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United States Army HMMWV (Humvee) – Click above for high-res image gallery

We never really thought of the HMMWV (aka the Humvee) as a military vehicle with a "flat bottom, low weight, low ground clearance and aluminum body," but to American soldiers using the heavily-armored machines as their main source of transportation, those descriptors apparently apply all too well. In fact, the Humvee is downright dangerous in certain situations, namely when facing a roadside explosion from a remotely-detonated Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, which are the number one killer of soldiers in Iraq.

As such, the military went looking for a vehicle more appropriate for modern warfare, and what it found is called the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP for short. These heavily armored machines are raised high up off the ground and sport a V-shaped hull underneath to help divert blasts away from the passenger compartment.

The result: "Commanders consistently report that MRAPs, with their V-shaped hulls and added armored protection, are saving lives and reducing casualties," reports Major General Thomas Spoehr in testimony he recently submitted to Congress. The Pentagon expects there to be 5,250 MRAPs in use in Afghanistan by September.

So, 2010 marks the end of an era in military Humvee use. The Army will reportedly purchase about 2,600 more Humvees in 2010, which will be added to the current fleet, rounding the total number of units to 150,000. The last new Humvee will be ordered sometime in April. These remaining Humvees will be used primarily in non-combat situations and in parts of the world where IED use isn't an established battle tactic.

Interestingly, though, USA Today reports that Marine Corps Commandant James Conway has said the Marines are investigating ways to retrofit a V-shaped hull to the classic Humvee. Might there still be life left in the old bird?

  • Coalition Forces patrol through the Helmand Province on October 15, 2007, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army Photo by Specialist David Gunn) (Released)
  • Soldiers of the Kalagush Provincial Reconstruction Team prepare to walk to the remote village of Balik during a patrol in the rugged Titin Valley in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan on June 14, 2007. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Bracken, U.S. Army. (Released)
  • 090827-A-9581M-2480 Four Soldiers establish a defensive security posture around the Humvee they just got out of as they begin pursuit of the person who fired on their convoy while inspecting a rural village during a mounted combat patrol exercise on a Fort McCoy training lane. The Soldiers are from the 631st Maintenance Comany mobilizing to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Tom Michele, federally contracted employee of Team Eagle Systems serving the PAO at Fort McCoy, Wis. Publication or commercial use of this material requires a release by a U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer. Credit U.S. Army photograph.

[Source: USA Today]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd like to MRAP for a living.

      I will miss the Humvee though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmwvs will be around for ever. Most of the arrmored ones will be given to iraq and afganistan. For on a base GP run about the army could do well with A millitary Chevy/ford pick up.

      - SGT boyer US army Hmmwv mechanic
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually the HMMWV does not have a flat bottom. It has a cavity in the middle to house the engine and transmission. This cavity is worse than having a flat bottom since a flat bottom can still deflect some of the blast.

      The unit that I deployed with had attained several MRAPs during my deployment in Iraq. However they still needed a HMMWV for rear protection.

      Between the Jeep and HMMWV we had the Chevy for the military vehicle. You can still see them on some bases.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My guess is the Marines are looking to retro fit the HMMWV is because the MRAP is too heavy for the road of Afganistan. The roads there are quite primative. This limits the MRAPs ability to be useful for all missions. The followup program for it M-ATV is almost as bad when it comes to weight and roads in Afganistan.

      For this reason it's not surprising to see that HMMWV variants could fill the role of the JLTV program.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Another reason would be greatly reduced number of vehicles can be carried by a LCAC, that is 12 Humvees vs 4 MRAPs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hear they're great for ghost riding too:

        • 5 Years Ago
        that video is full of awesome!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've been in these MRAPS while over in the sandbox. Much, MUCH better interior with a higher ground clearance. However, it is clumsy around the streets of Baghdad. Favorite feature for me was the V shaped hull that proved its worth during one of our convey missions. Also, the lack of a exposed gunner position up on top definitely made my job a lot easier (Medic).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thank you for your service, ConceptVBS!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is it true that they are redesigning MRAPs with suspension in the seats? One of our customers is a major military vehicle OEM and I heard a rumor that a seat redesign was in the works to prevent spinal injuries when a blast rocks the hull.

        Heard anything about this in the field?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't believe Autoblog actually stated they don't see the HumVee as a military vehicle. As others have mentioned is was never meant to be an armored personnel carrier.

      It's was designed to perform utility missions in all types of terrain and a variety of climates which it did very well.

      As a former Marine I can say that the HumVee has been very reliable and did its job well. It's definitely not the idea vehicle for urban operations in the Middle East but it did its job well.

      The Marines are always trying to extend the service life of their equipment (as Enrique stated its a money thing). The Corps used the M60 MBT into the nineties, are still flying the Huey and Cobra and have just started relieving the Phrog.

      Hey Autoblog... you guys should see if you can get a test of the Marine Corps Kawasaki KLR 650 motorcycles. They run on diesel and are used for reconnaissance and to deliver messages.
      • 5 Years Ago
      is this the new vehicle for rappers?

      I hope not!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it's all relative, since the HMMWV was never meant to replace a Tank..The HMMWV has it's uses and I doubt it will ever be replaced...
        • 5 Years Ago
        They used to say the Jeep will never be replaced too...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ummm, wasn't the whole point of the article that it WAS being replaced? The part where they said "The last new Humvee will be ordered sometime in April"?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thanks AB for putting the name MRAP in the title of the blog and not posting any photos of well...the MRAP!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      As others have mentioned. The HMMWV was never meant to be a combat vehicle. It was a behind the lines support vehicle for a time when our primary (theoretical) enemy was the Soviet Union. It did its job well until the enemy changed. An enemy that lacks the strength for direct face to face combat and uses hidden roadside bombs as a primary tactic.

      I'm sure the MRAP is great, but will soldiers hop in one every time they need to shuttle from one side of a large base to the other? There must be a need for a smaller un-armored vehicle in the military inventory.
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