MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, QUANTICO, Va -- The Department of Defense further demonstrated its commitment to manufacture, integrate and deliver up to 8000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to war fighters in Iraq. Two delivery orders placed this week bring the number of vehicles on contract to 6,415 in an effort which began less than a year ago.
Canadian Commercial Corporation, General Dynamics Land Systems will place 600 Category II vehicles in the line-up with an order placed Aug. 7 bringing their vehicle participation in the race to 620. Force Protection Industries, Inc. is adding another 25 Category I vehicles and 100 Category II vehicles to their fleet of 1,838 vehicles. The Canadian Commercial Corporation, General Dynamics Land Systems order is valued at $338.7 million and the Force Protection Industry order at $69.8 million.
“The overarching goal of this joint program is to field quality vehicles as expeditiously as possible,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, joint program executive officer and commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, the lead contracting agency. “We are placing orders, supporting manufacturer ability to ramp up production and refining our processes to speed up that fielding.”
The MRAP vehicles feature a v-shaped hull and raised chassis that have proven to protect troops from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), small-arms fire and mines. Three categories serve various mission goals as determined by field commanders. Category I vehicles are designed for urban combat operations and can transport six people. Category II vehicles have multi-mission capabilities including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering, and can transport up to 10 personnel. Category III vehicles perform Mine/IED clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal and can transport six personnel, five with additional equipment installed.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates affirmed the rapid pace of this race in a written statement May 2 when he rated the MRAP vehicle program is the Department of Defense’s highest acquisition priority and “…any and all options to accelerate production and fielding of this capability to theater should be identified, assessed and applied where feasible.”
“This enterprise is the ultimate team sport,” said Paul Mann, joint program manager, referring to the partnership between the Department of Defense, the services, Congress and industry. “Our mission is clear. We will not rest until every vehicle is in the hands of our warfighters protecting the lives of those who defend us.”
The two delivery order announcements come swiftly behind the MRAP II Solicitation of July 31 intended to identify manufacturers with the capability to produce MRAP vehicles with survivability and performance capabilities beyond those currently being procured.
Mann stressed, “As the threat to our warfighters evolve, so must our defense against those threats.”