While the Marines don't like the difficult maintenance required for MRAPs, their top operations officer says the service is keeping them rolling and relying on the ungainly trucks to get them to the fight.
The MRAPs and their smaller, more mobile cousins, the M-ATVs, are a "big plus, really performing well," in the Afghanistan fight, Brig. Gen. David H. Berger, operations director Marine Corps HQ. They are sustaining readiness levels of 92 or 93 percent, he added. However, Berger also made clear the Marines still found MRAP maintenance less than exciting. I have heard from several Marines who operated in Iraq, where MRAPs operated at 70 readiness levels, that that they really hated maintaining them. MRAPs were difficult to work on and required much more maintenance then other standard Marine equipment.
But the Marines are figuring out how to work with them well enough to have started installing new suspension systems at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. "They finished six last month," Berger told reporters at the Pentagon this afternoon.
The Ospreys, which are doing much more than just ferrying Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his fellow VIPs around the country, are operating at a satisfactory readiness rate of "70 percent or so for the last few weeks," Berger said. An 80 percent rate is "what you're looking for," but 70 percent is more than enough to keep Ospreys flying and useful, he added.