Contractor Answers Nation’s Call for Mine-Resistant Vehicles

  • (Source: U.S Department of Defense)
  • 12:00 AM, November 24, 2008
  • 3633
SEALY, Texas --- Conventional military wisdom holds that enemies have a vote in combat. But manufacturers of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle have worked to disenfranchise them.>> When the Defense Department in July 2007 requested nearly $1.2 billion from Congress and asked for an influx of MRAPs for troops in Iraq, BAE Systems was one contractor that answered the call, a response that culminated at the facility here this week.>> The question was how many can you build and how fast can you build them? said Paul Mann, the MRAP joint program manager at BAE, which capped off its end of production with a retrospective feting yesterday.>> The MRAPs unique V-shaped hull diffuses blasts away from the vehicles underbelly, which has proven an effective countermeasure against the roadside bombs that have killed and injured scores of troops since operations began in Iraq and Afghanistan.>> Invoking Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates plea to industry for an additional 2,650 MRAPs, Mann said that when the Defense Department made force protection its No. 1 acquisition priority, it spurred workers here into action.>> BAE responded by kicking into high gear, more than doubling its production from about 15 Caiman trucks per day to roughly 35. In total, it has produced more than 5,000 MRAP vehicles -- 2,868 Caimans and 2,182 RG33s -- under Army and Marine Corps contracts over the past 22 months.>> The quality and quantity of your commitment to this mission will never be forgotten by the armed services, Mann told the Sealy plant workers gathered in a facility room for the days event.