Pentagon to fly armored vehicles to Iraq: report

The Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $750 million to urgently airlift needed armored vehicles to U.S. troops facing roadside bombs in Iraq, USA TODAY reported in its Wednesday editions.

Pentagon to fly armored vehicles to Iraq: report
The emergency funding request would allow the military to fly many of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, directly to troops rather than send them by ship, which takes weeks, the newspaper said.

USA TODAY quoted an Air Force spokesman as saying the flight would take 13 hours to reach Iraq.

The transportation money is part of an emergency request for $5.4 billion for the Pentagon's MRAP program for the fiscal year beginning in October. Congress must appropriate the money, the newspaper said.

All told, the military seeks about $12 billion through 2008 for about 8,000 vehicles, whose raised chassis and V-shaped hulls protect troops against roadside bombs, the newspaper said.

The vehicles are one of the Pentagon's top acquisition priorities. The Defense Department's objective is to acquire as many vehicles as can be produced.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also asked Congress last month to redirect $1.2 billion of the Pentagon's 2007 budget to buy MRAPs.

Defense officials hope to deliver about 3,400 vehicles to commanders in Iraq by the end of December

USA TODAY said the Pentagon's emergency request would fund the delivery of the vehicles as quickly as they are produced. The vehicles would be flown from an Air Force base in Charleston, South Carolina, after being outfitted with electronics.

The military's Transportation Command estimates that it costs $135,000 to send an MRAP by plane compared with $18,000 by ship. An Air Force C-17 transport plane can carry as many as three MRAP vehicles, the newspaper said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ağustos 2007, 16:19