The U.S. Defense Department announced an additional $625 million in security assistance headed to Ukraine as part of the 22nd round of presidential drawdown authority. The equipment in the new package is specifically tailored to what Ukraine needs in the short term, and Ukraine continues to use what has been provided by the United States to great effect, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Included in the latest package are 200 MaxxPro mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs). The International M1224 MaxxPro MRAP is an armored fighting vehicle designed by American company Navistar International’s subsidiary Navistar Defense along with the Israeli Plasan Sasa, who designed and manufactures the vehicle’s armor.
The vehicle was designed to take part in the US Military’s MRAP vehicle program, led by the US Marine Corps, as well as a similar US Army-led Medium Mine Protected Vehicle program. MRAPs are categorized as category 1 or category 2, depending on usage and passenger compartment space, and Navistar produces the MaxxPro in both sizes, although the vast majority of those sold have been category 1 MRAPs. The MaxxPro Plus model comes with dual rear wheels for increased load carrying capacity, such as an ambulance or EFP protected variant. The latest model produced is the MaxxPro Dash, which is a smaller and lighter category 1 model. Both the Plus and Dash models use the MaxxForce 10 engine with 375 hp, in place of the DT 530 with 330 hp, used in the original base model produced.
The M1224 MaxxPro base model uses a crew capsule with a V-shaped hull, mounted on an International 7000 chassis. The V-hull deflects the blast of a land mine or improvised explosive device (IED) away from the vehicle to protect its occupants. Because the chassis is mounted outside the armored crew capsule, there are concerns that it will likely be destroyed in the event of an ambush, leaving the soldiers inside stranded. However, according to Navistar Defense spokesperson Roy Wiley, the MaxxPro “did extremely well during the tests, and we are extremely pleased.” This design may prove as effective as the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann ATF Dingo that uses a similar design, one which mounts an armored capsule to a Unimog chassis. This design has survived a 7 kg (15 lb) land mine blast with no injuries.
The M1224 MaxxPro is designed with operational readiness in mind and uses standardized, easily available parts, to ensure rapid repair and maintenance. The armored body is bolted together instead of welded, as in other MRAPs. This facilitates repair in the field and is a contributing factor to Navistar’s greater production capacity for the MaxxPro. In 2010, the U.S. Army initiated a development effort to add electronic stability control (ESC), a computerized technology designed to improve vehicle stability, to the MaxxPro. The MaxxPro’s high ground clearance provides greater protection from underbody blasts, but also raises its center of gravity, causing rollovers in certain situations. The ESC combines road factors, vehicle data, and driver intent to automatically correct driving to ensure stability during maneuvers. Installation on MaxxPros began in late 2014 and is to be completed by late 2017, with other MRAPs planned to have ESC integrated onto them.