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Warrior-Mentor
10-13-2009, 09:37
Here's the story:

Mideast Stars and Stripes
October 13, 2009

ATV MRAPs Are Tested In Afghanistan

By Dianna Cahn, Stars and Stripes

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The new lighter all-terrain vehicle MRAPs gave them a thrill when officers on Sunday test-drove the first ones to arrive in the war zone, zipping up and down inclines that the larger more cumbersome predecessors struggle to navigate.

But the bomb-resistant M-ATV, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected ATV, is meeting with some skepticism.

It is designed with the same V-shaped hull that disperses the blast of a road-planted bomb, making “Thank God for the MRAP” a near-constant refrain among troops on the front lines. It answers the challenge of the clunkier MRAP that cannot navigate the more mountainous and off-road terrain of much of the Afghan battlefield.

But a senior counter improvised explosives device commander questioned whether the entire premise of the lighter vehicle mitigated some of its benefits because weight is part of what makes the MRAP so resistant to the bombs.

“It’s been tested back in the States,” said Lt. Col. Brennan Phillips, commander of Task Force Paladin East, which supports the 82nd Airborne in eastern Afghanistan to counter the explosives threat. “It’s untested on the battlefield.”

Still, the vehicle, which weighs at least 16 tons, is far more comfortable and has suspended seats and padding so soldiers’ feet don’t absorb the brunt of a buried bomb blast. The smaller M-ATV is not as alienating to the Afghan population as the hulking MRAPs now on the ground, an important element in a counterinsurgency war.

And it can maneuver.

“It makes me miss my Jeep back home,” said Maj. David Klahn, Paladin East executive officer, who test-drove the M-ATV.

The first batch of M-ATVs arrived in Afghanistan on Oct. 1. There are now seven at Bagram and more are on the way.

Anybody have on the ground experience with these?

What's the feedback?

Richard
10-13-2009, 10:04
Looks alike some kind of Infinity FX Crossover on steroids - info article from Popular Mechanics:

http://knol.google.com/k/mat%C3%ADas-portugau/m-atv-new-armored-ride/15vmv1qrxhgdc/27#

...which weighs at least 16 tons...

The M113 only weighed around 13 tons. :confused:

Richard

Prester John
01-03-2010, 12:23
I tooled around in one here a few weeks back...

As i see it, it offers NOTHING on the standard MRAP, which, frankly I already saw as a liability more than an asset. The newest permutation of this "miracle" vehicle is about the size of an F-350... on steroids, lifted on 46" tires, and not easily entranced or exited.

MRAPs force us to think in terms of roads as our only avenue of approach or conveyance. They simply aren't maneuverable or agile enough to negotiate off the roads here in Afghan farmland, much less drive up the spine of a ridge or finger and dominate the high ground. No matter how "light" you make an MRAP, it is still channelizing you into using roads... maybe smaller roads, but roads nonetheless.

The insurgent don't even have to work to blow up MRAPs anymore... they lay in IED's on MSR's months in advance and just wait for the right moment to tie-in and initiate. For the most part, CF don't dismount and check culverts and irregularities during their patrols because it's far too difficult to dismount every 40-100m to check for bombs, and if they simply dismount the entire movement (as many do at this point) the insurgents rig up effective AP directional devices in the vicinity of the MSR. The ATV-MRAP is MORE difficult to dismount from, and will encourage even less Situational Awareness on the part of the TC.

I'm not a fan, but I think the entire Army should be on ATV's and dirt bikes.

My $.02.

Utah Bob
01-03-2010, 18:29
Day late and a dollar short. Think of how many we could have sold to the Russians.

And the end result would have been the same. :rolleyes:

Guy
01-04-2010, 08:06
I'm not a fan, but I think the entire Army should be on ATV's and dirt bikes.Are you suggesting that we (taxpayer), close the company that manufacture these?:eek:

The horror of suggesting a change in TTPs would have politicians (especially those where these are made) up in arms!:D

Stay safe.

Prester John
01-04-2010, 09:32
I would assume there would be significant pork in supplying the entire Army with Polaris quads and KL650's... But nowhere near the multi-million dollar price tag of each of these MRAPs... It isn't pleasant to think of how many soldiers lives are put at risk by channelizing them on the road in MRAPs. Or, that by channelizing them you are only temporarily securing a VERY narrow band of highway, and allowing the insurgents free roam in all areas off the MSR.

Here's a hypothetical:

A group of soldiers uses dirt bikes and ATV's to effectively eliminate the IED threat by NEVER getting on a MSR. All the riders are licensed and trained in an Army approved motorcycle and off-road driving class with a 45 hour POI and extensive hands on training.

The likelihood of an IED strike on heavily Coalition used roads in their particular province is so high that everyone views it as a question of "when" not "if".

The IED's being implemented have been made larger and larger in order to effectively breach and/or roll any armored vehicle they hit. Even the lucky ones inside this MRAPs are suffering TBI's, broken legs and ankles, and minor/major spinal injuries.

The MRAP is certified by its manufacturer to mediate most IED blasts and represents an approved and "safe" transportation alternative to less armored but more tactically useful and effective conveyances. Choosing the MRAP's is a decision that can't blow back on command, but is daily proven to be a liability for soldiers and harms the general strategic impact of our forces on this ever changing battle front.

How would command react to an isolated, non-combat accident on a dirt bike by one of these soldiers?

And I guess the real question, from someone who freely admits he doesn't have a great grasp on what the overall strategic objectives are in Afghanistan, is: Are we genuinely interested in impacting this battle space and improving the security of the Indigenous people?

I know the concept of the MRAP was meant to protect soldiers, but the enemy has developed TTP's to transform it from a safe means of transportation into a coffin on wheels, shouldn't our strategies change just as quickly?

The Reaper
01-04-2010, 10:00
I have not heard too many of our soldiers praising the MRAPs.

As noted, they bind you to the roads and play into the enemies' TTPs.

It is a great vehicle for transporting troops, in a mine and IED heavy environment, on improved roads from A to B.

For fighting, hauling cargo, taking hits from anything other than mines and IEDs, or mobility on poor roads or cross-country, not so much.

Afghanistan is not Iraq. What works in one, is not necessarily a cookie-cutter solution for the other. If you limit yourself to moving and fighting on the roads in MRAPs, and I'll adjust my TTPs to bury you, just like the Russians and their road-bound armored columns. The enemy is not stupid, however much we may want to believe that he is, and MRAPs are not always the answer. For that matter, neither are the SRATs or GMVs.

TR

regular guy
01-06-2010, 07:50
Gentlemen,
My boys when out to AZ to do some product tests on the MRAP last year to find out if the bill is worth it. They said 'Well, it has a V shaped hull...'

jhilyard
10-26-2010, 00:09
We've been using these for about 5 months now and I hate them. The back windows are too small and for a short guy in full kit, getting in is like climbing a mountain. They're loud and make hearing things very difficult (even when dismounted and within 50ish m). There's a lot more to say about them but I feel it better to just say, most guys don't like them.

Pete
10-26-2010, 06:00
We've been using these for about 5 months now and I hate them. The back windows are too small and for a short guy in full kit, getting in is like climbing a mountain. They're loud and make hearing things very difficult (even when dismounted and within 50ish m). There's a lot more to say about them but I feel it better to just say, most guys don't like them.

jhilyard - This was your first post and there is nothing in your profile. Follow the instructions you were given when you signed up.

sefryak
10-26-2010, 19:39
In the race between protection and explosion they can always build a bigger bomb. GMVs are bad enough when you go off road in them; come Spring with warmer weather and rain, try crossing a field, or river. You had better be proficient at your recovery techniques. That's in vehicles that weigh 13k lbs depending on load out.
I had to laugh recently when I saw a report on the Army's proposed replacement for the HMMMV family; a lightweight vehicle weighing in at a paltry 20K lbs. :rolleyes:

MtnGoat
10-26-2010, 21:46
I work solely with MATVs last trip and I can say I love them. We did had GMVs and Up Armors too. But we solely rolled in our USMC MATVs. I would say; that if USASOC or USSOCOM picks these as are our new vehicle they need to add stuff to them. Make them SOF.

Oshkosk rep said, new DoD and US Army specs due to IED threats designed what is going into vehciles. So Army says no fuel cans on Vehciles now. So they don't have any place for them. SF being SF, we made racks for 4 Water and 4 Fuel Cans. Gun turret didn't come with Ammo Can holders too, so we added them.

The radio system we had was for the Harris PRC-152. They worked great, like the placement of the system. GMV sucks and MRAP are okay. Cover this later, great PRO.

We've been using these for about 5 months now and I hate them. The back windows are too small and for a short guy in full kit, getting in is like climbing a mountain. They're loud and make hearing things very difficult (even when dismounted and within 50ish m). There's a lot more to say about them but I feel it better to just say, most guys don't like them.

The rear window.. yes they are small. But with everything (Pro/Con) you have to position your guys where they are best seated. Height, gunning abilities, skills, eye sight, MOS, etc.

Fully kitted every Mine Resistant vehcile sucks. But IMO this is the best so far. Saw a guy without wearing Kit, but belted in with the MATVs full seat restraint system walk away nothing but bruises, and one broken clavicle after one IED. The seat restraint system sucks fully kitted and sucks getting into it. BUT is is easy to get out, takes some getting use to. But it works. Like most SF guys, at first it seems BS and Sucks. After Saw how to wear it and set it up to get out not just wear it. It worked for me.

Rear cargo area, USSOCOM (Oshkosk too) needs to fix this section. Nothing to really hold gear, no ties down points, straps, ETC. A lot of room, but SF is SF and we will add items to hold our stuff. U.S. Marines complained of this problem too.

No way of adding a side weapon system. That's one thing GMVs have one any Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehcile.

Changing a tire sucks, but I think any new vehicle this sucks. Tire might as well be on the top of the Damn thing. Too High, but again from what the Oshkosk rep said, new DoD and USA specs due to IED threats. USMC did change one out after a small IED blast. Yes it is mountain climbing.. new Anti IED design. We added new (more) steps to our MATV hard steps.

MATV needs a better tool kit, all I will say here.

Noise.. Yes MATVs are Loud. But trying to move 10 Tons takes a lot. Needs something done tho. Like noise reducers pipes on ATVs.

What I did like about them...

Blast protection... This is the best so far of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehcile.

I saw USMC in the helmand take what later was said to be a 300 lbs IED Blast (I say 100lbs based off crater size) with four PAX seated and one guy in the turret. The MATVs right side front tire was blown away. Vehicle didn't flip, gunner, after 2 to 3 mins rotated gun into direction of fire. 3 mins later USMC dimounted and Maneuver to place fire on Enemy. Everyone walked away and the MATV was back in the fight about 3 weeks later. After this I was like.. Holy SH*!, F*^# Me, yes that Kicks @s$!!

Room inside.........

Inside fully kitted seatting is good. Lay out is great and well thought out. Needs some USSOCOM input as far as what we like or carry and need inside.

Comm system......

Comms is the heat, Thats all I will say. Every new Vehcile needs this system. It does take some radios, but the Commander is in the know and we had very little issues with this system.

Talking to a Oshkosk Rep, a lot of changes have been made by people I feel that are not out there driving around the Battlespace. But overall I and my ODA liked these trucks. I would go to say we loved them. Oshkosk Reps said the US Amry has only the MRAP RG series no MATVs. We only had the USMC ones.

I know when we were told to only roll in MRAP Vehciles. We were already in the MATVs and turned down the MRAP RGs. They were sent, but we had the MATVs already. We had the RGs before (last Trip) and we just laugh at them now after using the MATVs.

One thing, USMCs had this nice truck for troop transport.. a 8 or 10 ton truck with what they called a Armadillo vehicle armor system/kit in the rear cargo area. Level 5 armored area.. just think.. just think... Yeah very nice!!

Peregrino
10-26-2010, 22:21
MG - A lot of changes coming down the pipe WRT vehicles/mobility. Next time you do PMT (FBTX), you'll see some of it. We're working on the rest (including the SF varient of the MATV) as fast as we can scrounge funding and authorizations. (I'm continually reminded of the British supply sergeant at Islandwana issuing ammo. Characature maybe, but too close to reality for comfort.)

MtnGoat
10-27-2010, 10:42
MG - A lot of changes coming down the pipe WRT vehicles/mobility. Next time you do PMT (FBTX), you'll see some of it. We're working on the rest (including the SF varient of the MATV) as fast as we can scrounge funding and authorizations. (I'm continually reminded of the British supply sergeant at Islandwana issuing ammo. Characature maybe, but too close to reality for comfort.)

I know of the cheanges and the "stuff" going on at FBTX. My Company WO is out there working there. But only thing I foresee with vehcile funding. Is if funds are like a BPA funding.. Vehciles will be like laptops, changing fast before the funding is there for what it was funded for. Funding forecast for this "vehcile", by the time we are funded under current plan. That design is out dated. But this could be a good thing if USSOCOM can get the newest vehcile. But the GMV is long over due for a replacement. So anything new in that variant size and speed will be great. I'm surprised no changes have happen yet with the GMV. I remember back in 2004 or 2005 of seeing three new variants for SF or SOF.

Peregrino
10-27-2010, 13:54
Sort of like mating elephants at the zoo. Cast of thousands, everybody watching, critiquing and/or offering suggestions, two "participants" doing all the work, and waiting (at least) two years to see the results. I wish a mechanism existed for the Regiment to see what the G8 is doing on our behalf. Unfortunately - as you pointed out - it'll all be OBE before ODAs ever get to use it. If DH is your (former) CWO thanks for giving him up. We think he'll be the perfect man for the mission.

MtnGoat
10-27-2010, 21:52
Sort of like mating elephants at the zoo. Cast of thousands, everybody watching, critiquing and/or offering suggestions, two "participants" doing all the work, and waiting (at least) two years to see the results. I wish a mechanism existed for the Regiment to see what the G8 is doing on our behalf. Unfortunately - as you pointed out - it'll all be OBE before ODAs ever get to use it.

The mating elephants at the zoo comment had me rolling. Yes everything is that way.. process (circle) of life I guess.

cavscouty
10-31-2010, 22:42
I have driven the M-ATV during my MRAP training here at my MOB site. As noted above, they are very loud on the outside. I think they are very easy to drive and they have some impressive power. I should be regularly riding them in theater here in a couple/few weeks and I'll try to update here then.

I have a feeling we are going to like them though, but, we'll see.

tcush
11-07-2010, 07:11
MtnGoat is spot on with what we've found regarding lack of attachment points/storage racks/etc. They could've atleast made the spare tire carrier swing away for easy access to the back. Trying to squeeze spools of c-wire around the spare sucks. And no interior ammo can tie downs. Who the hell wrote the specs on this thing?

The biggest issue I've found is the lack of headroom. I'm 6'2" and can't sit in the driver's seat with my NODs flipped up, and even without NODs, I'm constantly hitting the DVE screen when it's flipped up. Throw a MILES halo on, and turning your head becomes impossible because the comms switch box is so close it catches the sensor pods. Simply put, the interior is too cramped for the standard rifleman's loadout. Never mind the non-telescoping/tilting steering wheel; forget about squeezing in there with full saw pouches on the front of your IOTV.

Pros: Awesome offroad capabilities.

Cons: Poorly thought out interior and exterior features considering earlier vehicles (MRAP, HMMWV) already had many of these things figured out.