U.S. MARINE CORPS
Oshkosh Defense’s entry in the M-ATV competition will be a
variant of its armored Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement
(MTVR) vehicle. Here, Marine Lance Cpl. Nathan A. Bryant
provides security from the gun turret of an MTVR while Sgt.
Mathew D. Angle searches for mines and improvised explosive devices north of Hit, Iraq, in February 2007.
Navistar Defense already is supplying its MaxxPro Dash vehicles to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. For the Army and Marine
Corps M-ATV contract for an initial 2,080 vehicles, the company will compete with a modified version of the vehicle.
The Marines have been using a variant of the much-revered MRAP in Afghanistan, but found it is hard to
drive and navigate in the mountainous terrain that
lacks developed infrastructure.
The MRAP, a behemoth with a V-shaped hull, has
been saving lives in Iraq, where roadside bombs had
been claiming a disproportionate number of casualties.
But Iraq actually has a rather well developed road system, Hansen said, which allows the large protective
vehicles to maneuver properly.
Even there, however, MRAPs have proved too heavy
for some roadways and bridges, and have faced additional difficulties, such as rollovers, in less-developed
In Afghanistan, MRAPs can be particularly unwieldy, Gen. James T. Conway, the commandant of the
Marine Corps, told reporters at a Defense Writers’
Group in Washington earlier this year. The Marines
have been using what they call the Category I MRAP in
Afghanistan, a smaller and lighter version designed for
“If you ride in one [MRAP], it kind of creeps and
groans when you start going on uneven terrain,”
Conway said. “The vehicle does not operate as well off-road as we would like.”
“I think the terrain is extraordinarily demanding
there [in Afghanistan] and it’s a challenge each and
every day to operate in those vehicles,” Maj. Gen.
Robert Lennox, the assistant deputy Army chief of staff,
told the House Armed Services Committee last month.
Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, head of Marine Corps’
Systems Command, told lawmakers at the same hearing
Feb. 4 that a total of 94 MRAP accidents in Iraq and
Afghanistan resulted in rollovers. Two-thirds of those
were directly related to the weight of the vehicle and the
rest were the result of maneuvering to avoid a perceived
roadside bomb, a pothole or an accident, he said.
Despite the fact, for example, that the rear wheels
get caught in the craggy roads and vehicles can roll
over, the current MRAPs are still state of the art and
saving lives, said Lennox.
Brogan stressed that the technology to build the M-ATV exists today, as does the know-how at several
companies vying for the lucrative business the M-ATV
represents. The companies say they can fulfill the
requirement of an MRAP-like survivability with a
Humvee-like mobility and a tighter turning radius.
The request for proposals also expects the contractors to repair damaged M-ATVs in theater.
While the M-ATV is lighter, it is still 24,000 pounds,
which is 10,000 pounds more than the up-armored
“So it is still a fairly significant, substantial platform,” said Brogan.