As further force protection, ASA(ALT) has continued investment in proven technologies such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. MRAPs are engineered with a blast-debris deflecting V-shaped hull and an armored capsule to protect Soldiers from roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The MRAPs, and the lighter weight more mobile MRAP All Terrain Vehicles, have proven their ability to save Soldiers' lives in combat. As a result of their performance in battle and proven value to Soldiers, MRAPs will remain a vital part of the Army's Tactical Wheeled Vehicle fleet for years to come. MRAPs will be assigned to specific Brigade Combat Teams so that they are available to perform key functions such as route clearance and Soldier transportation when needed.
Also, some MRAPs have been outfitted with the latest in Army networking technology. Using a software-programmable radio such as JTRS and satellite technology such as WIN-T, the networked MRAPs are able to share real-time information, such as sensor feeds from nearby robots and UAS across the force, while onthe- move. This new capability-validated in technical field tests and network exercises such as the NIE-connects units at the battalion and company levels and below to one another and to higher headquarters in real-time using Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below display screens.
MRAPs and other vehicles in the Army fleet will take advantage of lighter weight armor composites as they become available. The Army Research Laboratory is testing combinations of lighter weight materials that can out-perform traditional steel; these technologies will spin out into the force as they become available. A prime example of the search for efficiencies within major programs, the Department of Defense, Army, and Marine Corps have succeeded in achieving a $2 billion cost avoidance on the MRAP program by applying systems engineering techniques and Lean Six Sigma practices to the program. The thrust of the cost avoidance was achieved through several key methodologies; MRAP program managers streamlined and coordinated the requirements process to better determine which vehicles to upgrade and developed a database portal aimed at sharing key information across the 25,000-strong fleet of vehicles.
The Joint Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Program (JMVP) is a multiservice program currently supporting the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the U. S. Special Operations Command. The program procures, tests, integrates, fields, and supports highly survivable vehicles that provide protection from IEDs and other threats. These four- to six-wheeled vehicles are configured with government furnished equipment to meet unique warfighting requirements. Vehicle combat weights (fully loaded without add-on armor) range from approximately 34,000 to 60,000 pounds, with payloads ranging from 1,000 to 18,000 pounds. Key components (e. g., transmissions, engines) vary between vehicles and manufacturers, but generally consist of common commercial and military parts.
Four categories of vehicles support the following missions:
1. Category (CAT) I: Carries four to six passengers and designed to provide increased mobility and reliability in rough terrain
2. CAT II: Multimission operations (such as convoy lead, troop transport, and ambulance), carries 10 passengers
3. CAT III: Mine/IED clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD); carries six passengers, plus specialized equipment to support EOD operations. The Force Protection Industries Buffalo is the only CAT III variant. This is the largest MRAP vehicle.
4. MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV): Carries four Soldiers plus a gunner. Supports small-unit combat operations in complex and highly restricted rural, mountainous, and urban terrains. The M-ATV provides better overall mobility characteristics than the original CAT I, II, and III MRAP vehicles yet retains the same survivability threshold.
The Improvised Explosive Device
(IEDD) Defeat product is comprised of several highlighted systems:
1. The Self Protection Adaptive Roller Kit (SPARK) provides a pre-detonation capability mounted on the family of MRAP vehicles; the latest version, SPARK II has key improvements: variable standoff, quick disconnect, and improved articulation from inside the cab, increased down pressure, and power generation.
2. Entry Control Point (ECP) in a box is a suite of systems that provide the Soldier the ability to detect and protect against personal borne and vehicle borne IEDs. The suite is comprised of explosive detection systems, non-lethal systems, and blast mitigation systems. This effort is a coordinated effort with PdM FPS.
3. Jackal is an IR defeat system integrated with MRAP platforms. While the PIR is a low-density threat, it is a very lethal threat.
4. Rhino is a high-density, low-cost system integrated on MRAP platforms used to defeat the PIR threat