The ambulances will be a modified version of Navistar's mine-resistant, ambush-protected trucks MaxxPro, or MRAPs, already used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. The heavily armored trucks are designed to withstand blasts from roadside land mines, the leading cause of U.S. casualties in the Middle East conflicts. The ambulances will be outfitted with an independent suspension system to make them maneuverable in Afghanistan's rugged, mountainous terrain.
"Survivability and mobility continue to be key capabilities" for military trucks, said Archie Massicotte, president of Navistar Defense, in a written statement. "Medics face the same threats on the battlefield and we're proud to provide them with a vehicle that offers both MRAP protection and...off-road mobility."
The MRAP ambulances feature a litter-assist system to allow medics to easily move stretcher-bound patients into the vehicles. The ambulances will be assembled at Navistar's West Point, Miss., plant and the order is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Illinois-based Navistar has built more than 8,000 of the armored trucks for the U.S. military since 2007. The company expects sales of military trucks, parts and service to total about $2 billion this year.