Even as the military puts in more rush orders for MRAPs, shipping them to Iraq and elsewhere by military transport is proving more expensive than expected. Brogan said Friday that the Pentagon is looking at commercial aircraft or ships as the volume of MRAP delivery increases. “We are geared up at least in the near term for every single vehicle that we produce to be flown into theater,” said Brogan. He declined to specify where in Iraq the MRAPs are being delivered. Ladson, S.C.-based Force Protection Industries Inc. and Fairfax, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. have received contracts worth over $1 billion to build more than 1,900 vehicles by February 2008. Aldrich said Force Protection is not experiencing production delays and expects to stay on schedule the rest of the year. Other contractors, including Armor Holding Inc. – acquired in July by U.S. subsidiary of British defense conglomerate BAE Systems PLC – and Navistar International Corp.’s, subsidiary International Military and Government LLC, have each won several contracts to build more MRAPs. At the end of July, the Pentagon opened a second competition to attract other companies to help build MRAPs because of high demand. Wall Street expects at least 14 other companies to submit test vehicles by mid-September, including AM General Corp., the maker of armored Humvees, Oshkosh Truck Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Ceradyne Inc., L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and Textron Inc., and two international companies, including Regis Trading International of South Africa and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Germany. Contractors will be selected in early December. However, Aldrich says additional vendors slow the process even further as they face the challenge of building an MRAP for the first time.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Contractors and the government are feeling the strain of the Pentagon’s rush on MRAPs, which are built with a V-shape hull to repel improvised explosive devices commonly used by enemy insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brogan said the South Carolina facility is expanding capacity to keep up with vendor deliveries. The delays are “the result of a hurried process that was not well-defined,” Michael Aldrich, a vice president for Force Protection, an MRAP manufacturer, said in a telephone interview. Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would fall short of its goal of delivering 3,500 vehicles by year-end. To date, roughly 400 MRAPs have been delivered to Iraq and an additional 1,100 will arrive there by year-end, the military now says. Aldrich added that the military’s MRAP problem won’t “end with late deliveries. It’s going to be exacerbated by a replacement-parts nightmare trying to sustain these multiple vehicles … and it’s going to be prohibitively expensive to keep doing that.” The Pentagon has ordered more than 6,415 MRAPs and plans to award a second round of contracts later this year. ABERDEEN, Md. – The U.S. military is scrambling to outfit thousands of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles with radios and other equipment, delaying shipment to soldiers for protection from roadside bombs. The Marine Corps commander in charge of MRAP delivery said Friday that five armored-vehicle makers are delivering hundreds of MRAPs to a military facility in South Carolina, which is struggling to keep pace with putting all the necessary equipment on the volume of vehicles needed overseas. “Different things happen in the continuum and there are certainly going to be time lags associated,” said Gen. Brig. Michael Brogan at a demo day for the media to test-drive three MRAP models at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a military test site. The MRAPs look and feel like Humvees on steroids, with tires as big as those used on trucks in demolition derbies.