Oct 11 2007

Graham Visits SPAWAR, Discusses MRAP Vehicles

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today visited the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center, Charleston and discussed the role the facility is playing in the outfitting of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) for the military.


Graham noted that every MRAP heading to Iraq comes through SPAWAR before being transported overseas.  The vehicles are delivered to SPAWAR where engineers and technicians outfit the armored vehicle with the appropriate jamming devices and communications gear.  The MRAP vehicles have proven to be very effective at saving American lives from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ambush attacks.


“Our state has made many important contributions to the war effort, but one of the most valuable is occurring daily at SPAWAR,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  “We should all be proud of them and thankful for their contributions to the war effort.”


Graham has long been a supporter of the MRAP vehicles and in the early days of the Iraq war went head-to-head with the Pentagon over $4.5 million in funding to pay for a prototype vehicle.  At the time, the Pentagon favored a program to ‘up-armor’ the Humvee to guard against IED and ambush attacks.  Graham prevailed and the funding was secured which allowed a South Carolina company, Force Protection of Ladson (then known as Technical Solutions), to continue working on the prototype.


“The funding secured in 2005 was a turning point in terms of bringing awareness to IED protection in Congress,” said Graham.  “Without direct Congressional involvement, we would be years behind in developing and deploying MRAPs.  It enabled the industry to prove the capability of their product.  Now we have multiple companies competing for contracts and commitments from the Department of Defense to purchase thousands of these life-saving vehicles.”


South Carolina companies were among the first to produce these important and life-saving vehicles,” said Graham.  “This is another example of how our state has been and continues to be on the tip of the spear for the United States military’s fight against terrorism.”