I'm a bit behind on this one, but I haven't seen anything in the blogosphere on USA Today's report that Army officials in Iraq have requested new armor be added on to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles, which have taken on rock star status in Washington.
The MRAPs V-shaped hulls protect soldiers from roadside bombs, but they can't defeat explosively formed projectiles. According to documents obtained by USA Today, U.S. officers in Iraq expect insurgents to start using a lot more EFPs when newly manufactured MRAPs start flowing into the war zone. It looks like the Army has already developed armor to defeat the EFPs, according to the newspaper report, which is excerpted below.
"Ricocheting hull fragments, equipment debris and the penetrating slugs themselves shred vulnerable vehicle occupants who are in their path," said the document, which asks for 3,400 sets of add-on armor. The Army has tested armor that appears to protect MRAPs from the explosives, said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, who confirmed the document's authenticity. Brogan leads Marine Corps Systems Command, the lead agency for the MRAP program. "How rapidly we can engineer that onto these vehicles is yet to be seen because it is significantly heavy," he said. EFPs are explosives capped by a metal disk. The blast turns the disk into a high-speed slug that can penetrate armor. The Army's solution, Brogan said, involves armor that can fracture the slug. Lt. Col. William Wiggins, an Army spokesman, declined to comment specifically on the armor but released a statement that said the Army is developing "effective countermeasures" against the bombs.
--Catherine MacRae Hockmuth