MRAP Vehicle Order: 1,000 Cougars to be Turned Loose
Small business qualifier Force Protection Industries, Inc. in Ladson, SC received a $481.4 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order (#0003) under previously-awarded contract #M67854-07-D-5031 for additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) vehicles. The order covers 1,000 of the firm’s Cougar vehicles: 300 of the 31,000 pound curb weight 4x4s in MRAP Category 1 (MRAP-MRUV), and 700 of the 38,000 pound curb weight 6-wheeled Cougars in MRAP Category 2 (MRAP-JERRV).
According to Force Protection, manufacturing will be performed by Force Protection in Ladson, SC and partners Spartan Chassis in Charlotte, MI (see May 11/07 release re: $107.6 million subcontracts); Armor Holdings in Sealy, TX – and by General Dynamics Land Systems in Lima, OH, under their 50/50 joint venture negotiated with Force Protection. See GD release re: their $245 million sub-contract. Kings Point, NC is also listed as a work location, and production is expected to be complete by May 2008. This contract was competitively procured, and Force Protection is one of 9 vendors authorized under MRAP. The Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA has issued a release that says that the order “resulted from FPII’s rapid delivery of test vehicles and successful verification of survivability and automotive performance.” The Cougars have successfully passed testing phase 1 (of 3), and testing of the various vehicle designs continues at Aberdeen.
The Marines in particular are pushing hard for MRAP blast-resistant vehicles, as part of a desired policy change that would require all vehicles operating “outside the wire” in MNF-W (Iraq, Anbar province) to have MRAP-level protection; up-armored Hummers would then require specific commander’s waivers. Fulfillment of this goal is where their expanded request for 3,700 vehicles comes from, as part of an MRAP program that has grown from the original 4,100 vehicle contract to 7,774 total vehicles for the US Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
Sen. Joe Biden’s [D-DE] amendment #739 to the pending FY 2007 Supplemental Appropriations Bill has played a prominent role in pushing expected MRAP procurement and delivery dates forward. Read his floor speech (MS Word format, though the vehicle he saw was a Buffalo, not a Rhino…).