New kid on the block
November 7, 2009
The U.S. Army received the first two of 5,244 Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicles,
the Military's newest addition to the family of Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, in Afghanistan early
October to support combat operations in Afghanistan's difficult,
The M-ATV features the same life-saving, v-shaped hull
that has proven to be successful defending against Improvised
Explosive Devices on the larger MRAPs, but in a
smaller, Humvee-sized package. They will eventually be
dispersed between Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force
troops serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The first M-ATVs were delivered to troops in Afghanistan
just three months after the first contract was awarded to
the Oshkosh Corporation and one year since the requirement
was identified. The need to produce the M-ATV came from
a requirement for a smaller, more maneuverable MRAP to
travel off-road and navigate the mountainous terrain.
"So we have pulled out all the stops to collapse the
schedule and get these vehicles into theater," said Brig. Gen.
Michael Brogan, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command
and Joint Program Executive Officer of the MRAP
Program. "We are doing everything that's required to ensure
that they are safe, that the risk assessments are complete, that
they're fully integrated and flown into Afghanistan."
According to Marine Corps Systems Command, the MATVs
will support small-unit combat operations in highly
restricted rural, mountainous and urban environments that
include mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security,
convoy protection, communications, command and
control, and combat service support. It is designed to
replace the up-armored Humvee in Afghanistan carrying
up to five personnel - four plus a gunner.
Only one version, comparable to the Cat 1 MRAP
but more maneuverable, is planned for Afghanistan.
The M-ATV is a separate category within the MRAP
family of vehicles due to their off-road capabilities
and smaller size which is necessary due to the lack
of established roads and bridges in the Afghanistan
theater of operations. It will be used to complement
other tactical vehicles, including MRAPs, already in
The M-ATVs off-road capabilities lie in its lighter
weight and independent suspension system that allows
for 16 inches of wheel travel. The TAC-4
system developed by the Oshkosh Corporation has
already seen over 400,000 miles of government durability
testing and is also being used on other MRAPs.
The Military is currently working to ensure that
M-ATVs coming off the line are finding their way to
combat troops on the ground as soon as possible. Airlift
is the fastest way to deliver MRAP and MRAPtype
vehicles to the U.S. Central Command area of
operations where they are most needed. Air Force
cargo aircraft, including the C-5 and C-17 transport
planes, and AN-124 commercial aircraft can carry
M-ATVs into Afghanistan. Besides using military
and commercial airlift, Navy and commercial sealift
will also be used to transport M-ATV vehicles.
As with earlier MRAPs, none of the new vehicles
will touch down in Kuwait on their way into theater
until a significant number is fulfilling the mission in
As necessary, the intra-theater transportation system
will engage to bring M-ATVs to the Servicemembers.