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MIKE GUARDIA ILLUSTRATED BY HENRY MORSHEAD US ARMY AND MARINE CORPS MRAPS Mine Resistant Ambush Protected - pdf za darmo

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US ARMY AND MARINE CORPS MRAPS Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles

MIKE GUARDIA

ILLUSTRATED BY HENRY MORSHEAD © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

NEW VANGUARD 206

US ARMY AND MARINE CORPS MRAPS Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles

MIKE GUARDIA

ILLUSTRATED BY HENRY MORSHEAD

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

4

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT

5

THE PRE-MRAP: M1117 ARMORED SECURITY VEHICLE (ASV)

18

NAVISTAR INTERNATIONAL MAXXPRO

20

OSHKOSH DEFENSE M-ATV

22

BAE CAIMAN 4X4 AND 6X6

25

BAE/GENERAL DYNAMICS RG-31

29

BAE RG-33 AND RG-33L

33

FORCE PROTECTION COUGAR 4X4 AND COUGAR 6X6

36

FORCE PROTECTION BUFFALO MINE REMOVAL VEHICLE (CATEGORY III MRAP)

40

BEYOND THE MRAP: THE JOINT LIGHT TACTICAL VEHICLE (JLTV)

42

t BAE Valanx t Lockheed Martin JLTV t Oshkosh Defense L-ATV t General Tactical Vehicles JLTV

THE MRAP: AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

45

BIBLIOGRAPHY

47

INDEX

48

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

US ARMY AND MARINE CORPS MRAPS Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles INTRODUCTION The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) is the newest land warfare system in the United States Army and Marine Corps inventory. Designed to meet the challenges of operating in a counterinsurgency environment, the MRAP has taken survivability to a new level. Unlike other vehicles in the US inventory, the MRAP does not have a common vehicle design. There are several vendors, each with their own unique platform. BAE Systems, Navistar International, Force Protection Inc, Oshkosh, and other defense/automotive companies have produced MRAPs for the US Military. Each of these companies manufactured the MRAP according to one of three classifications set by US Department of Defense (DOD): Category I, Category II, and Category III. The Category I vehicles are the smallest and lightest of the MRAP family. They are officially referred to as the Mine Resistant Utility Vehicle (MRUV) variant and are designed primarily for urban operations. Category II covers the MRAPs designed for convoy security, medical evacuation, and explosive ordnance disposal. The Category III MRAP (whose only example is the Buffalo MRV) performs the same function as Category II but is designed to carry more personnel. Since their introduction in 2005–07, MRAPs have performed remarkably well in the asymmetric warfare environment. Their unique design and survivability characteristics have saved hundreds of lives, which otherwise would have been lost to landmines or IED attacks. Although manufactured by different companies, nearly all MRAPs have the same features: they are equipped with a V-shaped hull to deflect the blast from an explosive away from the vehicle and also have a higher ground clearance to dissipate the impact from any mine blast. Although the Americans did not field the MRAP until the latter years of the Iraq War, the vehicle itself was nothing new. Years earlier, the South Africans had pioneered the MRAP during the Rhodesian Bush War (1972–80) and the South African Border War (1966–89). Under the banner of the Ofilant Manufacturing Company (which has been owned, at various times, by Reunert, Vickers, Alvis, and currently by BAE) the South African military created the first line of “mine resistant” vehicles. These models included the Okapi, Mamba, and Casspir MRV – some of which became the basis for American MRAP designs. 4

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HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT By June 2003, three months after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) emerged as the enemy’s “weapon of choice.” By December of that year, the IED was responsible for over half of all US combat deaths and it was soon declared the “number one threat” to Coalition Forces. The appearance of the IED caught US policymakers and DOD officials by surprise. In the opening days of the Iraq War, many anticipated that the operation would be an easy victory and that American troops would return home within the year. According to Christopher J. Lamb, Matthew J. Schmidt, and Berit G. Fitzsimmons in their book, MRAPs, Irregular Warfare, and Pentagon Reform, “this predisposition meant that post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization operations received little attention, as did the possibility of extended civil disturbances or sustained irregular warfare. As a result, US forces trained for high-intensity warfare suddenly confronted problems with which they had no previous experience.” In fact, the US military had not trained for irregular warfare or counterinsurgency operations since the Vietnam War. Furthermore, there was no vehicle platform suited for the complexities of the counterinsurgency environment. As IED attacks were on the rise, field commanders and DOD officials realized that the problem required a multifaceted solution. The most obvious answer was to field a better-armored vehicle but none were readily available. The US Army and Marine Corps had a sizeable fleet of M1 Abrams tanks, but the senior leaders of either service were reluctant to commit their tanks en masse to the counterinsurgency fight. Indeed, during the early days of the

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An M1114 Up-Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), or Humvee. In the early years of the Iraq War, the US Department of Defense fielded several thousand up-armored Humvees to counter the emerging Improvise Explosive Device (IED). (US Department of Defense)

5

General Purpose Vehicles LLC entered the MRAP competition with a vehicle known as the Sergeant 4x4. The Sergeant was powered by a Caterpillar C7 turbo engine and built on a Ford F-750 chassis. (Carl Schulze)

6

IED menace, the most immediate option was the up-armored Humvee. However, by the time US forces invaded Iraq, only 2 percent of the Army’s 110,000 Humvees were armored. To make matters worse, the Pentagon had paid so little attention to the whereabouts of their up-armored Humvees that they had difficulty locating all of them. As it turned out, the up-armored variants had been scattered across various installations with no rhyme or reason to their placement. Seventy of these Humvees were, in fact, found at a missile base in North Dakota. Yet even as the military scoured its bases for up-armored Humvees, it was clear that there were not enough on hand to meet the operational requirements in Iraq. In response, the Army began working with manufacturers to increase production of the up-armored Humvee to replace the soft-skinned versions. Under these circumstances, production of the up-armored variant increased from 51 units per month in August 2003 to 400 vehicles per month in September 2004 – and finally to 550 vehicles per month by the end of 2005. Almost simultaneously, the Army approved the emergency shipping of thousands of “add-on” armor kits for the existing fleet of Humvees already in theater. Another solution found during the first year of the Iraq War was to rush further M1117 Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs) to Iraq. A Military Police vehicle, the ASV was in danger of being terminated from the 2004 defense budget until Congress saved the program. Although the ASV was significantly lighter and less armored than the MRAPs that were eventually fielded, the ASV offered similar “protection against mines and other ambushes.” Early on, commanders in the field recognized the ASV’s utility in protecting their convoys and patrols. Despite these developments, however, the IED threat continued to grow. The first IEDs were little more than simple explosives that the enemy would throw under moving vehicles. Nevertheless, they soon evolved into roadside bombs that could be remotely detonated by a cell phone or a garage door opener. As the up-armored Humvee began to pour into theater, insurgents began targeting the soft underbellies. They were soon burying IEDs in the road and packing them with as many as 100lbs of explosives. Another form of IED, and perhaps the most deadly, was the Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP), which was able to “better penetrate armor, and in doing so, spray elements of the weapons and the vehicle armor into the vehicle’s interior.”

© Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com

Although they were intended to mitigate the IED threat, the up-armored Humvees, add-on kits, and ASVs were not the best solution. The deliverance of all three was beset by monetary and logistical problems. By fall 2004, the US Army had slightly more than half of its quota for the up-armored Humvee. Even worse, the weight of the add-on kits made the original Humvees difficult to maneuver and ruined their suspensions. As other units waited to receive their add-on kits, they improvised by placing scrap metal, plywood, ballistic glass, and sandbags on their vehicles to increase protection. By January 2005, it was clear that US troops needed a more heavily armored and specifically tailored vehicle to counter the IED threat. The  following month, Marine Brigadier General D. J. Hejlik, deputy commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, submitted his Urgent Universal Need Statement to the Pentagon. Within its pages, Hejlik made a forceful case for the MRAP: “There is an immediate need for an MRAP vehicle capability to increase survivability and mobility of Marines operating in a hazardous fire area against known threats. The expanded use of IED/RPG and small arms fire (SAF) in the AO [Area of Operations] requires a more robust family of vehicles capable of surviving the IED/RPG/SAF threat as we operate throughout these areas. Marines are expected to respond rapidly, and without a large security contingent, therefore we need a vehicle that allows us to survive the first blow and then counterattack … [Our combined ground forces] are acutely exposed to the IED/RPG/SAF threat as they continue to prosecute offensive operations and security and stability operations. This need was identified thro...

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