This is coolbert:
From a previous blog entry of mine:
"With regard to # 2, these are primarily the MRAP vehicles. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle. Buffalo and variants thereof."
"Additionally with regard to MRAP, according to Gates:"
“In under a year, production has soared from 10 vehicles per month to over 1200 . . . In fact, the last time American industry moved from concept to full-rate military production of a major piece of equipment was World War Two [WW2]”
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER SIXTY YEARS, AMERICAN INDUSTRY HAS HAD TO MOVE [DURING A TIME OF WAR!] FROM CONCEPT TO FULL MILITARY PRODUCTION OF A MAJOR PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. THIS IS THE MRAP FAMILY OF VEHCILES.
But - - not without headaches however. Initially, the thought was that armor kits alone would solve the problem. Take those Humvee's and add those 700 pound door with the armor plate and bullet resistant glass, and that would do the trick!
But - - it was quickly found that: "only one company left in the United States that could still produce high-grade armor plate steel"!
ONLY ONE COMPANY LEFT IN THE U.S. that can produce high-grade armor plate steel??!! Well, I know that much of American manufacturing capactity has moved to China and Mexico in the last several decades, but this situation sounds absurd.
"I [Congressman Duncan Hunter] sent out my team to locate more steel to armor and better protect their [U.S. military tactical vehicles. They found only one company left in the United States that could still produce high-grade armor plate steel."
No less person that Adam Smith, the great economist, commented on this very situation in his book: "The Wealth of Nations"!!
Domestic military procurement and production being essential for the defense of a nation, SHOULD NOT BE - - AND CANNOT BE - - "farmed out" or outsourced!! FREE TRADE IS NOT ABSOLUTE - - EVEN ACCORDING TO THE MASTER!!
"The father of free trade, Adam Smith, stated in his book, 'The Wealth of Nations,' that an exception to this practice [free trade] must be made when it comes to defense production."
"There seem, however, to be two cases in which it will generally be advantageous to lay some burden [tariff] upon foreign [manufacturers] for the encouragement of domestic industry. The first is, when some particular sort of industry is necessary for the defence of the country. (Smith, 1776: 463)"
[what is the second exception to the general rule of free trade I just cannot tell you!]
Well, there you have it. Even when the decision was made to provide a multitude of armor kits for the Humvee and then embark on a crash program to manufacture and field, in the shortest time possible, the MRAP family of vehicles, the amount of armor plate steel from domestic [U.S.] manufacturers was just lacking. Indeed, no amount "of ramping" up of production was possible at the time, given the lack of foundries capable of manufacturing the high-grade steel needed!!
This problem has been remedied? At least - - to some extent?
First, the manufacture, domestically, of high-grade armor steel has been the DX priority, the highest assignment possible!
"The USA’s Mine Protected Ambush Resistant (MRAP) vehicle program has received a DX rating from the Pentagon – a rating normally restricted for items like nuclear missile submarines."
And several, perhaps more, foundries have been located and contracted to manufacture the high-grade armor plate steel needed for the MRAP projects!
1. "Bettendorf company to make plates for military"
Sivyer Steel Corp. has won an $8.5 million contract to make armor plates for the military.
"The contract is the latest piece of military armor work to have landed in the Quad-Cities."
"The Defense Department says Sivyer, which is located in Bettendorf, will make 14,500 P900 armor plates"
And - - in addition:
2. Waukesha Foundry.
Both concerns - - and others like them - - will be manufacturing the P900 armor plate. Developed by the U.S. Army [?], but NOT put into widespread production until now?
Where there is a will, there is a way! "The moral is to the physcial as three is to one!" - - Napoleon.
Prior to MRAP, the willpower was not there! U.S. armor plate manufacture was not a concern. Low on the totem pole of concerns. NOW, having domestic manufacture is of the highest-priority. And the will has prevailed, and manufacturers have been found!