"...the funding delay negatively impacts our forces in the field by needlessly delaying the accelerated fielding of new force protection capabilities such as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and counter-IED technologies developed and acquired by the Join IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). Finally, the ongoing delay resulted in the depletion of funds necessary to accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces." - Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, May 10th letter to Congress.
"...As long as they're on the front lines, I will vote for the money to equip and protect them. That money must include funding for the additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles - the MRAPs - that I put into the emergency spending bill. Road side bombs are responsible for seventy percent of our casualties in Iraq. These MRAPS - with their V-shaped hulls -- offer four to five time the protection of the most heavily armored Humvees. They can cut casualties by two-thirds.
Our military wants them. Our soldiers need them. Defense Secretary Gates just said MRAPs are "the highest priority acquisition program... Any and all options to accelerate the production and fielding of this capability... should be identified, assessed and applied..." The Secretary is right. It would be unconscionable not to get as many MRAPS as possible into the field as fast as possible." - Senator Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Candidate
Since the hold up of funds from Congress is holding up the purchase of a few thousand of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, I thought I'd share two clips of the vehicles in action. First, is some B-roll of the vehicles used by the U.S. Marine Corps for ordinance disposal. Scenes include the vehicles being driven down dirt roads, Marines working on the vehicles and shots of the interior of the vehicles. There are about 130 in use in Multi-National Force-West and about 2,800 are needed (for the West sector) - 6700 more need to be produced. Produced by Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson.
Previously, we discussed another MRAP, the Buffalo here at this link. Here is amateur video taken by the crew of a Buffalo (MRAP) of the 612th Engineer Battalion (Ohio) in Baghdad taking a hit from an IED on August 21st, 2005.
The Buffalo lost a tire and had some minor damage to it's hull. The crew were fine and one IED was destroyed.
And, Noah Shachtman, Mark Durham, and Sharon Weinberger at Wired's Danger Room have informative posts about the MRAP.
So, thirty-something votes, over 105 days, and no funding...thank you, leaders of Congress!