US Army and Marine Corps MRAPs: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles by Mike Guardia
The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle is the newest land warfare system in the United States Army and Marine Corps inventory. Designed to meet the challenges of operating in a counterinsurgency environment, the MRAP has taken survivability to a new level. MRAPs are currently manufactured by three companies: BAE Systems, Navistar International Military Group, and Force Protection Inc. Each company manufactures an MRAP according to one of three classifications set by the US Department of Defense: Category I, Category II, or Category III. The Category I MRAPs are designed for urban combat. Category II covers the MRAPs designed for convoy security, medical evacuation, and explosive ordnance disposal. The Category III MRAP performs the same function as Category II but is designed to carry more personnel. Since their introduction in 2007, MRAPs have performed remarkably in the asymmetric warfare environment. Their unique design and survivability characteristics have saved the lives hundreds of soldiers who otherwise would have been lost to landmines or IED attacks. As with any combat system, however, the MRAP is not without its drawbacks.