The Pentagon’s $600,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) do not save more lives than cheaper alternatives and therefore are a huge waste of money, according to a study by Chris Rohlfs and Ryan Sullivan of Foreign Affairs.Last summer Pentagon claimed that the $45 billion program to design, manufacture, and deploy 27,000 heavily protected vehicles into Iraq and Afghanistan had saved the lives of 40,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But a study by Rohlfs and Sullivan – using For Official Use Only Pentagon data – found that the heavily-armoured MRAPs were no better at saving lives than Humvees with “medium” amounts of armour plating and mine protection.
One life was saved for every seven up-armoured Humvees purchased.
MRAPs cost $600,000 each while up-armoured Humvees cost $170,000.
Furthermore some units have been reluctant to use the heavier vehicles because they knock down power lines, struggle on dirt and mud roads, and scare locals.
From Foreign Policy:
“Accordingly, the purchase of MRAPs should be restricted to the relatively few units that are involved in intense combat, if at all… it does not make sense for the defence Department to purchase MRAPs in large numbers.”
But that’s precisely what the defence Department has been doing as it purchased another 5,244 MRAPs in 2009 despite the fact that “thousands of first-generation MRAPs now sit in southwest Asia and are not part of the Army’s documented force structure” because of drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Furthering the waste, Tamir Eshel of defence Update reports that in Afghanistan “the Army plans to scrap some of the vehicles, and could leave behind about 60 per cent of the 21,000 MRAPs, to be stored in prepositioned stockpiles prepared for future contingency or sold to local military forces.”
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