PHOTO] vehicles from 2,000 to 17,000, resulted in several new and untried
(in combat) designs suddenly showing up. That's because existing manufacturers
of MRAP vehicles did not have the capacity to build a lot more, as quickly as
the Department of Defense wanted them. Other manufacturers did not believe it
efficient to build existing MRAP designs under license. The Department of
Defense went along with that.
decision to rapidly increase the number of MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush
This was because MRAPs are
basically armored, and heavily modified trucks. These bomb resistant vehicles
cost about five times more than armored hummers or trucks. This is justified by
the fact that MRAPs are safer, and these vehicles would prevent up to a hundred
troops a month from getting killed or wounded.
Currently, the most common
MRAP is the Cougar [PHOTO], followed by the larger Buffalo [PHOTO]. MRAPs like these are built
using the same construction techniques pioneered by South African firms that
have, over the years, delivered thousands of landmine resistant vehicles to the
South African armed forces. These were a great success. The South African
technology was imported into the U.S. in 1998, and has already been used in the
design of vehicles used by peacekeepers in the Balkans.
The 7-12 ton Cougar comes
in two basic versions. The four wheel one can carry ten passengers, the six
wheel one can carry 16. The trucks cost about $730,000 each, fully equipped.
The Buffalos are 23 ton, heavily modified, Peterbuilt Mac-10 trucks. Costing
$740,000 each, they have added armor protection to keep out machine-gun
The most common new MRAPs
include the MaxxPro, a 16 ton vehicle that can carry six troops and costs
$548,000. Another new one is the Caiman,
a 14 ton vehicle carrying six troops and costing $443,000. These two
models account for about half the 7,000 new MRAPs on order. The rest come from
existing suppliers, and several other new MRAP manufacturers. All these
vehicles share common design features, and that fact that they are just more
massive. This protects the crew, which is mainly what an MRAP exists to do.