As enemy threats to warfighters evolve, the technology used to protect the troops in the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) is evolving as well. Last week the US Marine Corps released a solicitation to the industry, asking for proposals for even more capable MRAPs. Currently, more than 5,690 MRAPs have been ordered. About 210 vehicles are already operational in theater. The new vehicle is required to offer higher protection than the current models, particularly from advanced threats. Furthermore, the new solicitation 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.
Earlier in 2007 the US Marine Corps awarded production contracts to eight manufacturers, each producing four Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicles for trials. Currently, more than 5,690 of the vehicles have been ordered under the initial MRAP vehicle program solicitation. About 210 vehicles are already operational in theater. Up to 8,000 vehicles are slated to be ordered through current and requested fiscal 2008 funding. 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. In a request for proposal released on July 31, 2007, the Marine Corps is asking industry again to propose even more capable MRAPs.
Vehicles procured through this second solicitation must meet enhanced requirements determined by commanders in the field. MRAP IIs will de designed for the same categories and roles defined for MRAP I program. “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 II solicitation 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.
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.
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 and it is expected that more producers will join the program in its next phase. Some like Oshkosh and Ceradyne have already teamed for the new program. PVI is also expected to become a more substantial player in the next program, with its new production lines gearing up and new armoring materials are matured.