Friday, October 26, 2007

MRAP I, MRAP II and the recent orders

The MRAP program has been criticized because of the lack of a common design, which presents a wartime logistical challenge, its inability to withstand EFP attacks and the relatively few number of units that have been delivered to Iraq and Afghanistan, despite large orders. This selection of the three winners for MRAP I is distinct from the ongoing MRAP II competition, in which more than six different MRAP makers submitted either proposals, vehicles or both to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., by the Oct. 1 deadline.

In the MRAP II competition, DoD asked industry to improve upon MRAP I survivability. MRAP II vehicles are required to defend against deadly explosively formed penetrator (EFP) weapons attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. MRAP II contracts are expected to be awarded in the coming months.


This story helps further confirm that I jumped the gun in seeing the recent orders as an outcome of the MRAP II competition.

On the other hand, given concerns about "lack of common design," a manufacturer producing large numbers of vehicles for MRAP I would have to be considered a favorite in MRAP II. Ordering 4,000 Golan vehicles under MRAP II, for example, does nothing but perpetuate the logistical difficulties of servicing incompatible vehicle designs in the theater.

Companies like PVI and Ceradyne will likely need to produce a substantially better product in order to turn into a big winner in the MRAP II competition.


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