By Spc. Elisebet Freeburg, Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan, PAOOctober 23, 2009
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan-The first Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) designated for Southern Afghanistan arrived here Oct. 22 by air transport.
After months of government testing, the Department of Defense awarded a contract June 2009, to Oshkosh Corporation to supply an initial order valued at $1.05 billion for more than 2,000 M-ATVs.
"This is a very different environment than Iraq, so as we came in and continued to fight the fight in Afghanistan, we realized it requires a little bit different equipment or modification than what we have," said Lt. Col. Richard Haggerty, the Regional Command-South deputy director for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology.
With an independent suspension system designed for off-road mobility, the M-ATV is built specifically to navigate Afghanistan's rugged landscape.
"The M-ATV really answers some of the challenges of the terrain, high altitudes and the real unevenness of a lot of the terrain out there," said Haggerty.
The M-ATV seats four passengers and one gunner, and features an armor system with a "V" shaped hull engineered to protect occupants from enemy attack.
"It looks like a modified, huge, heavy-duty Jeep," said Anthony Deluca, the Kandahar site lead for the MRAP program. "It's got very good suspension systems, and everyone raves about how well it functions in the field."
While some original MRAP vehicles may weigh nearly 60,000 lbs., the M-ATV weighs approximately 25,000 lbs. including standard equipment and fuel.
"We're trying to get the Soldier exactly what he needs to be successful in the battlefield," said Haggerty.
These initial eight vehicles will be used to train drivers and mechanics from units selected to receive M-ATVs.