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A U.S. Navy builder assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 fires an M240B machine gun during weapons familiarization training with NMCB-26 at the Tarnak Weapons Range in Kandahar, Afghanistan, June 4, 2011. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Scott Boyle/Released.

Armored trucks designed to protect troops from roadside bombs and adapted to conditions in Afghanistan have saved more than 2,000 American lives there, far fewer than the Pentagon estimated last year, according to data released to USA Today.

The Pentagon began speeding Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 to help counter insurgents’ weapon of choice, the improvised explosive device (IED). IEDs remain the top killer of U.S. troops. Makeshift bombs account for more than 50 percent of U.S. troop deaths, according to the Pentagon.

Last year, the military estimated that MRAPs had saved the lives of as many as 40,000 servicemembers. A senior Defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive data, said last week that that figure had been overstated.

Source: Tom Vanden Brook for USA Today.

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