The vehicles are more commonly known as the HMMWV (HMMWV or Humvee), it is a military 4WD motor vehicle created by AM General. The HMMWV was designed by AM General as a replacement for the old Jeep design such as the M151 1/4 ton MUTT, the M561 “Gama Goat”, their M718A1 and M792 ambulance versions, the CUCV, and other light trucks. It’s less susceptible to the Jeep’s rolling problems, can carry more equipment, and was designed to serve in a more modern battlefield. The HMMWV is also unusually designed to sink as quickly as possible in water. Thanks to an intake snorkel on the top of its hood, it can drive through almost any body of water, as long as the snorkel is above the surface.
In the 1970s, the United States Army concluded that the militarized civilian trucks in use no longer fit their requirements. In 1977, Lamborghini developed the Cheetah model in attempts to meet the Army ideal specs. In 1979 AM General began working on the M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), a 1-ton truck intended to replace the M151 and other light wheeled tactical vehicles. It was designed for use in all weather conditions, over the most difficult terrain. The vehicle was in development through half of 1982, and completed in 1989. In June 1981, the Army awarded AM General a contract for development of several more different types of vehicles to be delivered to the U.S. government for another series of tests, and the company was later awarded the initial production contract for 55,000 HMMWVs to be delivered in 1985. HMMWVs first saw combat in Operation Just Cause, the US invasion of Panama in 1989.
The HMMWV has become the vehicular backbone of U.S. forces around the world. Over 10,000 were employed by the coalition forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The HMMWV was designed for personnel transportation and light cargo transport behind the front lines, not as a front line fighting vehicle. Like the previous Jeeps, the basic HMMWVs has no armor or protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical threats. Nevertheless, losses were somewhat low in combat operations, such as Desert Storm. Vehicles and crews had a lot damage and losses during the Battle of Mogadishu due to the nature of the urban engagement; however, the chassis survivability allowed the majority of those crews to return to safety, though the HMMWV was never designed to give protection against small arms, much less machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. However, with the rise of modern warfare and low intensity conflicts, the HMMWV has been placed into service in urban combat roles for which it was not originally made for.
After Somalia, the military recognized a need for a more protection with in the HMMWV and AM General developed the M1114, an armored HMMWV to withstand small arms fire. The M1114 has been in limited production since 1996, seeing limited use in the Balkans before deployment to the Middle East. This design is above and beyond the M998 with a larger, more powerful turbocharged engine, air conditioning, and a strengthened suspension system. Most importantly, it boasts a fully armored passenger area protected by hardened steel and bullet-resistant glass. Due to the increase in direct attacks and guerrilla warfare in Iraq, AM General has diverted the majority of its manufacturing power to producing more of these vehicles.
Due to the response to the weakness of HMMWVs operating in Iraq, “Up-Armor” kits were designed and installed on M998 HMMWVs. These kits, of which there are several types, including armored doors with bullet-resistant glass, side and rear armor plates, and a ballistic windshield which offer greater protection from ballistic threats and simple IEDs.
Although some of these kits were available prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, they were not provided in great numbers to U.S forces in Iraq prior to the invasion. As a result of this, American soldiers and Marines often improvised extra armor with scrap materials, known as “hillbilly armor” or “farmer armor” to improve the safety of the HMMWV. While this may have made the vehicle somewhat safer from a ballistic attack, it also increased the weight and raised the center of gravity of the vehicle, reducing its acceleration, handling, braking, reliability, and service life due to its overstressed suspension and drivetrain. In addition to this, the majority of HMMWVs and other types vehicles used in the invasion of Iraq were fitted with Combat Identification Panels (CIP) to reduce the possibility of friendly fire during combat. These were fitted to the driver and front passenger doors with cutouts to allow access to the door handles through the panels, and also on the hood between the windshield and top grill.
In December 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came under criticism from U.S. soldiers and their families for not providing better equipped HMMWVs. Rumsfeld pointed out that, prior to the war, armor kits were made only in small numbers per year. As the role of American forces in Iraq changed from fighting the Iraqi Army to suppressing the guerrilla insurgency, more armor kits were being manufactured, though perhaps not as faster paste as production facilities were able to bringing them online. Even more kits were also being developed. However, while these kits are much more effective against all types of attacks, they weigh between 1,500 to 2,200 lb and have some of the same drawbacks as the “jimmy rigged” armor. Unlike similar size civilian cargo and tow trucks, which normally have dual rear wheels to reduce sway, the HMMWV has single rear wheels due to its independent rear suspension coupled with the body design.
The armor on most up-armored HMMWVs holds up well against attacks, when the blast is distributed in all different directions, but offers little protection from a mine blast below the truck, such as buried IEDs and land mines. Explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) can also defeat the armor kits, causing casualties.
The armor kits fielded include the Armor Survivability Kit (ASK), the FRAG 5, FRAG 6, as well as upgrade kits to the M1151. The “ASK” was the first fielded, in October 2003, adding about 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the weight of the vehicle. Armor Holdings fielded an even lighter kit, adding only 750 pounds (340 kg) to the vehicle’s weight. The Marine Armor Kit (MAK), fielded in January 2005, offers more protection than the M1114, but also increases weight. The FRAG 5, the latest fielded armor kit, offers the greatest protection but may still be weak to stop EFP attacks. The FRAG 6 kit, designed to do just that, is still in development, however its increased protection comes at a hefty price. Over 1,000 lb is added to the vehicle over the FRAG 5 kit, and the width of the vehicle is increased by 2 feet (61 cm). In addition, the doors may require a mechanical assist device to open and close.
Another drawback of the up-armored HMMWVs is when an accident or attack, when the heavily armored doors tend to jam shut, trapping the Soldiers inside. As a result, HMMWVs are being fitted with hooks on their doors, so that another vehicle can rip the door off, freeing the troops inside. In addition, Vehicle Emergency Escape (VEE) windows, developed by BAE Systems are currently being fielded for use on the M1114 uparmored HMMWV, with 1,000 kits ordered.
The soldier manning the exposed crew-served weapon on top of the vehicle is extremely at risk to be shot. In response, many HMMWVs have been fitted with gun shields or turrets, as was the case with M113 APCs after they were first deployed in Vietnam. The U.S. military is currently evaluating a new form of protection, developed by BAE Systems as well as systems designed by the Army, which are already in theater. The new gunner’s seat is protected by 1.5 to 2 feet (46 to 61 cm) high steel plates with bullet-proof glass windows. Additionally, some HMMWVs have been fitted with a remotely operated CROWS weapon station, which slaves the machine gun to controls in the back seat so it can be fired without exposing the crew. The Boomerang anti-sniper system is also being fielded by some HMMWVs in Iraq to immediately give troops the location of insurgents firing on them.
Other countries in Europe and South Africa employ a number of different light armored vehicles, both tracked and wheeled, and some even built in the U.S. by Cadillac Gage, that are designed more specifically for low intensity combat situations, and are more resistant to small arms; some trucks even have high v-hull bottoms to deflect mine blasts.
The Army has purchased a purpose-built armored car, the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle in limited numbers for use by the United States Army Military Police Corps. In 2007, the Marine Corps announced an intention to replace all HMMWVs in Iraq with MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) armored trucks because of high loss rates, and has issued contracts for the purchase of several thousand of these vehicles, which include the International MaxxPro, the BAE OMC RG-31, the BAE RG-33 and Caiman, and the Force Protection Cougar, which have been deployed with the Army and Marines primarily for mine clearing duties. Heavier models of Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMV) can also be used for patrol vehicles. Unfortunately, some MRAP vehicles have been known to become stuck or roll over much more readily due to their high center of gravity and overall larger size compared to the HMMWV.
The HMMWV replacement process, now being started by the U.S. military, is an effort to replace the current AM General HMMWV. The HMMWV has evolved several different times since its introduction, and is now used in tactical roles for which it was never originally intended. The U.S. military is currently seeking several replacements. both in the short and long terms. The short term replacement efforts uses commercial off-the-shelf vehicles as part of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) program. Long term efforts include the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and Future Tactical Truck Systems programs, which are currently focused on building requirements for the HMMWV replacement and technology research and evaluation. Various different types of vehicles such as the MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle, International FTTS and the ULTRA AP have been constructed as part of these efforts.
The High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) uses independent suspensions and portal geared hubs similar to portal axles to make for a full 16 inches of ground clearance. The vehicle also has disc brakes on all 4 wheels, and 4-wheel double-wishbone suspension. The brake disks are not mounted at the wheels as on conventional automobiles, but inboard mounted disk brakes, which are attached to the outside of each differential. The front and rear differentials are Torsen type, and the center differential is regular, lockable type.
There are at least 17 different types of the HMMWV in service with the United States armed forces. HMMWVs serve as cargo/troop carriers, automatic weapons platforms, ambulances (four litter patients or eight ambulatory patients), M220 TOW missile carriers, M119 howitzer prime movers, M1097 Avenger Pedestal Mounted Stinger platforms, MRQ-12 direct air support vehicles, S250 shelter carriers, and other roles. The HMMWV is capable of fording 2.5 ft (76 cm) normally, or 5 ft (1.5 m) with the deep-water fording kits installed.
Optional equipment includes a winch (maximum load capacity 6000 lb (2700 kg)) and supplemental armor. The M1025/M1026 and M1043/M1044 armament carriers provide mounting and firing capabilities for the MK19 grenade launcher, the M2 heavy machine gun, the M240G/B machine gun and M249 SAW. The newly introduced M1114 “up-armored” HMMWV also features a similar weapons mount. In addition, some M1114 and M1116 up-armored and M1117 Armored Security Vehicle models feature a Common Remotely Operated Weapon System (CROWS), which allows the gunner to operate from inside the vehicle, and/or the Boomerang anti-sniper detection system. Recent improvements have also led to the development of the M1151 model, which is quickly rendering the previous models obsolete. By replacing the M1114, M1116, and earlier armored HMMWV types with a single model, the U.S. Army hopes to lower maintenance costs.
The cargo/troop carriers, armament carrier, tow missile system carrier, shelter carrier, and two ambulance variants (2- and 4- litter). The HMMWV is the prime mover for the AN/TRC-170 Radio Digit Terminal and the Pedestal Mounted Stinger System.
Specs: hydraulic, 4-wheeled disc brakes, 150hp at 3,600 RPM, a 3-speed automatic transmission, 4 wheel double wishbone independent suspension, fuel capacity of 25 gallons (94.63 litters), highway rang of 350 miles. It has a 6.5 fuel injected V-8 diesel. The HMMVW with snorkel kit can ford water up to 60 inches
Major HMMWV versions
M56 Coyote Smoke Generator Carrier
M966 HMMWV TOW Armored
M996 Mini-Ambulance, Armored
M997 Maxi-Ambulance, Armored
M998 HMMWV Avenger
M1025 Armament Carrier, Armored
M1026 Armament Carrier, Armored W/W
M1035 Soft-Top Ambulance
M1036 TOW Armored W/W
M1037 S-250 Shelter Carrier
M1038 Cargo/Troop Carrier W/W
M1042 S-250 Shelter Carrier W/W
M1043 Armament Carrier, Up-Armored
M1044 Armament Carrier, Up-Armored W/W
M1045 TOW Up-Armored Armor
M1046 TOW Up-Armored Armor W/W
M1069 Tractor for M119 105-mm Gun
M1097 Heavy HMMWV Avenger
M1109 Up-Armored Armament Carrier
Ground Mobility Vehicle
Due to the popularity of the HMMWV, kits have been produced for the general market to build a HMMWV-lookalike at home. While the kits do not allow you to build a HMMWV from scratch (Kitcar), they do allow you to turn a sedan into a HMMWV lookalike. An alternative is to buy a pre-constructed (or “turnkey”) wombat. Various kits exist, but one of the most famous names is the “Wombat” (previously called a HummBug). The former vehicle can be purchased for $18,000.00; this puts it considerably cheaper than the actual HMMWV ($56,400.00), or Hummer. In Australia, a Gold Coast-based company called Rhino Buggies produces replicas of the Hummer H1 based on the Nissan Patrol 4WD vehicle for around $30,000 AUD.
Some local vehicle assemblers in the Philippines even make small and full-sized replicas of the HMMWV. They are usually mounted on chassis intended for jeeps, jeepneys, or (in case of the full-sized replica) small trucks, and is powered by surplus gasoline or diesel engines. It looks like a real HMMWV, but it is much more smaller in size, and is priced the same as an ordinary “owner-type” jeep (Php 80,000 upwards).