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The History of the Military Humvee

Military Humvee, or HMMWV as the US Army calls them, were originally meant to be jack-of-all-trades light tactical vehicles. They still remain extremely popular and remarkably versatile.

Even though the Army is starting to field the new Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), many Humvees are being sold for scrap. But thanks to online heavy-equipment auction site IronPlanet, some are finding new lives. Click the Street Legal Exports to know more.

The military Humvee, full name the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or HMMWV, first appeared on the battlefield in 1984. It quickly became a popular means of transporting soldiers, as it allowed them to carry more equipment and weapons than jeeps could. In addition, the HMMWV was capable of traversing rough terrain. This was a significant advancement over the M151 Jeeps that were in service at the time, which were often limited by their small wheels and short wheelbase.

The Army envisioned the HMMWV as a jack-of-all-trades light tactical vehicle that could perform the role of several different trucks. The new model used a civilian-style frame with a modular design, so it was easy to equip it for various duties.

Soldiers grew fond of the Humvee, and it didn’t take long before they started calling it the ‘Hummer’. This nickname was a result of the vehicle’s imposing size, which made it look like a huge, road-legal SUV. It also had a loud engine and other features that resembled the Hummer brand of consumer cars.

During the first Gulf War, the Humvee proved its worth on the open battlefield, where it was used to transport soldiers and gear. However, once the war entered urban areas, the vehicle faced a different threat. It was a prime target for roadside bombs, which turned the aluminum body into little more than a rolling coffin.

By the time the war in Iraq began, the Humvee was showing signs of wear and tear. In addition, it was ill-equipped to deal with the insurgency and its unique tactics.

In an attempt to address these issues, the military started replacing its Humvees with heavier and better armored vehicles, such as the JLTV. But manufacturer AM General argues that these new models aren’t as effective as the old Humvees. The reason, according to AM General is that the Humvee’s architecture makes it vulnerable to certain threats. For instance, the Humvee doesn’t have a protective cage that shields its passengers from the shock of an explosion. Instead, the impact passes directly through the vehicle’s body. This makes it vulnerable to improvised explosive devices and other roadside attacks that the newer vehicles are designed to counter.

Prototypes

The Humvee is one of the most recognizable military vehicles in history, and it has served as the face of power projection for the Army and US Marine Corps. The vehicles are incredibly versatile, and they have been used in a number of different roles throughout the years. In fact, they have largely replaced the original jeep and other military trucks in many applications. In order to remain relevant in the modern era, the military had to make some changes to its trucks. The result is a vehicle that can perform more tasks than ever before.

The first prototypes were built by FMC, and they were sent to the Army’s Land Warfare Laboratory for testing in 1971. They received positive reviews and prompted ten more prototypes to be built. These new versions featured a more powerful engine that was based on the small block 5.2-liter Chrysler V8. The improved engine was able to produce 197bhp compared to the big block that was used in the earlier version.

These prototypes were also built with a new transmission, and the drivetrain was improved as well. The newer versions were also a bit larger and had better armor protection. However, they still had a number of issues that the military wanted to fix. For example, they could not withstand roadside bombs very well. The new version of the Humvee was designed with stronger armor to prevent these types of attacks. The new model was also squatter and had a better chance of resisting tipping over in extreme off-road conditions.

In 2022, the Army began a process to replace its existing Humvee vehicles. They started a competition that would require vendors to build prototypes for evaluation. They would then present a Capabilities Development Document to the Army Requirements Oversight Council. If the requirements were approved, then the competitors would have to deliver production-representative vehicles for runoff testing and a potential production contract.

In the meantime, the Army is using several different vehicles to test for a replacement for its existing fleet. The 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and 14th Engineer Battalion are putting the prototypes through their paces at Fort Lewis. Once the testing is complete, the Army will select a contractor to build its first unit of issue vehicles.

Variations

In the decades since its creation, the Humvee has spawned a variety of variants that have specialized in everything from cargo transport to low-altitude air defense. But no matter their differences, these military Humvees share the same chassis and drive train, meaning that any upgrade to a vehicle’s body or equipment is possible without having to rebuild the whole car.

The original Humvee was a major upgrade from the quarter-ton jeeps that had populated the U.S. Armed Forces until the 1960s. It could travel over rugged terrain with ease, and it was powerful enough to carry a 105mm howitzer on top of its roof, along with a tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless guided (TOW) anti-tank missile.

To meet the needs of modern warfare, the Army created a number of new military Humvee versions, including ambulances and troop transport vehicles. Some of these Humvees also included a turret-mounted machine gun or grenade launcher.

But it wasn’t until the Iraq War that the Humvee proved its true mettle. Insurgents had figured out that the soft-skinned trucks were a great target for roadside bombs, and crews in the region began to die at an alarming rate. Unlike their armored allies in Afghanistan, who rolled around with plywood and cannibalized armour, these trucks weren’t able to deflect the force of an explosion against their alloy skin.

AM General finally came up with a solution to the problem in 2006, and the first Humvees were delivered to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in January of 2017. The JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) is a more advanced version of the Humvee that has a hard-armored body to protect troops against roadside bombs and small arms fire.

But even with this protection, the new Humvees aren’t as heavy as their ancestors. The latest ones can carry 14,000 pounds; that’s about as much as a fully loaded civilian Hummer weighs with no passengers or cargo (curb weight). The lighter vehicle will allow soldiers to take on more dangerous missions, but it’s not as robust against explosive devices.

Modernization

Since the military switched to the Humvee in 1983, it’s been deployed around the world on hundreds of missions. A search on DVIDS, the military’s media archive, turns up images and video of these workhorses everywhere from the United States to Japan, Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea and Australia.

Even though the Army began replacing some of its fleet with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in 2018, Humvees are still expected to be in service well into 2050. Several of the JLTV’s advantages over the Humvee include better armor; a V-shaped, mine-resistant hull; locking differentials and a 400-horsepower diesel engine that leaves the Humvee in the dust.

Despite these improvements, military officials are working on an ambitious program to upgrade the HMMWV fleet with a series of improvements that range from crew protection to vehicle survivability. Officials are aiming for a full rollout in 2023, which could cost up to $6 billion.

The military also keeps modifying and upgrading the Humvee’s basic chassis. For example, the Expanded Capacity Vehicle, or ECV, is a new type of chassis that provides more cargo capacity than a standard Humvee. It has a larger body that can accommodate a full load of supplies and weapons. It can carry 2,500 pounds more than a standard model.

A new variant allows the army to equip a Humvee with a 105mm howitzer and digital fire control system, which turns the vehicle into a gun truck. It can fire and move in about 30 seconds. This allows soldiers to get closer to the enemy and provide better fire support in urban combat areas.

Another cool modification involves turning the Humvee into a firefighting platform. The Adaptive Fire Control Vehicle (AFCV) features a large, forward-mounted turret with a 105mm howitzer and fire-control system that can shoot through buildings. It can also be manned by up to six soldiers and can travel to an area of fire and return with ammunition.

The AFCV is part of the Army’s effort to improve asymmetric warfare tactics, which are designed to disrupt an enemy’s ability to organize and conduct attacks. Besides the turret, the AFCV includes a fire suppression system and a thermal imaging camera to detect enemy activity.

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