Thursday, July 02, 2009

M-ATV in the fast lane!

The Pentagon has announced that Oshkosh Corp. has won the $1 billion contract to build new, mine-resistant vehicles for off-road use in Afghanistan, with the Army and Marine Corps to receive the bulk.

The Wisconsin-based vehicle maker will oversee production of 2,244 heavily anticipated Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles [M-ATV] and the order could grow to as many as 10,000 M-ATVs, Pentagon officials have said. The M-ATV is needed to provide the same type of protection expected of the MRAP while offering additional mobility, top Pentagon officials have said. The current MRAPs have struggled with the rocky terrain in Afghanistan.

On June 2, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved a plan for 5,244 M-ATVs to be built and called for the Army to get 2,598, the USMC getting 1,565, SOCOM receiving 643, the USAF 280 and the Navy receiving 65. An additional 93 vehicles would be set aside for testing.

Because of the Pentagon’s urgent demand for these vehicles, Oshkosh began daily production on its manufacturing line a few weeks ago and may enlist the help of others to increase production, company officials said in statement. Oshkosh beat out three other teams to build the M-ATV: BAE Systems, Navistar International Corp., and Force Dynamics, a joint venture between General Dynamics Corp. and Force Protection Inc.

Marine Colonel "Whopper" Creedon voiced concern: "This thing is is a lightweight MRAP right? Well it weighs 32,500lbs and that's mainly due to the Plasan Composite armour. Now I'm OK with that because even with that, it's top speed is 65mph but a fully armoured Humvee's top speed is also 65mph. The problem there is the Humvee offers the protection of a motorised egg-carton wrapped in tinfoil by comparison to an MRAP." And Creedon has first hand experience as he was injured in March 1991, when as Captain of a Force Recon element attached to the 13th MEU in Iraq, his own Humvee was destroyed by a landmine killing his driver.

"This new M-ATV may not be as nimble as a Humvee, but my boys are not in situations now over there where they're dodging 20 RPG's a day - they're dodging roadside bombs and sooner or later you're gonna hit one no matter how maneuverable you are. I'd rather have the protection of an M-ATV when that happens, but the brass ain't replacing Humvees with them. Now dammit, I'm not suggesting that that all the Humvees are replaced, but at least consider those that are being sent into serious hotspots in-country. They should apply some of the MRAP tech to the JTLV program instead of the fucking about with contracts for that program which has stalled again - but don't get me started on that." The Colonel was referring to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle programme, which is slated to create a true replacement for the Humvee by 2015.

Source: Marine Corps Times, Army Times, Oshkosh Defense, Military.com, Global Security, Reuters, Defenselink

3 comments:

Cubaboy said...

Was it the mine that killed your driver Colonel or did you accidentally discharge your weapon Frank Drebin style into the poor man's back whilst scrambling to escape what you thought was an enemy attack but what was actaully a car back firing. I imagine you then bravely leapt from the vehicle leaving your mortally wounded comrade to slowly die in the baking heat.

Constance said...

you know that Oshkosh makes denim overalls for toddlers, yes?

Colonel Creedon said...

@ Cuba: All I'll say is, I was the only one capable of filling out the report afterwards...

@ Constance: ...and I'd know that how? We don recruit at that age Ma'am.


...yet.