Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The MRAP is MAD MAX meets D.O.D in the fight against IEDs

Unfortunately, the term IED (Improvised Explosive Devise) has become a common acronym to most people who follow the news. As the primary weapon used against US and coalition troops in Iraq, an IED’s effectiveness is a result of using leftover, readily available ammunition or homemade explosives coupled with cheap, household electronics such as cooking timers and cell phones.

Thankfully, the destruction and casualty statistics recorded in years past has lessened. While still a real threat, measures have been taken to reduce damage to equipment and injury to Soldiers.

Most notable in the fight against the IED has been the introduction of the MRAP or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Credited with saving Soldiers lives, the MRAP is now the primary vehicle used to move soldiers in and around the Iraqi theater of operation.

With the huge success of the vehicles came a huge demand to equip units and their Soldiers with the lifesaving troop carriers. That demand resulted in multiple contracts being given by the Department of Defense, which in turn, resulted in multiple versions of the MRAP. While all are effective, the lack of a single standard has created small challenges for shipping configurations. The large challenges have been dealing with the incredible weight that comes with a steel plated vehicle designed to take direct explosions and deflect them with a V-shaped hull. Weight also creates tactical challenges since many bridges will not support the MRAP.

All disadvantages mean nothing to the Soldier who walks away from an IED attack on his convoy because he was protected by an MRAP. While not a guarantee, we must credit the Department of Defense and their latest effort to keep our Soldiers safe as we draw down our numbers in Iraq.

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