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Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Expedient Armor Program (MEAP)

On 31 July 2007, the US Marine Corps issued a request for proposal for the MRAP II Enhanced Vehicle Competition. The MRAP II was intended to better address the threat of Explosively-Formed Penetrators (EFPs), a type of stand-off improvised explosive device that employs a shaped charge against the sides of vehicles. Realizing a need to equip MRAP vehicles already in service with some similar level of protection, the MRAP Expedient Armor Program (MEAP) was initiated. This program looked for an applique armor kit that could be retrofitted to existing MRAP types.

The Department established the MEAP to counter the threat of EFPs. To this end the MRAP Joint Program Office leveraged support from the US Army Research Lab (ARL), US Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the Army Test Center, US Army and USMC depots, and industry partners.

A limiting factor in MEAP design was vehicle payload, with "up-armor" kits weighing between 4,000 and 13,000 pounds. The program sought to maximize survivability while limiting performance degradation of the MRAP vehicle. The task was to be accomplished by determining acceptable payloads based on chassis and power-train limitations, then optimizing armor placement to maximize crew survivability through the evaluation of over 20 courses of action.

The first MRAP vehicles with installed, enhanced EFP kits were undergoing testing as of November 2007. Three of the vehicles dedicated to EFP protection had been received at that time, and the respective kit packages were in various stages of engineering (design, fabrication and prototype efforts), depending on the MRAP vendor variant. To expedite the total process, an engineer team from Rock Island Arsenal was working hand in hand with the TARDEC design and fabrication teams. The teams searched for ways to reduce cycle time such as providing vehicle manufactures with base material and integrating as much of the kit on the vehicle at the production facility as possible. Production of the first kits from the initial design at Rock Island Arsenal was expected in the later part of November 2007. The Blue Grass Army and USMC Albany Depots were also being explored to support kit building efforts.

One of the components of expedient armor required specialty steel, which was processed into add-on armor material. These material designs, commonly referred to as P900 or XPA, were made at only a few foundries. MEAP teamed with the ARL in exploiting foundries for P900 plate. As a result, there had been an award for $52.1 million for the production of P900 and XPA plate and high hard plate. An award in mid-November 2007 of an additional $31 million for P900 material (estimated at 50,000 plates) was expected. The actions were funded from the $200 million appropriated for steel procurement. Aggressive procurement actions made it possible to purchase 9,200 tons of high hard steel and 5,250 tons of aluminum, both essential elements of P900 or XPA. All 3 of these components would start to be delivered to Rock Island Arsenal mid-November 2007.

In February 2008, BAE Systems announced they had been awarded a $58 million contract modification from the US Marine Corps for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle test support. The contract supported the MRAP Expedient Armor Program's testing of the Caiman vehicle through extensive research and development to counter the threat of Explosively Formed Penetrators, which included modeling and simulation, prototype testing and re-testing of design solutions to quickly react to evolving threats. Under the contract award, BAE Systems would supply and produce additional armor protection and replacement parts, assist in the test and evaluation of these products, and work with the government test community to complete the initial operational test and evaluation. Work on the contract from the Marine Corps Systems Command would be performed in Sealy, Texas and was expected to be complete by September 2008.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:47:23 ZULU