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Army Looks at Long-Term Need for Mine-Resistant Vehicles

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2007 – The Army has not made a formal proposal to cut the number of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles the service will buy, but officials are looking at the service’s long-term need, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

“It would not surprise me if (the Army) made an adjustment,” Morrell said during a news conference. “You saw the Marines have made an adjustment to what they feel is necessary for their future operations. But I do not believe that a formal proposal has been put forth yet by the Army in terms of asking the secretary or anybody else to adjust downward what they wish to buy in the long term.”

The Defense Department will continue to buy as many MRAP vehicles as it can, as fast as it can, the press secretary said.

The vehicles have proven to be life-savers on the battlefield. The armored V-shaped hull deflects the effects of improvised explosive devices away from soldiers or Marines riding in the vehicles. They’ve been especially effective against what the military calls “improvised explosive projectiles,” IEDs designed especially to pierce armor. The department has contracted to buy 8,800 of the MRAP vehicles.

In November, DoD received 809 MRAP vehicles. The goal for the month was 997. Even with the shortfall, the number was almost twice the 419 vehicles the department received in October. The December goal is to build 1,200 MRAP vehicles.

“The good news is that we are well on our way to our goal of delivering vehicles to theater,” Morrell said. The department’s goal is to get 1,500 vehicles to the fighting fronts by the end of the calendar year. Through Dec. 5, the department had delivered 1,117 vehicles to the combat theater, Morrell said.

“So if we expeditiously get those or many of those that we produced during the month of November to theater, we will get to that 1,500 mark and it will be to the benefit of our troops over there,” the press secretary said.

The vehicles are having an enormous impact. Very few American soldiers or Marines have been killed in an MRAP. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said getting these vehicles to the troops is one of his priorities.

“There is a huge capability that's brought on when we bring those … vehicles to theater, and we hope to get as many of them as possible as soon as possible over there,” Morrell said.

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