In an unprecedented move the the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has approached the US government to some 4,500 used Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the vehicles include about 3,360 International MaxxPro of various types and 1,150 BAE Systems Caiman multi-terrain vehicles. 44 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) are also bundled in the package that is expected to cost over $2.5 billion. Sofar the US Army has donated these vehicles to foreign countries that supported the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to domestic police and law enforcement agencies in the USA.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announcement, the UAE intends to utilize these MRAP vehicles to increase force protection, to conduct humanitarian assistance operations, and to protect vital international commercial trade routes and critical infrastructure. It is also possible that in financing this acquisition the UAE will be able to provide protected mobility to locally established groups that would be orgenized to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. “These MRAPs will enhance UAE’s burden-sharing capacity and defensive capabilities.” The DSCA announcement said.
The principal contractors will be Navistar Defense in Lisle, Illinois; BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas; and Oshkosh Defense in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since the vehicles are sold as excess inventory, the financial impact of this sale is not expected to be significant for those companies.
The package could include 4,569 MRAP Vehicles of the following types:
- 1,085 MaxxPro Long Wheel Base (LWB) chassis
- 29 MaxxPro LWB
- 264 MaxxPro Base/MRAP Expedient Armor Program (MEAP – augmented side armor)
- 729 MaxxPro Bases
- 283 MaxxPro MEAP without armor
- 970 MaxxPro Plus (up-armored against IEDs)
- 1,150 Caiman Multi-Terrain Vehicles (without add-on armor)
- 44 MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV)
- 15 MRAP Recovery Vehicles
The vehicles will be delivered with extra belly protection (Underbody Improvement Kits) and the logistical support packages the US Army has maintained for those vehicles. Since its fielding in 2006 MaxxPro was one of the most popular MRAP vehicle operated by the US Army. The vehicle designed and built by Navistar was delivered in several versions – all implemented an armor and protection suite designed and built by Plasan in Israel. Some armor enhancements associated with the MaxxPro Plus up-armored vehicle were delivered by US manufacturers.
In addition to the MRAP package the US has also approved the sale of 100 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) medium range ballistic missiles to the UAE. Those missiles comprise the M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rockets with T2K (Block IA Unitary) warheads weighing 500 lb.,
The missiles will be loaded on a battalion of 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launchers, 12 resupply vehicles and 65 unitary pods each comprising six Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS). The estimated cost of this missile package is $900 million. The UAE has been operating a regiment equipped with 20 HIMARS launchers carrying ATACMS since 2006. In 2010 the US Government approved the sale of 100 missiles for the UAE, replacing the previously supplied cluster-munitioned versions with new designs using the T2K unitary warhead.
The ATACMS missile uses GPS guidance to strike targets at high precision, and at nearly vertical angle from ranges of 70 to 270 km. The M57 variant was used successfully in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, where deep strike capability was required against high payoff targets. In the recent years ATACMS has been deployed with other Middle-Eastern countries including the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Turkey.