Navistar's MaxxPro Dash (Pic: Navistar)
The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command announced plans this week to spend over $1 billion on 1,200 new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP) to be sent to Afghanistan. The Corps—which buys MRAPs for all the services—awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada a $227.4 million delivery order to produce 250 RG-31 Mk5E vehicles, which would add to the fleet of 1,402 RG-31 Mk5 vehicles already supplied to the U.S. military by General Dynamics. The vehicles will be produced at BAE Systems Land Systems OMC of Benoni, South Africa, with a delivery completion date of October 2010.
Navistar Defense was also awarded a $752 million contract to provide 1,050 enhanced International MaxxPro Dash MRAPs, which the company said will incorporate the DXM independent suspension provided by Hendrickson Truck Suspension Systems and AxleTech International. “This vehicle upgrade further improves the vehicle’s off-road capabilities, which is vital given Afghanistan’s lack of road infrastructure,” the company said in a release. Since May 2007, Navistar has delivered 7,494 MaxxPro MRAPs to the Department of Defense, as well as 8,100 International 7000 Series vehicles to the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Navistar said that work will be done at its Garland, Texas, and West Point, Miss., assembly plants, with deliveries set to begin in April and be completed by the summer of 2010.
A spokesperson for Navistar tells Ares that there are “quite a few small changes being incorporated at the request of the customer, some examples include door and insulation upgrades, as well as the addition of an inclinometer – which acts as a level and measures side slope during vehicle operation.”
In response to emailed questions, a spokesperson from Marine Corps Systems Command says that “each of the MRAP Category I vehicles put on contract Feb. 12 (Navistar 1,050 MaxxPro Dash, GDLS-C 250 RG31A2 and BAE 58 RG33), will be equipped with independent suspension systems. The trucks will be allocated mostly to the Army and Special Forces. The independent suspension allows troops to better navigate Afghanistan's rocky terrain and travel on less predictable routes. Marines were the first to retrofit their existing Cougar fleet with ISS and these vehicles are performing extremely well in theater. Future MRAP "family of vehicle" orders may also include additional M-ATVs.”