MRAP Shipments to Front Pass 5,200 in April 2008
On Dec 19/07, the US Defense Department announced that they expected to reach their goal of 1,500 blast-resistant MRAP vehicles delivered into theater, reaching 1,525 by year’s end. Most initial deliveries were handled by C-17, C-5, and even leased Russian AN-124 aircraft, but the far greater capacity of sealift began to tip the balance as manufacturing capacity and deliveries ramped up.
The ancillary equipment installers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command center at Charleston, SC had been a bottleneck in the process for a while, but improvements in their workflow have eased that situation.
Exactly how much progress has been made on all fronts can be measured by the fact that as of April 9/08, over 5,200 MRAP vehicles have been delivered to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. Deliveries by sea began outsripping deliveries by air in March 2008. By the end of June 2008 all future MRAP vehicles being shipped by sea. Sealift’s huge increase in capacity comes at the expense of speed, but the number of vehicles already available in theater has reduced the urgency of adding the 3-8 vehicles that an expensive airlifter trip can carry. This will free up the USA’s overworked air transport fleet for other uses.