Contemporary warfare has changed — and the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) military light tactical vehicles was developed to help modern military forces adjust to those changes. In this article, we’ll outline the history and specifications of the MRAP program, and explain why innovations such as blast-protecting MRAP seats aren’t just a “nice to have” added extra; they’re an essential life-saver to protect troops who willingly put their lives on the line to protect us.
MRAPs Protect Against New Kinds of Threat
The MRAP program wasn’t just innovation for innovation’s sake. As its name implies, the program was designed to deal with a specific threat to troop safety in new warzones: namely, the need to help defend military vehicles against mine ambushes. Light armored vehicles that were designed to be able to resist the devastating effects of landmines date back as far as the 1970s. However, it was the rise of usage of mines and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan that made them a necessity.
The MRAP program was a response from the U.S. government to the growing number of military casualties as a result of IED attacks. In Iraq, such attacks — often consisting of crude, but dangerous roadside bombs — accounted for almost two-thirds of military deaths from hostile actions. Of the total 3,092 troops killed in action in Iraq between March 2003 and September 2007, a massive 1,952 were as a result of IED attacks. In Afghanistan, 103 deaths out of 251 were as a result of IEDs; the equivalent of slightly under half of all deaths in the line of action.
The use of mines and other improvised explosives reflected a new era of asymmetric warfare, in which lesser trained “guerilla” fighters used tactics that avoided engaging directly with better trained, better armed troops. To protect themselves against the tactics of these insurgent fighters, the MRAP program sought to commission vehicles able to resist mine attacks that might severely damage or even destroy military light vehicles — and any troops that might be travelling onboard.
A New Type of Light Armored Vehicle
MRAP vehicles such as the International MaxxPro boasted several major upgrades over the light armored vehicles that troops had been using previously. Most notably, this included a V-shaped hull which helped deflect blasts outward and away from the crew. Such vehicles were also heavily armored to protect against direct fire and RPG rounds. Armoring was able to be customized depending on the specific mission requirements involved in its usage.
Prior to this, U.S. soldiers had been riding in flat-bottomed Humvees, unsuccessfully attempting to protect themselves from IED blasts by piling sandbags on the floor in an attempt to suppress the blast impact.
Both category 1 or category 2 MRAPs exist, with the difference relating to usage and passenger compartment space. However, the majority sold were category 1 MRAPs. These weighed between 14 and 18 tons, stood 9 feet tall, and cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Starting in 2007, approximately 9,000 units were manufactured and sold.
But it wasn’t just the vehicle itself that had to be designed to cope with new threats such as IEDs. New weapons to defend against also meant redesigning troop seats to make them better and safer for soldiers who put their lives on the line. Troop seats in this context were about far more than just comfort.
Even with new types of vehicular armoring available, soldiers travelling in armored vehicles still face risks from being exposed to damaging shockwaves in the event of an IED blast. Underbelly explosions caused by an IED produces a supersonic shockwave: sending dirt, rocks, and air crashing into the underside of military vehicles at extremely high velocity. Such shockwaves can cause immense damage, ranging from immediate spinal injuries and severe trauma to internal organs through to longer term damage such as permanent eye injuries and even severe neurological impacts.
Blast-Protecting MRAP Seats
To give troop seats the overhaul that they desperately required, Mobius Protection Systems has designed, developed and manufactured blast-protecting MRAP seats. Based on Mobius’ patented SPIRAL technology, these seats boast a lightweight, single element system granting them energy-absorbing capabilities should the vehicle in which they have been fitted be struck by a blast.
In this scenario, the highly ergonomic MRAP seats offer 360-degree protection that isolates and shields crew members from the vehicle’s body, attenuating the force of the explosion. Mobius’ SPIRAL tech has repeatedly achieved outstandingly low Dynamic Response Index (DRI) measures when tested, even during multi-hit assaults. This crucial measure is a determination of the likelihood of spinal damage arising from a vertical shock load in a military environment.
Mobius’ blast-protecting technology is one more crucial component in the arsenal of any modern versatile military force. Its versatility also means that the seats can be adjusted to the vehicle, rather than having to modify the vehicle in order for the seats to fit. Alongside MRAP vehicles, our MRAP seats can be fitted in Main Battle Tanks, Infantry Combat Vehicles, Armored Personnel Carriers, MPVs, Light Tactical Vehicles, and more.
The Versatility of MRAP Seats
The troop seats weigh between 17 to 22 kg, and can be installed via mountings using the wall, floor, or roof. There are also crew seats designed to fit a range of military job types and specifications, including commanders, gunners, drivers and troops that includes various adjustment functionalities required by the operator. Thanks to self-adjusting dynamic attenuation, they can be used to offer effective protection for everyone from the lightest 5th percentile female to a heavyset 95th percentile male.
If you want to know more about our MRAP seats or have any questions about how Mobius may be able to help you further increase the safety of military vehicles in your charge, make sure to contact us.