HMMVW (pronounced Humvee) stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. They were designed to replace the smaller Jeeps and the Military Utility Tactical Trucks (MUTTs). They are used primarily by the United States Military, though due to their popularity, the civilian versions known as The Hummer Series was created.
History of the HMMWV
During the 1970’s the United States Army and Department of Defense came to the conclusion that the current line of light trucks, Jeeps and MUTTs no longer met their requirements. They needed a lightweight tactical vehicle that could keep pace with tanks. They also needed durability, reliability and cost effective production. The first prototype for the HMMWV was developed by Lamborghini in 1997. It was known as the Cheetah. Based on testing of the Cheetah, in July of 1979, the specifications were revised and AM General, a subsidiary of American Motors Corporation, began work on the new prototype. IN less than a year, the M998 was produced and by 1980 over 500 vehicles were available.
AM General also received contracts for several more prototypes in 1981. They were eventually given the contract to deliver 55,000 HMMWVs by 1985. Once they were complete, they were used in Operation Just cause, Panama. Over 10,000 HMMWVs were also used in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Description and Usage
HMMWVs feature specially designed independent suspensions and axels that give them over 16 inches of ground clearance. They also come equipped with inboard mounded disc brakes on all four wheels for better breaking on harsh terrain.
At least 17 versions of HMMWVs are currently being used by all branches of the United States armed military. They are primarily used to carry troops and cargo, as platforms for automatic weapons and as ambulances for four or eight patients. They are also able to act as air support vehicles, transport Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missiles and for fording 2.5 feet deep water when special water fording kits are installed.
The HMMWV was not intended to be used a front line fighting vehicle. It is designed to quickly move troops and cargo behind the front lines. It has no protection from nuclear, biological and chemical threats and are not the best choice in high intensity urban engagements. It is also unable to offer protection against repeated fire from small arms, machine guns or grenades.
Optional features and weaponry
HMMWVs can also be outfitter with a winch that has a maximum capacity of 6,000lbs and reinforced armor. Some versions (The M1025/M1026 and M1043/M1044 armament carriers) are able to mount and fire MK19 grenade launchers. Many variants also provide firing capabilities for the M2 heavy machine gun, the M240G/B machine gun and M249 SAW.
The future of the HMMWV
The most recent version of the HMMWV, the has been so successful in the field that is quickly making previous versions obsolete. It is able to better withstand small arms fire and better reinforcements with steel as well as bullet resistant glass. The Army is now hoping to lower maintenance costs by replacing the M1114, M1116 and other HMMWs with M1151s.