The US Marine Corps has awarded a contract to BAE Systems for the ongoing maintenance, updates and repairs to Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

The $21.9m contract will be used to expand the MRAP maintenance workforce in Afghanistan to ensure troops have sustained field support with the latest safety technology.

BAE Systems Support and Technical Services vice-president Robert Houston said: "Protecting the lives of our brave young men and women is something we take very seriously and expanding our labour force will aid soldiers’ and Marines’ safety and success abroad."

Work on the contract will be carried out in Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by December 2012.