By on February 26, 2008

600-mrap-span.jpgNearly half of all U.S. military deaths in Iraq are caused by roadside bombs, the cobbled-together explosives known by the now-household acronym IED (Improvised Explosive Device). These homemade killers are powerful enough to launch an up-armored Humvee in the air, penetrate it and split it in half. Which is why the military is hustling to get a new generation of MRAPs– that's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles– to Iraq. The New York Times reports that 2,500 MRAPs have already been deployed; 5500 are due in theater by June. The MRAPs range in size from the four-wheeled, 40k pound "Category 1" MaxxPro, to the six-wheeled Buffalo, which sports a mine-clearing robotic arm and a 12-liter diesel International straight six (yeah, that's two liters per cylinder). With mine-resistant undercarriages, AK47 repellent windows, city bus-inspired shock absorbing driver compartments, and Corbeau four-point racing harnesses, MRAP's are considered to be 300 percent safer in an IED blast than an up-armored Hummer. Which leaves only one question: how long before one of these bad boys ends up in a rap video?

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7 Comments on “MRAPs Rock...”


  • avatar
    mospeada

    Actually, they aren’t that popular with the troops as they are tall and Iraqi transmission lines hang very low in residential areas, so they end up having to stop and raise the lines in some areas or take out the lines by driving on through thereby pissing off the locals.

  • avatar
    Engineer

    Odd. The South African Defense Force used to have a mine-resistant vehicle called the Buffel (Afrikaans for buffalo). Of couse the Buffel was much smaller and cheaper ($28,750 vs $855,000). One version was open top, it was that basic. Worked great in terms of mine protection. A Buffel damaged by a single mine blast can be put back into action one hour later if spare parts and tools are available. Strange how an arms embargo can play out.

    Later iterations include the Casspir and the Ratel, both of which would seem ideal for Iraq. It would also be possible to deploy these much faster and probably cheaper. Assuming troop protection was the main priority…

  • avatar
    Engineer

    Actually, they aren’t that popular with the troops as they are tall and Iraqi transmission lines hang very low in residential areas, so they end up having to stop and raise the lines in some areas or take out the lines by driving on through thereby pissing off the locals.
    The Buffel had an inclined piece of metal to lift transmission lines (or wires meant to trap the vehicle’s occupants) and hook at the top to snap the line/wire. The Cougar shows a similar device on its roof.

    Would seem that most of these problems have been solved for at least twenty years, if you bother to look around…

  • avatar
    fallout11

    As Engineer points out, MRAPs are overly expensive, overly large, overly engineered wheeled trucks.

    As a combat transport, they are okay, although quite limited in terms of mobility (a problem with all wheeled vehicles), cargo/passenger capacity, and are almost as easily disabled as the HWMWVs they replace in this role.
    As an armored fighting vehicle, they suck big brass spheres, cannot be air deployed (too tall and/or heavy for most aircraft), and continue to enforce the erroneous concept that riding around in an enclosed vehicle is the somehow the way to pacify a country.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Engineer: A Buffel damaged by a single mine blast can be put back into action one hour later if spare parts and tools are available. Strange how an arms embargo can play out.

    I think the Iraqi IED’s are an order of magnitude more powerful than those the South Africans had to deal with. And the South Africans rarely operated in urban environments. Can you imagine what the Times or CNN would do to anyone designing an open-top vehicle?

    Yes, military contractors are whores for a buck. But this is a rush job – because of an aversion to almost any casualties.

    Use enough explosive and you’ll destroy an Abrams. There have been IED’s that have flipped 25 ton Marine LAV’s. Until we Engineer shields that Mr Sulu can raise, up-armoring is the only alternative to 250K infantrymen on the ground.

  • avatar

    About time.

  • avatar
    Engineer

    And the South Africans rarely operated in urban environments.
    Not true. These things were used a lot in townships, even the open top units. And, rather shockingly, they did encounter landmines there…

    Can you imagine what the Times or CNN would do to anyone designing an open-top vehicle?
    I only used open top as an example of how simple some units were. I was rather clear (I thought) that I was proposing using the rather nicely enclosed Casspirs or even the rather nicely amored Ratels. Both of these are still a lot cheaper than the products now proposed.

    I think the Iraqi IED’s are an order of magnitude more powerful than those the South Africans had to deal with.
    That may, or may not, be true. Any military experts out there?

    Be that as it may: using a Casspir would make a lot more sense than an up-armored Hummer.

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