MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, QUANTICO, Va. --
The rapid advancement of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle program is gaining more momentum with the release of the MRAP II solicitation. Announced on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site July 31, solicitation M67854-07-R-5082 is intended to identify manufacturers with the capability to produce the lifesaving vehicles with survivability and performance characteristics beyond those that are currently part of an aggressive production and fielding effort.
“MRAP II continues our need to exploit every opportunity to deliver force protection,” said Paul Mann, Joint MRAP program manager. “It builds on the acquisition velocity in process now and enables industry to help us deliver improved solutions in support of battlefield commanders.”
The MRAP vehicle’s V-shaped hull and raised chassis have proven to protect troops from improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire and mines. However, as enemy threats to warfighters evolve, the technology used to protect the troops must evolve as well. Vehicles procured through this second solicitation must meet enhanced requirements determined by commanders in the field.
The MRAP II solicitation queries industry on capability to produce Category I and Category II MRAP vehicles. 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. The Category II vehicle can transport up to 10 personnel. Currently, more than 5,690 of the vehicles have been ordered under the initial MRAP vehicle program solicitation. Four manufacturers, International Military and Governance LLC, Armor Holdings, BAE Land Systems and Force Protection Industries, Inc., are primarily tasked with production of those vehicles. The program has placed more than 210 vehicles in the hands of warfighters in theater. Up to 8,000 vehicles are slated to be ordered through current and requested fiscal 2008 funding. The MRAP II solicitation, however, is designed to provide the Joint Program Management Office with flexibility increasing production capability and providing vehicles with enhance protection and performance to meet future near-term requirements.
In May, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the MRAP vehicle program the Department of Defense’s highest priority acquisition program. In the written statement he declared, “…any and all options to accelerate production and fielding of this capability to theater should be identified, assessed and applied where feasible.”
The goal of the MRAP II solicitation supports that priority.
“MRAP II continues the urgent and compelling pace and priority the entire Department of Defense, Congress and industry demand to protect our forces,” Mann said.
Orders for vehicles will continue to be placed under the MRAP I program until production verification of MRAP II vehicles is determined. Manufacturers have until Sept. 17 to respond to the MRAP II solicitation.