The U.S. Department of Defence has issued a US $35 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for 40 MaxxPro Dash DXM mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles for Pakistan.
The MRAP program is scheduled for completion by October 2018.
Powered by a 425 hp diesel engine, the MaxxPro Dash DXM is a variant of the MaxxPro Dash (with improved suspension), which was introduced in 2008-2009. The Dash DXM has a V-shaped hull designed for reflecting blasts from mines and improvised explosive devices (IED) away from its crew. The Dash DXM has a payload capacity of more than 4,500 kg.
Notes & Comments:
Pakistan has been using MRAPs as part of its ongoing counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pakistan had sought surplus MRAPs from U.S. stocks in Afghanistan under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) program. These efforts did not materialize (certainly not at the scale of America’s EDA transfer of 762 MaxxPro MRAPs to Egypt).
In September 2014, the U.S. approved a US $198 million sale for 160 Navistar MaxxPro MRAPs, at least some of which have been ordered and delivered to Pakistan. It is not clear if this recent order is part of that original framework or a follow-on order.
Besides Navistar, other vendors are also involved in supplying MRAP or MRAP-like vehicles to Pakistan. The Turkish auto-manufacturer BMC is believed to have sold Kirpi MRAPs to Pakistan. The Kirpi benefits from STANAG-4569 Level-3 protection against small arms fire and STANAG 4569 Level-3B for defensibility against mines and IEDs under the chassis.
The Pakistani vendor Blitzkrieg Defence Solutions is also developing the Hamza 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) with STANAG-4569L Level-4B protection for mine and IED blasts.
Apart from the defunct Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) Burraq program, Pakistan has not pursued the local production of 4×4 MRAPs analogous to the MaxxPro Dash or Kirpi. It is possible that the Army does not perceive of a long-term need for MRAPs, especially in numbers sufficient to offset the cost of domestic manufacturing. In fact, even the Hamza AFV – which has MRAP-like qualities in regards to blast protection – is being marketed as a general-purpose vehicle, one that can even be used to carry a 105-mm gun turret.