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Panda Hobby 1/35 M-ATV MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (Re-Issue) Kit

Panda Hobby 1/35 M-ATV MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (Re-Issue) Kit

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The M-ATV is a US military utility vehicle that was born out of necessity. Its name is an acronym of acronyms: M-ATV = MRAP- All-Terrain Vehicle and of course MRAP = Mine Resistant Ambush Protected. The M-ATV traces its roots back to the Willys MB General Purpose (GP is pronounced Jeep) four-wheel-drive vehicle which served the US military and its allies in all theaters during World War II and through the Korean War. During the 1950s the Jeep was replaced by the M38 which still looked like the old Jeep but had improved performance. By Vietnam, the M38 was phased out with the M151 Mutt which also bore a resemblance to the Jeep but offered still more capabilities than its predecessors.

By the 1980s, a new utility vehicle changed the image of the tactical utility vehicle forever. This new vehicle was the M998 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV pronounced Humvee). The Humvee and its improved variants would serve through the first and second Iraq wars, but this four-wheel-drive utility vehicle which could be sling-loaded under helicopters and negotiate through some of the toughest terrains finally ran into a new type of threat - the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). After the fall of Saddam Hussein, a growing insurgency planted bombs which devastated the Humvee and its crews with alarming frequency. Despite efforts from industry and improvised solutions in-theater to improve the armor protection of the Humvee, the insurgency would simply use bigger bombs. Another requirement was developed - the MRAP.

In a push that hadn't been seen since World War II, the US Department of Defense sought off-the-shelf solutions to provide much-needed protection for the warfighters in-theater, but these solutions need to be delivered in a VERY ambitious timeline. Contracts were issued to multiple US and international companies for adapted armored cars and riot vehicles, with the better solutions fitted with mission equipment and shipped overseas.

If you lived near Charleston AFB, you saw not only C-17 Globemaster IIIs but also An-124 Ruslans that were hired to help airlift MRAPs into the theater. With the MRAPs in Iraq, US military crews finally had adequate protection from IEDs. Even though many of these MRAPs were still destroyed by these IEDs, the crews usually escaped with minimal injuries against threats that were usually fatal in the Humvee. While the MRAPs are usable in the relatively flat terrain of Iraq, these top-heavy vehicles are not suited for the landscape of Afghanistan. The MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle requirement was born.

Unlike the MRAP contracts, the M-ATV was intended to be produced by a single company so that logistics (parts and maintenance) would be common across the fleet. Oshkosh Trucks won the contract and began a rather fast-paced production schedule. Despite being the size of a large truck, the M-ATV is a blend of four-wheel-drive mobility and armored protection. Like the Humvee, the M-ATV hood and other components are fiberglass composites. The armored cab can seat 4-5 crew in special shock-absorbing seats similar to the crash-resistant seats used in helicopters. These seats help absorb the severe blast shock that the vehicles experience next to a powerful IED explosion.

The underside of the vehicle is protected by an armored boat hull which deflects the blast wave out from under the vehicle instead of up through the cab. The armored cab and mission equipment make up the bulk of the weight which necessitates a 7.2 liter Caterpillar C7 diesel engine to move the vehicle around. The vehicle's independent suspension and four-wheel drive allow the M-ATV to get into the rough country of Afghanistan that can't be accessed by the MRAP. The M-ATV is in service will US forces alongside the MRAP and Humvee, but now crews have the protection and mobility they need to get the mission accomplished safely.

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