MRAP Deliveries to Top Year-End Goal
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2007 – The Defense Department is expected to top its year-end goal of delivering 1,500 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to Iraq as soon as tomorrow, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters today.
Morrell’s announcement came as DoD announced the award of just under $2.66 billion to purchase an additional 3,126 of the heavily armored, V-hulled vehicles by July 31.
The latest MRAP contract, announced yesterday, will bring to 11,900 the number of vehicles under contract. “Our objective is to build at least 15,374,” Morrell said.
Morrell said it’s unlikely that the Marine Corps’ recent decision to reduce its MRAP requirement from 3,600 to 2,300 will affect the Army’s MRAP request or the overall joint requirement. The number actually could increase as the Army evaluates its needs, and as commanders in Afghanistan express an interest in getting more MRAPs, he said.
“Commanders in Afghanistan are of the mind that they would like more there than originally requested,” Morrell said. “Their inclination at this point is that we may want to up the number in Afghanistan.
“These armored trucks… have been the military’s top acquisition priority for months now, and with good reason,” Morrell said. “They have proven to be true lifesavers for our warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
As of Dec. 17, 1,300 MRAPs were in the theater, Morrell reported. Another 180 are en route by sea aboard USNS Pililaau, a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship operated by Military Sealift Command that left Charleston, S.C., Dec. 13. In addition, another 15 MRAPs are in the air headed to Iraq.
These vehicles will bring the number of MRAPs delivered to 1,525, exceeding the department’s year-end goal. “Everything has proceeded on schedule,” Morrell said.
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