Navistar Pitches New Uses for Old MRAPs

Navistar Pitches New Uses for Old MRAPs

Navistar International Corp. says bomb-resistant trucks it built for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could soldier on with new communications gear and power upgrades.

The U.S. military, mostly the Army and Marine Corps, spent more than $45 billion during the past decade on so-called Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known in military parlance as MRAPs, to shield troops from deadly roadside bombs. Now, with the Afghanistan conflict coming to an end, the Army is trying to figure out what to do with the hulking trucks.

The Army bought some 27,000 of the vehicles, including about 9,000 MaxxPros made by Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar’s defense unit. The service only plans to keep about 3,000 of the latter, according to John Akalaonu, a senior program manager for the company. The vehicles, many of which were used as troop carriers and ambulances, can be upgraded to become mobile command posts or power generators, he said. One such truck was on display at the Association for the United States Army conference this week in Washington, D.C.


“We’re trying to show them what that vehicle is capable of,” Bob Walsh, vice president and general manager of Navistar Defense, said during an interview at the show. “We see a highly maneuverable, highly armored platform.”

Faced with declining budgets, the Army won’t be able to afford everything it wants, Walsh said. But with fewer dollars, it might be able to upgrade existing weapons or equipment to get a solution that’s good enough, he said.

“Take a pause,” he said. “While you’re looking at all these future requirements, what are you doing with this existing fleet that you have?”

The vehicle on display was designed as a mobile command post, known as Mission Command on the Move, or MCOTM. It featured an assortment of monitors, computers and antennae mounted in the back for communications and surveillance. The truck was also outfitted with an on-board vehicle power system, a transmission-integrated generator that produces as many as 120 kilowatts of exportable power, according to Akalaonu.

“With this, you eliminate the  need to tow a trailer,” he said. “You reduce your vehicle footprint.”

The truck is scheduled to undergo testing at the Army’s semi-annual battlefield network tests, known as the Network Integration Evaluations, or NIEs, in February at Fort Bliss, Texas, Akalaonu said.

Many of the MRAPs the military doesn’t plan to keep are being given to allies, sold for scrap or transferred to law enforcement agencies in the U.S., company officials said. Even Ohio State University’s public safety department plans to receive one of the hand-me-down war trucks, they said.

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“Many of the MRAPs the military doesn’t plan to keep are being given to allies, sold for scrap or transferred to law enforcement agencies in the U.S., company officials said.”

The only thing you can do is laugh. It’s a total joke.

The police department in sleepy little Keene, New Hampshire ended up with a hulking Bearcat armored vehicle thanks to one of Uncle Sugar’s programs to push military gear to civilian police agencies. This in a city with a crime rate way below the national average.

I looked it up and there was a twelve-year period in which Keene had a grand total of three murders. Not three murders a year. Three murders in twelve years. Or 0.25 murders/year. Your risk of death in Keene from criminal activity is probably roughly equal to having a rusting Revolutionary War monument fall over on you. Not exactly a hotbed of terrorism or drug dealing.

In Chicago, there have been 20-minute intervals where there are more homicides than that. Yet the Keene police think they need an armored vehicle to deal with their massive crime wave.

I read a piece earlier this week where a similarly quiet little burg just obtained a surplus MRAP from the Pentagon. The local cops said, and I’m not making this up, maybe they might need to respond to an incident where someone has a knife. _A knife._ Driving their MRAP to the scene. Because you can’t be too careful. The mind boggles.

Radley Balko would have an aneurysm.

That said, old MRAPs will probably go to FEMA (“mobile command post!”), DHS, border patrol, and yes, municipalities. Even if MRAP production shuts down, as long as vendors can acquire support contracts, you can live somewhat off of that for a while while planning your next product.

Well written and spot on. Further it all fosters, I think, a continuing “militarization” of local police forces into quasi military units. A perfect example of the “Law of Unintended Consequences”

Another example of excessive, bloated budgets that allows the military to order billions of dollars in equipment and then scrap or give away most of it while many of the trucks still haven’t got dirt on the tires. $45 billion in trucks!!! This is a prime example of why all government budgets can be cut in half and nothing would be affected. Simply cut every budget and program in half and force better management of what is procured and how it is used. This is why the Sequester is actually a good thing, forcing all government agencies to cut back their excesses.

At the very least, these trucks should be parked somewhere and be available for the next mission in which they will be needed. Instead, the Military-Industrial complex would rather throw the stuff away so they can fleece the taxpayers out of their hard earned tax dollars for their next multi-billion dollar procurement program.

Please bring them home — that would mean they will eventually end up in the hands of MVPA collectors. SWEET !!!

Sell them to the public. A lot of folks in rural areas could use them. And the Army would get some cash. Put a statement in the purchase contract that the military can buy the vehicle back at some reasonably discounted price if future DECLARED wars required them.

Also, it would be nice you could cite your source on the “knife” story.

Mabe I could get one for 1 cent. The Navy just got rid of an aircraft carrier for a penny.

>Tell me what the crime rate was in Sandy Hook… Or any other little tiny town where single dude with a rifle can shoot a group of people and then ambush anyone who wants to come to their rescue.

And you need a mraps for that? Really?

I guess that you missed the part where low probability /= impossible. As someone who grow in a fairly quiet mid-sized city, I know what it look like. In a city where there might be something like 5 homeless, we were given milk cartoon at elementary school as we were brainwashed about those kids who can’t have a breakfast and how it could jeopardize their scholarship. As true as it might be, these very kids were left without much help; there are generally in bigger city. Wait, what? Obesity is a much bigger problem yet we were brainwashed about eating our breakfast. Back to topics now…

That’s a waste of resource, that’s what it is. There are very good reasons why those small town did not had such equipment in the first place; they don’t need it. What’s the threat here? Shaped dry-ice improvised devices? Send one to Los angeles airport ASAP. LOL

That’s amazing how a manufacturer can scramble to find a use for its short-sighted product. Don’t get me wrong, mrap is everything except a failure, it’s just that some lessons have yet to be learned from Viet-Nam. Spend now and pay later, that’s what you get: solve a part of the problem now and solve the rest later.

Not to mention that many of the police departments receiving MRAPs (largely for free with minimal yearly maintenance costs) do not have any special crowd control equipment of their own. An MRAP works very effectively in a situation such as the WTO riots in Seattle to deploy non-lethal means to effectively disperse rioters while protecting the police officers. A police force with unprotected patrol cars is very quickly forced to either resort to deadly force or allow the riots to continue.

“Minimal yearly maintenance costs”??? Really? Care to cite a source for that?

You really think every little town has mechanics who are familiar with all-wheel independent active suspensions, central tire inflation systems, and military vetronics? And that those specialty parts never need to be repaired or replaced?

Only a wealthy collector could afford to own and operate one. It would be like giving out yachts to poor fishermen… it sounds like a great idea, but they could never afford to maintain them.

Radley Balko makes the case that getting military hardware and seed money puts police departments in a fiscal bind that they try to mitigate with asset forfeiture. Sounds nasty.…

Spent now and pay forever is the current US Motto!, but spent it is. Having spent the money and having in inventory the vehicle that someone has determined is surplus, is the predicament. Having some experience in emergency response here on the gulf coast, this vehicle is able to move where most Toyota Carollas fear to tred. Moving thru debris strewn streets and towns and hauling an internal electrical power generator can be a God Send to any emergency response that has to deal with our common natural disasters of toronados and hurricanes.. and an occaisional fertilizer plant explosion, etc. High mobility, internal electrical power and …free?, after I as a taxpayer have paid the tab; surely you jest? Come on MRAPS! :)

How much do you think they get driven? So, besides starting them periodically, yes, virtually no maintenance. I know a Border Patrol agent who’s regional office received 2. Less than 100 miles a year. As for the rest, the MRAPs being given out don’t have active suspensions let alone independent ones (one of the reasons they are excess). And in cases like the TAK-4 equipped MRAPs, they are widely used in fire engines, oil field equipment, and other specialty vehicles as well as the fact they they military will continue to use them as well. So yes, compared to a cruiser which drives hundreds of thousands of miles a year, low cost.

listen to the general and spend money you do not have

Just need to maintain a service yard in Afganistan or Iraq store all the vehicles for use in future conflicts. Sell some to Allies for a profit until we find a alternative use for them.

In favor of moving stuff to the Panjshir Valley and paying the Tajiks to guard it for us.

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