ARLINGTON, Va. — The Defense Department has allocated 1,200 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles to the Army.

Known as MRAPs, the vehicles are larger than Humvees and have proven to hold up much better against roadside bombs.

The Marine Corps is in charge of ordering the vehicles for all branches of the service, said Bill Johnson-Miles, a spokesman for Marine Corps Systems Command.

So far, the Corps has ordered 3,374 MRAPs, of which the Army is now slated to get 1,200 vehicles, Johnson-Miles said.

But the Army has given the joint MRAP effort enough money for only 900 MRAPs, he said.

The Army plans to give the Corps the extra money for the remaining 300 vehicles, an Army spokesman, who declined to be identified, said Thursday.

“The Army funding additionally supports contractor logistics support, facilities, procurement of government furnished equipment, and other support cost for these vehicles,” the spokesman said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The Army’s 1,200 MRAPs are expected to be manufactured by February 2008, Johnson-Miles said. After they leave the factory, they will get add-on features, such as jammers and communications gear, before being sent to soldiers downrange.

There is not yet a timeline for when the MRAPs will be fielded to soldiers in Iraq, but the MRAPs will be delivered as soon as they are ready, Johnson-Miles said.

The Joint Requirements Oversight Council has approved 3,700 MRAPs for the Corps and another 2,500 for the Army, he said.

But the Army has received a request from Multi-National Corps-Iraq for 17,700 MRAPs, according to a memo from acting Army Secretary Pete Geren to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “In response, the Army is analyzing theater numeric requirements to determine the most accurate quantity of MRAP vehicles needed based on mission sets, terrain, and threat,” said Geren in the memo, obtained by Stars and Stripes.

An Army team has returned from the U.S. Central Command theater of operations to determine the Army’s theater needs for MRAPs, the Army spokesman said.

The Army expects that 9,996 MRAPS could be produced by October 2008 and 17,770 MRAPs by July 2009, the Geren memo says.

However, it took the Army more than three years to field roughly the same number of up-armored Humvees in Iraq. When the Iraq war began, the Army had about 400 up-armored Humvees, and it took until late 2006 to get close to 18,000 of the vehicles in theater, the Army spokesman said Thursday.

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