Navistar International Corp to build armored vehicles for American soldiers in Iraq

The U.S. Marine Corps concluded a $623.1 million (463.2 million EUR) contract Thursday to a Navistar International Corp. subsidiary to build 1,200 armored vehicles for American soldiers in Iraq.

The pact, awarded to Atlanta-based International Military and Government LLC, is the largest delivery order to date of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles used to reduce the number of U.S. soldiers killed or wounded by roadside bombs.

The MRAPs, designed with a V-shaped hull to repel improvised explosive devices, will replace armored Humbles made by privately held AM General Corp.

Delivery of the MRAPs for this contract are expected by February 2008.

A Marine Corps-led joint military team wants to get funding approved to deliver nearly 18,000 MRAPs, expected to cost about $20 billion (14.8 billion EUR), as quickly as possible to soldiers in combat.

The team has up to $8.4 billion (6.2 billion EUR) to build roughly 7,700 MRAPs this year.

The Navistar contract is the second one awarded to date. In April, South Carolina-based Force Protection Industries Inc. won a $490 million (364.2 million EUR) contract for 1,000 MRAP vehicles.

Shares of the Illinois-based Navistar jumped $2.50, or 4 percent, to $64.89 in over-the-counter trading Thursday.