Continuing to expeditiously provide the best available solution to save warfighters’ lives, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) awarded nine Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts Jan. 26 and a first delivery order for the testing, production and sustainability of the initial 36 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for testing with possible delivery orders for up to a total of 4,100. With its proven record, the MRAP vehicles will save lives by augmenting the current level of mine and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) protection with a V-shaped hull and raised chassis. The increased survivability performance requirements and production rates are a direct result of theater operational needs. The objective is to produce these vehicles by Dec. 31, 2007.
"MRAP vehicles have saved lives," said Capt. Taylor Biggs, Marine Forces Pacific and MRAP vehicle survivor. "The Marines who work in these vehicles have the greatest confidence in its abilities to defeat the bad guys. IEDs are our greatest threat. They frustrate Marines who want to engage targets, not be targets themselves."
MCSC is committed to delivering these MRAP vehicles to operating forces. “MCSC’s acquisition strategy is outcome-oriented. We want the maximum number of survivable vehicles, with performance in proven by tests, in the shortest time to deliver,” said Paul Mann, MCSC’s program manager for MRAP. “In response to our request for proposals, industry responded with quality products and production capacity. We look forward to their success when we validate performance at Aberdeen Proving Grounds; we hope everyone’s product is as good as they state so we can expedite production orders. Theater Commanders have an urgent and compelling need for these vehicles. It is up to all of us to act fast."
With the active evaluation participation by the Army, the Marine Corps serves as the lead agency for procurement of the current requirement of MRAP vehicles under designated Rapid Deployment Capability authority. The Marine Corps, in concert with the Army and Navy’s program managers, will work through acquisition, fielding and sustainment. MRAP vehicle requirements include the increased survivability and mobility of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers responding to a variety of missions including operating in a hazardous fire area against known threats such as small arms fire and IEDs.
"These mine-resistant vehicles gave us a capability to safely approach, confirm and in some instances neutralize IEDs," said Biggs; having served in Iraq from Aug. 2005 to April 2006.
“We have an urgent and compelling need for these vehicles,” said COL Dion King, Army’s project manager for MRAP. “We considered lessons learned from many other rapid acquisition programs to ensure that we can deliver safe, effective, reliable and supportable MRAP vehicles to our operating forces as soon as possible.”
Supporting such mission profiles, test vehicles from each of the two categories of MRAP vehicles are currently under contract. Category I is the Mine Resistant Utility Vehicle (MRUV) for urban combat operations. Category II is the larger Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) for multi-mission operations such as convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering.
“Success is in the hands of industry,” said Barry Dillon, MCSC’s executive director. “The vehicles need to have adequate survivability, need to be produced at a high rate and need to be fielded as soon as possible.”
Under the IDIQ contracts, each awardee will produce two vehicles of each category for test and evaluation. Contracts have been awarded to the following manufacturers:
• Armor Holdings Aerospace and Defense Group (Sealy, Texas)
• BAE Systems (Santa Clara, Calif.)
• Force Protection Industries, Inc. (Ladson, S.C.)
• General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada (Ontario, Canada; manufactured in York, Pa.)
• General Purpose Vehicles (New Haven, Mich.)
• International Military and Government LLC (Warrenville, Ill.)
• Oshkosh Truck Corporation (Oshkosh, Wis.)
• Protected Vehicles, Inc. (North Charleston, S.C.)
• Textron Marine and Land Systems (New Orleans, La.)
“This is a tremendous opportunity for industry and should provide good healthy competition,” said Dillon. “We are depending on industry to fulfill their contracts on time, to do what they said they would do in their proposals. We will encourage them to produce vehicles faster while they continue providing quality, safe vehicles.”
“Several of the awarded contract vendors indicate they could initially deliver start-up production rates between 30, 60 and 90 days after receipt of production orders,” said Mann. “In parallel, we are working to shorten the timeline from vehicle delivery to integration and transportation to theater. The detailed planning for this effort is in progress. Timely delivery of vehicles in the hands of the warfighter is the critical metric.”
The current MRAP procurement is focused on the Global War on Terror. Combatant Commanders will determine the allocation of these vehicles in theater based on mission requirements. It is MCSC’s duty to provide the equipment to allow them flexibility in this area. The family of MRAPs is added to the portfolio of other protected vehicles in theater to include the M1114s, HMMWVs w/MAK, M1151s and M1152s based on an urgent and compelling need.
MCSC continues to work closely with theater commanders, joint requirements organizations, industry and the joint Science & Technology community to forecast threats and accelerate promising technologies.