Armor: October 6, 2004

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Every war leaves its mark, usually in the form of some kind of novel tactics, or new weapons that was used heavily in the fighting. Operations in Iraq, where attacks on convoys are a daily occurrence, have left the U.S. Army with a deep interest in convoy security. This has manifested itself in huge costs for modifying (armoring and arming) and repairing trucks. The army wants Congress to come up with $8 billion over the next few years to pay for these mods and repairs. What this is actually doing is fundamentally changing the nature of army trucks. Many of them are now truly combat vehicles, and the $8 billion will keep it that way. The army also wants over $200 million to buy 696 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles.) The ASV-150 is a six ton armored car, built for the military police to use for convoy security, or any other work in hostile areas. A 1990s development, budget cuts resulted in only 94 being bought (at $1.6 million each). Until the war on terror came along, the ASV seemed doomed. But now the army wants more of them, as well as lots of armored trucks and hummers. Originally, the MPs wanted 2,000 ASV. Now they want nearly 3,000, and they may get them. By producing ASVs in large numbers, the per vehicle price comes down to about $600,000.

The army also wants to get rid of its older hummers, and replace them with a new model that is designed to accept temporary armor. Having hummers and trucks running around permanently with extra armor will eventually cost the army billions of extra dollars for fuel and repairs, all  caused by that extra weight. The same easy armor add on feature is also being incorporated in the design of the next generation of army trucks, a project that has been underway for a few years already. So, for years after the last American army truck pulls out of Iraq, a legacy will remain.

 


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