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Sharing The Weight
by James Dunnigan
August 17, 2010

The U.S. will provide NATO ally Romania with 60 MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles for use in Afghanistan. The MaxxPro Dash was designed for use in Afghanistan, thus they are lighter (14 tons), shorter and have the engine and drive train tweaked to provide more power. Thousands of MaxxPro Dash models are headed for Afghanistan. Like most MRAPs, MaxxPro Dash cost about a million dollars each, fully equipped and delivered to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the United States is putting more MRAP vehicles (per thousand soldiers) in Afghanistan, than it had in Iraq. But many (about 600 so far) of these MRAPs will be sold, or loaned, to NATO allies, as with the recent loan of 60 MRAPs to Romania.

Nearly all the combat forces in Iraq were American, so U.S. troops got most of the MRAPs. But in Afghanistan, a third of the 148,000 foreign troops are NATO. As the U.S. puts more troops into Afghanistan, that will go down to 30 or 25 percent for NATO, but there will still be a lot of allied troops lacking MRAPs (usually because they can't afford them). So the U.S. is stepping up to provide protection. Some Afghan Army units will also get them, especially those Afghan troops operating with foreign troops (who are the primary target for the bombs and mines.) Ultimately, nearly as many MRAPs will be in Afghanistan as were in Iraq.

 For over a year now, the U.S. has been shifting its MRAP vehicle deliveries from Iraq (where nearly 10,000 were delivered) to Afghanistan (where several thousand have been flown in so far). In the face of increasing Taliban use of roadside bombs, MRAPs are seen as a way to keep U.S. and NATO casualties down. Some MRAPs originally headed for Iraq, are being diverted to Afghanistan. The main delivery limitation is the need to fly the MRAPs in, and that requires a large aircraft (C-17, C-5 or leased Russian equivalents.)



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