4:29 PM, Jan 26, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
We've been beating up the New York Times a bit over their report earlier this week of the first death of a U.S. soldier in an MRAP, the heavily-armored vehicles that offer increased protection against IEDs. See here, here, and here for background, but the problem with the Times report is that several soldiers had been killed, prior to this incident, in BAE's RG-31 MRAP and also in Force Protection's Buffalo MRAP.
The apparent contradiction stems from the fact that MNF-I, the source for the story, now claims that the BAE RG-31 is not an MRAP, causing considerable confusion here and at BAE, which clearly labels the truck as an MRAP on its website (requests for information from the company provided no further explanation). Stars & Stripes attempts to clarify:
So anyone killed in an "old" version of MRAP, i.e. those delivered before June of last year, is not being counted by MNF-I? This seems like a pretty arbitrary distinction. I am told that later models of the RG-31 do have thicker side armor to provide greater protection, but apparently MNF-I does not consider any version of RG-31 to be an MRAP (see Update:x2 here).
Now a friend sends along this tidbit:
And of course, when the Army reports to Congress on the status of the high-profile program, it does include all MRAP vehicles in its tally. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren told Congress in November that "by the end of April 2008, we project that we will have fielded almost 4,100 MRAPs." It's all very confusing.