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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
MRAPs moved to Afghanistan

By Art Powell | | July 16, 2009

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Editor’s note:
As the Marine Corps presence increases in Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan, the role of Maintenance Center Albany in supporting the MRAP program there also increases.

MCA provides skilled technicians who deploy to the theaters of operations to work on MRAPs and MCA is exploring repair options on the vehicles that could be sent here for depot-level maintenance.

Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON- The military is sending thousands of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to Afghanistan, even while a new version is being built, to protect troops against their biggest threat: improvised explosive devices.

Because IEDs pose the biggest threat to troops in Afghanistan, the nation’s top military officer said yesterday, the military will keep the MRAPs flowing there until new versions built specifically for the Afghan terrain are ready for shipment.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told a National Press Club audience that IEDs have become “more and more sophisticated over time.” He said, “Combined with increasingly sophisticated Taliban attacks, they pose an increasing threat to deployed troops.”
Mullen offered his comments just before traveling to Dover Air Force Base, Del., as the remains of seven service members — six of them killed by roadside bombs — were returned home from Afghanistan.

While predicting casualties will continue to spike during tough fighting in the months ahead, Mullen said the Defense Department is flowing thousands of MRAPs into Afghanistan to protect forces there.
So far, 3,020 MRAPs have been shipped to Afghanistan, reported Cynthia Bauer, a U.S. Transportation Command spokeswoman.

That brings to more than 15,000 the number of MRAPs that Transcom has delivered to the theater, she said.

About half of the Afghanistan deliveries were by airlift and half by “multi-modal” sealift delivery.

“From an equipment standpoint, there’s no higher priority than to get these vehicles in theater as rapidly as we can,” Mullen said.

Meanwhile, Transcom is gearing up work with the MRAP Joint Program Office and Centcom to get MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles to Afghanistan as quickly as it got MRAPs to Iraq.

“We will build on that success to field additional life-saving MRAPs as they come on line,” said Air Force Col. Greg Schwartz, chief of the East Division at USTRANSCOM’s Deployment Operations Center.

The M-ATVs are expected to be fielded later this year, with all deliveries completed by spring.

“We’re working hard to get the right vehicle in the right place at the right time,” Mullen said. “But in the meantime, we’re flowing thousands ... to Afghanistan to meet the needs that are there right now,” he said.

Oshkosh Corp., winner of the $1.06 billion contract, has moved into overdrive to meet the accelerated delivery schedule, company officials said.

The first vehicles are expected to be delivered this month.


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