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American Forces Press Service

Oversight Council Checks Out Mine-Resistant Vehicles

By Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., May 18, 2007 – Senior military and civilian leaders from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council got an up-close look at Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle capabilities during a visit here yesterday.

The group was led by Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and head of the JROC, and included senior military officers and civilians from the Defense Department and all four services. Other attendees included Navy Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, vice chief of naval operations; Air Force Gen. John D.W. Corley, Air Force vice chief of staff; and Tina W. Jonas, the Defense Department’s comptroller.

While at Aberdeen, the group saw a dozen versions of the vehicle from different contractors. The MRAP has a raised, V-shaped underbelly that deflects the force of improvised explosive devices and other blasts from below. It’s expected to reduce casualties from mines, improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.

“MRAP vehicles have saved lives in Iraq and will continue to save lives,” said Giambastiani. “It is the best vehicle protection we have to date.”

Another attendee said getting the vehicles to troops quickly is a high priority.

"We have an urgent and compelling need for these vehicles,” said Delores Etter, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. “It is our civic duty and our responsibility to get these vehicles to our deployed servicemembers as soon as we possibly can."

After test-driving the vehicles, the group traveled to a range to watch an explosive test on one of the MRAP vehicles. According to members of the JROC, the visit confirmed the urgent need to get MRAP vehicles to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The MRAP is the JROC’s highest priority acquisition program, and it is a notable improvement over the armored vehicles currently in use,” Giambastiani said. “The design and armor provides greater protection and increases survivability.”

But while the vehicles may increase troop protection, the admiral cautioned they are not an end-all solution.

“No vehicle, whatever its armor, is invulnerable,” he added. “It is inevitable that we will lose some of these in the course of combat. We also expect the enemy to make an all-out effort to disable or destroy an MRAP.”

However, the testing is a critical part of providing the best possible solution for troops.

“I am so impressed with the hard work and dedication of the testing team here at Aberdeen,” said Etter. “They are working seven days a week to put these vehicles through a rigorous cycle of tests so we can better determine which vehicles will be selected for further production.”

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