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Is BAE's RG-31 an MRAP?

1:29 PM, Jan 23, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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MRAPRG31.jpg

Okay, so this is a bit in the weeds, but as Roggio explained yesterday, this New York Times story falsely reported the "first fatality inflicted by a roadside bomb on an MRAP, the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle that the American military is counting on to reduce casualties from roadside bombs in Iraq."

There have been several U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in action while patrolling in MRAP vehicles. As early as late 2006, three U.S. military personnel were killed in a Force Protection MRAP in Iraq according to the company's vice president, Mike Aldrich, who I interviewed early last year. Also, as Badger 6 noted yesterday, he lost three of his own men in two separate incidents involving RG-31 MRAPs made by BAE Systems.

But now Badger 6 has posted an update that includes this non-apology apology to the New York Times:

We here at Badgers Forward always strive to be accurate. MNF-I apparently does not define the RG31 as an MRAP. Based on my training, education and usage of the vehicle I disagree and after reviewing the information I have been working on the folks at MNF-I at least agree that my categorization of the vehicle in that manner is accurate. The RG31 was sort of the grand-daddy of them all and the other vehicles have many design features of the RG.

Why is MNF-I insisting that the RG-31 is not an MRAP? I've seen the RG-31 at a number of exhibitions and the vehicle has always been described as an MRAP. And as you can see in the picture above, taken from BAE's website, the company does, without a doubt, consider the vehicle an MRAP. I've put a call in to a company rep to try and get to the bottom of this. But it's pretty clear that MNF-I and the New York Times are making a distinction here that will come as news to anyone who's been following this program or been involved in it, including the company that makes the vehicle.

The fact of the matter is that soldiers have died in MRAP vehicles in the past. This does not detract from the overall value of the MRAP program, but it does mean that the New York Times was incorrect to claim that this was some kind of first. If their source for the story was MNF-I...well, they got bad information, and they should print a correction.