Vice President Joe Biden joined Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for a ceremony on Monday at the Pentagon marking the end of production of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, also known as MRAP.
The MRAP was originally rushed into production in 2007 as a better defense against roadside bombs than the up-armored Humvee.
There are seven MRAP variants, and nearly 28,000 of the vehicles were produced over the past five years, with 24,059 fielded to Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 13,000 of the vehicles remain in use in Afghanistan.
Congress authorized $23 billion between 2008 and 2010 to speed up manufacturing so that 1,000 vehicles could be built per month. The cost of the program through 2012 is $47.4 billion.
Each vehicle costs anywhere from $535,000 to $586,000, but with the additional electronics and armor that military commanders requested, the price tag reached about $1.2 million per vehicle.
Biden noted the speed of MRAP production and fielding since 2007 was the result of a joint effort involving defense, industry and Congress. During that effort, the members of “team MRAP,” he said, showed “remarkable leadership.”
“[It’s] not easy to push something this big through this system this fast,” he said.
Carter, who also spoke at today’s ceremony, noted that at peak production more than 1,000 MRAPs – each weighing between 26,000 and 56,000 pounds – arrived in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Carter said the transition formalized today, which sees the MRAP move from production status to a program of record for the military services and U.S. Special Operations Command, marks a strategic turn.
“The era of total focus on Iraq and Afghanistan – which had to be done – is coming to an end, and a new strategic era is dawning,” Carter said.