By American Forces Press ServiceOctober 26, 2009
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Oct. 23, 2009) -- The first mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles designated for southern Afghanistan arrived here, Oct. 22 by air transport.
After months of government testing, the Defense Department awarded a contract in June to Oshkosh Corp. to supply an initial order valued at $1.05 billion for more than 2,000 of the vehicles, known as 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," Haggerty said.
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 mine-resistant, ambush-protected, or 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 pounds, the M-ATV weighs about 25,000 pounds, including standard equipment and fuel.
"We're trying to get the soldier exactly what he needs to be successful in the battlefield," Haggerty said.
The initial eight vehicles will be used to train drivers and mechanics with units selected to receive M-ATVs.