Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) is a term for United States military light tactical vehicles produced as part of the MRAP program that are designed specifically to withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes. The United States Department of Defense MRAP program began in 2007 as a response to the increased threat of IEDs during the Iraq War. From 2007 until 2012, the MRAP program deployed more than 12,000 vehicles in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan.
Countering Insurgency Warfare
The U.S military’s MRAP program was prompted by U.S. casualties from IEDs during the Afghanistan war and Iraq War. Several designs of vehicles from various vendors were deployed as part of the MRAP program. MRAP vehicles usually have “V”-shaped hulls to deflect explosive forces from land mines or IEDs below the vehicle, thereby protecting vehicle and passengers. MRAPs weigh 14 to 18 tons, 9 feet high, and cost between US$500,000 and US$1,000,000.
The MRAP class is separated into three categories according to weight and size.
Category I (MRAP-MRUV)
The Mine-Resistant Utility Vehicle (MRUV) is smaller and lighter, designed for urban operations. Few examples of Category 1 MRAP vehicles ordered or in service are given below
- BAE Caiman 4×4
· BAE OMC RG-31
· BAE RG-33 4×4
· Force Protection Cougar H 4×4
· International MaxxPro
Category II (MRAP-JERRV)
The Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) is designed for missions including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering.
Category II MRAP vehicles ordered or currently in service:
- Force Protection Cougar HE 6×6
· BAE RG-33L 6×6
· GDLS RG-31E
· International MaxxPro XL
· BAE Caiman 6×6
Force Protection Buffalo MRV for mine- and IED-clearing functionality, with 6 seats
The International MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle is an armored fighting vehicle designed by American company Navistar International’s subsidiary Navistar Defense along with the Israeli Plasan Sasa, who designed and manufactures the vehicle’s armor.
MRAPs are categorized as category 1 or category 2, depending on usage and passenger compartment space, and Navistar produces the MaxxPro in both sizes, although the vast majority of those sold have been category 1 MRAPs. The MaxxPro Plus model comes with dual rear wheels for increased load carrying capacity, such as an ambulance or EFP protected variant. The latest model produced is the MaxxPro Dash, which is a smaller and lighter category 1 model. Both the Plus and Dash models use the MaxxForce 10 engine with 375 hp, in place of the DT 530 with 330 hp, used in the original base model produced.
The MaxxPro utilizes a crew capsule with a V-shaped hull, mounted on an International 7000 chassis. The V-hull deflects the blast of a land mine or improvised explosive device (IED) away from the vehicle to protect its occupants. Because the chassis is mounted outside the armored crew capsule, there are concerns that it will likely be destroyed in the event of an ambush, leaving the soldiers inside stranded, However the MaxxPro “did extremely well during the tests, This design has survived a 7 kg (15 lb) land mine blast with no injuries.
In 2010, the Army initiated a development effort to add electronic stability control (ESC), a computerized technology designed to improve vehicle stability, to the MaxxPro. The MaxxPro’s high ground clearance provides greater protection from underbody blasts, but also raises its center of gravity, causing rollovers in certain situations. The ESC combines road factors, vehicle data, and driver intent to automatically correct driving to ensure stability during maneuvers.
9.3L, 570 cubic inches MaxxForce D9.3I6
330 hp @ 2,100 rpm; 375 hp in Plus and Dash variants
Power/weight: 18.9–20 hp/US ton
Payload capacity: 3,650–11,150 lbs. (1.6–5 t)
Transmission: Allison 3000 5-speed automatic
Suspension: 4×4, wheeled semi-elliptical leaf springs
MAXXPRO MRAP & PAKISTAN ARMY
The U.S. Department of Defense issued a US $35 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for 40 MaxxPro Dash DXM mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles for Pakistan. The MRAP program was scheduled for completion by October 2018. Powered by a 425 hp diesel engine, the MaxxPro Dash DXM is a variant of the MaxxPro Dash (with improved suspension), which was introduced in 2008-2009. The Dash DXM has a V-shaped hull designed for reflecting blasts from mines and improvised explosive devices (IED) away from its crew. The Dash DXM has a payload capacity of more than 4,500 kg.
Pakistan has been using MRAPs as part of its ongoing counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pakistan had sought surplus MRAPs from U.S. stocks in Afghanistan under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. These efforts did not materialize (certainly not at the scale of America’s EDA transfer of 762 MaxxPro MRAPs to Egypt). As of today, 352 MaxxPro MRAPs of different versions are in service with the Pakistan Armed Forces.