MRAP vehicle

The US military is set to transfer 20 repurposed, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) to the African Union mission in Somalia.

The deliveries from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), which will take place over the next two months, will help the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) neutralise violent extremist organisations in the country.

Donated under the excess defence articles programme, the vehicles have been used for US military missions in Afghanistan and extensively refurbished by Mantech field service representatives (FSRs) under a contract with the US Marine Corps Systems Command International Programs Office.

CJTF-HOA commander major general Wayne Grigsby said: "These vehicles will provide better security and movement to the troop’s contributing countries to complete their mission more effectively."

CJTF-HOA J4 Somalia Planner US Army major Myesha DuBose said: "The MRAPS will provide enhanced capabilities to our partnerships, with increased security."

The MRAPs will eventually replace the 20 Casspir landmine-protected infantry mobility vehicles currently used by Uganda and Burundi.

DuBose added that the MRAP refurbishment was a complex process, with several repairs through a controlled substitution plan.

As part of the vehicles donation agreement, the Uganda and Burundi elements of the AMISOM are receiving drivers and maintenance training from ManTech FSRs.

"The MRAPS will provide enhanced capabilities to our partnerships."

ManTech will continue to maintain the vehicles for a year, which will ensure necessary repairs are completed and extend the service life of the vehicles.

AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission focused on supporting transitional governmental structures and a national security plan.

In addition, it includes training for Somali security forces and assistance in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid in the country.

The mission also supports Somali forces in their fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

Image: MRAPs will be donated to the African Union Mission to Somalia. Photo: courtesy US Army.