Armor: Backing Away From MRAPs


October 15, 2008:  The U.S. Army and Marines are rapidly backing away from the thousands of armored trucks (MRAPS), Congress gave them $17.6 billion (50 percent more money than originally requested) to buy last year. With violence rapidly declining in Iraq (and never that high in Afghanistan to begin with), the 17,000 MRAPs the politicians promised to buy are now being seen as a long term liability. These 12-20 ton trucks are harder to maintain than hummers, are not very good off roads, are too heavy for over 70 percent of the world's bridges, tip over too easily and are a rough ride for passengers when on bad roads. The generals fear getting stuck with these behemoths, to the exclusion of new weapons and gear that they believe are more needed.

Meanwhile, work on MRAP II has been halted, mainly because the chief additional feature of this new model, protection from Iranian EFP (Explosively Formed Penetrator bombs, was more effectively provided by installing additional armor (like the Frag Kit 6) to existing MRAPs. Then there's also the "problem" of fewer EFP attacks, or IED (roadside bomb) attacks in general. For much of the past year, only a few U.S. troops a month were being killed by roadside bombs, and these were usually troops not travelling in MRAPs. EFP attacks have declined because Iran fears retaliation, and wants to play nice for a while.

The main problem with MRAP is that it is a specialized vehicle. Unless you are dealing with an opponent who is big into roadside bombs, MRAPs are not the most efficient armored vehicle to have in your inventory.


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