services want to build on the fiscal and rhetorical momentum by grabbing as many MRAPs as they can before they go into full-scale development of the next-generation Humvee: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which could take years to test and field.
Manufacturers from around the country are scrambling to fill the Army and Marine Corps MRAP orders, and the Armys Aberdeen Proving Ground is set to begin evaluating vehicle prototypes this month for rapid fielding to Iraq.