Attrition: Hurricane Katrina Armor Losses Continue


April 13, 2006: Shortly after the U.S. Army has ordered another 724 M117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles) last Summer, hurricane Katrina heavily damaged the two plants (in New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana) that made the vehicle. It took six months to finish repairing the facilities, and production has resumed. Full production, of 48 ASVs a month, won't be achieved until this Summer. The $690,000 ASVs were originally developed in the 1990s for use by Military Police (MPs) in combat zones. But only a few were bought, because it was found that for peacekeeping, existing armored vehicles were adequate, and that in the narrow streets of Balkan towns, the vehicle was too wide to be very maneuverable. Then came Iraq. There the ASW proved extremely popular with the MPs, and the army was pressured to buy more. Before Katrina hit, there were 130 ASVs in Iraq, out of 180 in service. The army wants lots more. The MPs originally wanted 2,000 ASVs, but before Iraq, were told they would be lucky to get a hundred. Now the MPs may end up with over a thousand.

The ASV is a 13 ton armored car that is built to handle the kind of crap terrorists are dealing out in Iraq. The ASVs are, unlike armored hummers, built from the ground up as an armored trucks. ASVs are 20 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, making them a bit larger than hummers. Usually, each ASV carries a .50 caliber machine-gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The ASV is heavy enough to survive most roadside bombs and keep going. The ASV is bullet, and RPG proof. The turret is the same one used on the U.S. Marine Corps LAV.


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