In 2006, Marine Corps Systems Command initiated the MRAP Joint Program Office, which brought together U.S. Marines, Army, Navy, and special operations units to get the MRAPs fielded as fast as possible. The Department of Defense (DOD) joined the effort a year later.
The old Humvees had flat bottoms, much like standard commercial vehicles. This made them perfect targets for explosives. When a Humvee rolled over an IED, the force of the blast would hit the underside (that lay horizontal to the ground) at full strength.
MRAPs —instead of a conventional flat belly — have a V-shaped armor-plated hull specifically intended to deflect explosions up and away from the vehicle. Military sources claim this offers 10 times the protection. They also have a raised chassis that helps reduce fragmentation, blast overpressure, and acceleration of an IED explosion. Additionally, they can be fitted with extra layers of armor that can even protect against RPG rounds.
The are four MRAP categories (I, II, III and M-ATV). Category I is the smallest and works in urban combat scenarios and for casualty evacuation. Category II is for convoys and troops carriage, while Category III sweeps for mines and IEDs. The MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) is the most mobile of the bunch and was designed for use in extreme conditions.
According to Aeroweb, “Seven different vehicle designs have been purchased from five different contractors, including BAE Systems, Force Protection Industries (FPI), General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), NAVISTAR Defense, and Oshkosh Corporation.”