Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) Vehicles
Source: Congressional Research Service (no public website)
Released August 24, 2010
8 pages in PDF format
Congress has played a central role in the MRAP program by suggesting to defense and service officials that MRAPs would provide far superior protection for troops than did the up-armored High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs ). Congressional support for MRAPs, as well as fully funding the program, has been credited with getting these vehicles to Iraq and Afghanistan in a relatively short timeframe, thereby helping to reduce casualties.
Currently, DOD has approved an acquisition objective of 25,700 vehicles, of which 8,100 are the newer Military-All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) version, designed to meet the challenges of Afghanistan’s rugged terrain. DOD officials have indicated that this total may be increased depending on operational needs in Afghanistan.
As of June 28, 2010, more than 8,500 MRAPs had reportedly been shipped to Afghanistan, with over 3,500 of those being the newer M-ATVs. The Army has recently said that it will begin development of yet another MRAP version—the “Ultra-Lite MRAP”—which raises questions about possible vehicle redundancies.
The Marines, although voicing support for the M-ATV program, have retrofitted a number of MRAPs with new suspension systems and reportedly are satisfied with the results. This apparent success calls into question not only if the Marines need all of the M-ATVs allocated to them by DOD but also if the Marines’ retrofitted suspension system might be a more cost-effective alternative for the other services.
Through FY2010, Congress appropriated $34.95 billion for all versions of the MRAP. In March 2010, DOD reprogrammed an additional $3.9 billion from the Overseas Contingency Operations fund to MRAP procurement. Congress approved an additional $1.2 billion for MRAP procurement, included in the FY2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-212). The full FY2011 DOD budget request of $3.4 billion for the MRAP Vehicle Fund has been authorized by the House (H.R. 5136).
Among potential issues for congressional consideration are the status of almost 5,000 MRAPS in Afghanistan that are reportedly not being used because of their size and weight; possible redundancies with the MRAP, M-ATV, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle programs; and actual Marine M-ATV requirements.
As the CRS has no public website, this report is hosted by the Federation of American Scientists.