Considered by some as one of the top ten military vehicles, the military Humvee has proved itself in the both performance and dependability and has largely taken over the roles previously served by their smaller counterparts – the jeep, the gama goat and other lighter trucks. The Humvee is used extensively throughout the US military, but is also used by a number of other nations. A civilian inspired variant of the Humvee (the Hummer) has also become very popular.
Brief Overview of the Military Humvee
A unique feature of the Humvee is its 16 inch ground clearance – made possible by its portal geared hubs and independent 4-wheel double-wishbone suspension. Currently, the Humvee (or) High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle is used to carry cargo and/or troops, as an automatic weapons platform, an ambulance and as a missile carrier. Humvees are also used for direct air support and as an S250 shelter carrier. Traversing (fording) kits are installed on the Humvee. Some Humvees are additionally equipped with a winch, which gives the vehicle a 6,000 lb. load capacity and additional armor. A number of variants and have been produced with various upgrades since the inception of the Humvee. One very popular model is the M1151, which was quickly realized as a replacement for the M1114 and M1116, is a US Army choice in an effort to lower their maintenance costs.
By the 1970s, the US Army was realizing current militarized civilian trucks were no longer capable of satisfying their escalating demands and requirements. Lamborghini responded in 1977 to the specifications issued by the Army in an attempt to secure the contract. Then in 1979, final specifications were drafted by the US Army for what would become known as the Humvee. Shortly after, AM General began designing a prototype, which they had ready for testing by early 1980. Mid-1981, AM General was awarded a contract to produce additional prototypes to be used for a series of tests. Eventually, they received the initial contract to produce 55,000 vehicles for delivery in 1985. The Humvee first saw combat in 1989 during Operation Just Cause, the US Invasion of Panama. This High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle has since become the mainstay of US military forces around the world. More than 10,000 Humvees were used in the Iraq War by the coalition forces.
The Humvee was mainly designed as personnel carrier and light cargo transport vehicle to be used behind the front lines. Despite lacking armor or any additional protection against chemical and/or biological threats of various levels, losses remained relatively low during the combat engagements in the Gulf War. This vehicle was not designed to protect against intense small arms fire, let alone machine guns or rocket-propelled grenades. Recent warfare and conflict involvements have forced the use of the Humvee into an urban combat role, a role for which it was not designed.
Since these earlier conflicts, additional variants have been developed that have increased protection against small arms fire and one variant (M998) includes a passenger area that is fully armored and reinforced using hardened steel and bullet-resistant glass windows for additional protection.
Specifications for the Humvee
- Classification: Light Armored Car (or)
- Light Utility Vehicle
- Service: 1984 thru present day
- Production: 1984 thru present day
- Fuel Capacity: 25 US Gallons
- Speed: 55 miles per hour at maximum gross weight
- Top speed: 70 miles per hour
The military Humvee has been used by as many as 70 countries around the world. Despite its continued popularity, the US military continues to explore replacement possibilities to meet the ever changing roles required of the military Humvee.