Sunday, November 14, 2010

Picture Of The Day - 14 NOV 2010 "MRAPs"

14 NOV 2010 - MRAPs
I post this photo mainly because I like the colors, composition and moon in the day sky. However, I can add a little this morning and give some factoids about MRAPs (AKA Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles). MRAPs are not a single vehicle type, like the HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles) of old. MRAPS come in many shapes and sizes, from the sexy looking M-ATV, ostensibly created to maneuver through Afghanistan's smaller bridges and roads, to the gargantuan Buffalo for engineering / IED operations. But one thing is for sure, the MRAP is certainly saving lives. In my opinion, and limited experience, I don't think that we are seeing as many of the horrific injuries that our troops suffered in Iraq while in HMMWVs (up-armored or not). 

As I understand it, Defense Secretary Gates was the driving force behind getting MRAPs deployed into Iraq and Afghanistan. And when I arrived in January, 2010 the MRAP numbers were growing rapidly. Of course, there was a huge reason behind the need to deploy these vehicles. From the Center for Strategic and International Study:

IED attacks have continued to increase, both in terms of WIA and KIA. The updated data shows this increase through September 2010. The data show a dramatic increase in both KIA and WIA beginning in mid-2009 and continuing steadily throughout 2010, corresponding with increased frequency of overall attacks in Afghanistan in response to the troop surge.
Soldiers wounded in IED attacks reached its peak in September 2010, with 388 wounded, as compared to 179 wounded in September 2009, and 18 wounded in September 2008. US soldier casualties from IED attacks reached their peak in July 2010, with 41 soldiers killed in that month.
A total of 539 US soldiers have been killed in action, and 4,845 wounded in action, from IEDs in Afghanistan over the past 9 years.

Unfortunately, no matter what the vehicle, the bad guys can build explosives effective enough to wound or kill. Therefore, ultimately, the best plan is to disallow the enemy the ability to deploy IED's at all. The next 12 months will be the most telling of all.