Monday, November 23, 2009
Such a vehicle will combine the maneuverability of the Humvee, the military's workhorse vehicle, with the protection of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) troop carrier, Pentagon documents show.
The Pentagon could buy up to 10,000 of the new trucks, which the military will need as it plans to almost double the number of servicemembers in Afghanistan to 60,000 over the next few years. So far, the Pentagon says it will buy at least 2,080 of the new MRAPs.
There were a record 3,276 attacks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2008. Those attacks killed 161 coalition servicemembers and wounded 722.
Brogan declined to estimate the new vehicle's cost, although the base price for a current MRAP is about $500,000. An armored Humvee costs $200,000.
troops prefer it to a Humvee because of the added protection, but it can get bogged down easily
"The problems that we are having with the current MRAP are that we get stuck in places that a lighter vehicle can go."
The bill to transport new armored vehicles to protect troops from roadside bombs in Afghanistan could top $2 billion, according to military figures.
Much of the equipment needed in Afghanistan must be flown in, because the landlocked country has no ports, though some supplies arrive by a hazardous ground route through Pakistan.
The military's Transportation Command estimates that it costs $165,000 to $230,000 to fly an MRAP from the United States to Afghanistan. If the Pentagon bought 10,000 of the new trucks and flew all of them to Afghanistan, transportation costs would total $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion.
72 percent of the world's bridges cannot hold the MRAP. Its heft also restricts several of the vehicles from being transported by C-130 cargo aircraft or the amphibious ships that carry Marine equipment and supplies. Although three MRAP vehicles will fit in a C-17 aircraft, airlifting is extremely expensive at $750,000 per vehicle, estimated by the U.S. Transportation Command. In an effort to rush more vehicles to the theatre, the US Air Force even contracted several Ukrainian Antonov An-124 heavy cargo aircraft, which became a familiar sight in the skies above cities such as Charleston, SC where some MRAPs are produced. For comparison, sealifting costs around $13,000 per vehicle
manufactured by BAE Systems