The newest version of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV, is currently being upgraded, refurbished and up-armored for both the Marine Corps and Air Force at Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, on the Yermo Annex of Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California. The artisans hard at work building the new machine have dubbed it “the Humvee on Steroids”, among other intimidating nicknames.
Kenny Phillips, a Barstow native, is the production superintendent for the M-ATV line at the production plant. “(The M-ATV) is really the replacement for the Humvee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) because the Humvee is thin layer sheet metal and didn’t do enough to protect the Marines,” Phillips explained.
“It is a Fast Tactical Assault Vehicle to get men in for certain missions and is the preferred means of troop transport,” he continued.
Phillips also noted the repair cost of each vehicle is about $385,000. The Oshkosh Corporation lists the cost of a brand new M-ATV, depending on the model, at around $400,000 to $1 million.
Variants are being made for both the Air Force and the Marine Corps. The biggest difference between the two is the turret on top of the vehicle. “The machine gun in the turret is operated directly by a Marine from on top,” he explained. “The Air Force has a CROW type turret. That stands for Crew Remote Operated Weapon system where the machine gun on top can be operated from inside the cab of the M-ATV.”
“(The foam) is a crumple zone so it absorbs a lot of the impact versus a solid plate of steel, which gives us three layers of protection,” Contreras said.
Daniel Contreras, a native of Barstow, and a former Marine, has worked at PPB for 11 years as a heavy mobile equipment mechanic. He pointed out the heavy metal armor has three layers: The original plating which is covered by a much heavier and wider second layer of steel, which is then overlaid with dense foam.
The mountainous terrain in Afghanistan makes it unsuitable for not only the wide M1 Abrams tanks, but the previous generation of MRAP vehicles as well. For the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, the new M-ATVs are essential for keeping servicemen better protected.