New suspension systems added to MRAPs, increase comfort and handling

11 Mar 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

An independent suspension system was recently added to two vehicles in I Marine Expeditionary Headquarters Group’s fleet of vehicles, increasing terrain navigability and vehicle reliability.

The ISS increases Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected vehicles reliability and improves rough-terrain navigation.

With continued operations in Afghanistan came the need for a better suspension system for the MRAP.  Road transportation is difficult in Afghanistan, as most paths or modest highways are no more than unpaved roads and dirt trails. The addition of the ISS brings more transportation capabilities and increased comfort.

“It handles better, feels better and is easier to control,” said Master Sgt. Paul Jones, motor transportation chief with I MHG. “It’s better because it can sustain more weight and is capable of taking IED (improvised explosive device) hits and still perform.”

The upgraded suspension provides a better platform for the MRAP. It absorbs the rough terrain better than the straight-axle suspension currently in the other six MRAPs here.

Another added feature of the ISS is the remote inflation and deflation system. A driver can lower or increase tire pressure depending on the surface of terrain they are driving on, increasing maneuverability.

“The maneuverability and handling it gives the operator establishes more confidence in the vehicle,” Jones said. “It doesn’t feel like it will tip over on rough roads.”

With these added features comes added training to the schedule. Just like any other vehicle in their fleet, motor transportation operators must receive a certain amount of behind-the-wheel training to be qualified to drive it.

Fortunately, they only need 50 refresher miles to be completely up to date with the new suspension, said Cpl. Joshua Jones, licensing noncommissioned officer at MHG motor transportation.

The new addition to motor transportation’s fleet is significant for the unit. They are now capable of training the Marines here with the tools used forward so there is no training delay once in theater.

“The MRAP is an awesome vehicle,” said Cpl. Jones. “I feel you are most protected in it. The only down fall was the rough ride.”