An Option for Humvee Recap

There are thousands of beat up Humvees heading back from the AO that the Army’s going to need to refit or replace as the service reorganizes its brigade combat team structure to reflect a post-Iraq (and Afghanistan) world.

A fight is brewing on The Hill over which option to embrace and given the delays in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the lack of enthusiasm for MRAPs as an everyday transport or tactical vehicle, it’s clear there’s a future for the Humvee fleet for at least the next decade.

Defense Tech was briefed last week on an option that essentially turns a run-of-the-mill Humvee into a Level I protective MRAP simply by plugging in a specially-designed crew capsule.

The Granite Tactical Vehicle and Textron “Survivable Combat Tactical Vehicle” uses no exotic materials to make it strong enough to withstand an IED blast, but the geometry of the capsule is akin to an MATV or Cougar which allows blast effects to deflect rather than impact the flat surfaces of even a Frag Kit 5 Humvee.

The SCTV has undergone independent and U.S. Marine Corps blast and mobility testing. The independent blast testing confirms the vehicle is capable of protection levels equal to Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) level 1 specifications. While providing unparalleled protection, the SCTV’s mobility and performance exceed currently fielded HMMWVs by reducing overall weight and integrating upgraded suspension and engine technology.

Granite president, retired SEAL Chris Berman, said while the Corps tests showed the SCTV could withstand any blast thrown at it (three of six capsules sent for testing were blown up), the durability tests fell short since the Humvees used didn’t have upgraded suspension. But with a tweaked engine and suspension, the SCTV can deliver better performance than an uparmored Humvee, he said.

It’s unclear which way the services will go with their recap — a more exotic vented DARPA solution or simply an M1115 refit — but the forces are aligning for quite a fight for the fiscal pie.

— Christian

  • Marcase

    This Hum-Vee-Hull upgrade looks like a dynamite program. Using existing vehicles (plus spares, plus support, plus training) is a sure winner on the budgetary front.
    Just hope it will live up to its MRAP Level-1 goal – that’s one area that accepts no compromises.

  • JoeAmerica

    Wishful thinking and cost cutting are going to get people killed and maimed.

  • brian

    Humvee is a fine transport vehicle just the way it is (without the up armor), they just need a better light tactical vehicles for combat duties. Its that simple.

    • Soldier 123

      It’s fine as long as you don’t get blown up you mean. That armor also has a tendancy to stop a lot more bullets than even that of a M1114. The 1151’s were good but didn’t have the V shape to deflect and kind of blast next to the vehicle or under the vehicle. A V shapped hull, as picture above, with the 1151’s armor would make the vehicle are much more see all do all vehicle.

      In the sense of a transport vehicle, strictly transport and no font line duty, the humvhee is ok. 5tons or LMTV’s are better though.

    • Jeff

      Agreed, all the Humvee’s “problems” aren’t really problems with the vehicle. Its a problem with using a vehicle in too many roles it wasn’t intended for. Its always been a utility vehicle first and combat vehicle second.

      • Wells

        True the original role of the humvee was as a light weigh fast transport vehicle however once they decided to fit a gun ontop they seem to see it as a mini tank. it still preforms its original job without flaw, however today to fit their needs they should replace or upgrade it if they want to use it as an armored vehicle.

      • Soldier 123

        Exactly. The vehicle platform itself has few problems. All of the vehicles coming back are in good shape, otherwise they would have been left for the Iraqis. So why waste them. There is an obvious need for a highly mobile, heavily armoured vehicle given the current and up coming battlefield conditions our troops will be facing in the future. The MRAP, in what it offers in the way of protection, is perfect aside from it’s size. The HUMVHEE, it’s higher mobility and fairly sound mechanical operations are great aside from it’s lack of armor and V-shaped hull. Combine them for a very useful platform for our troops to fight from in a multitude of situations.

        I used both a MAXXPRO, and an 1151 on my last deployment, loved certain things about each one. Combing the best of both is the answer, and cost effective.

    • mark

      HMMWV Performance Upgrade Packag
      http://www.65engine.com/hmmwv_performance_upgrade

  • Jeff

    My concern with bolt on options, upgrade, etc of the HMMWV is that it will always weigh more than a vehicle designed from the ground up for the role their trying to adapt it to. With the general overweight condition of the ground forces this is the sort of thing that will come to haunt us later and drive some other developement effort. Its an option between being purely reactionary or proactive in producing a multi-role vehicle with significant combat survivability.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    What is missing here of course is the costs of refurbishing existing vehicles to the new standard (M-1115). Which is cheaper, buying a new vehicle or converting the old?

    Two issues here I think are important for consideration. First is the tactical need of armored wheeled vehicles and what are the optimum trade offs. The MRAP’s in all variants have been somewhat less then billed as in their armored protection and in many units provided somewhat less protection (statistically) to the EFP’s and IED’s the the up-armored HUMVEE.

    The HUMVEE’s size and off road abilities and cost makes it so far the ideal vehicle for use in urban combat which appears to have be a consideration for current and future ground forces needs. MRAPs are to heavy for surfaced roads and bridges and limited off road abilities, the Stryker, well it has it’s own set of unique problems that disqualifies it for any consideration here. In short the ground forces need a vehicle like the HUMVEE.

    The second and perhaps the largest cost savings consideration is to purchase a relative cheap, none armored vehicle for garrison used. The HUMVEE is to large and to expensive for taking Company Commanders at Ft. Hood over to Battalion HQ for a meeting. Something along the size lines of the old M-151A1, only build to current road safety standards, would seem to fit this requirement.

    ALLONS,
    Byron Skinner

    • Joe Schmoe

      The Israeli David vehicle perhaps?

      • Wells

        The Humvee is better. Israelis usually make good weapon systems, however the David would not last long enough in combat.

    • Chuck

      YES

      Divide the fleet between utility vehicles and combat vehicles. Hell, you could even use COTS for the utility vehicles. Would save a fortune. Then build a light combat vehicle that falls somewhere in capability between an up-armored HUMVEE and a full-on MRAP. But it will have fewer compromises than the up-armored HUMVEE and more flexibility than the MRAP.

    • coolhand77

      They already have an updated version of the old 151A1. Its the Jeep Wrangler or Wrangler Unlimited, which, IIRC was already exported for that purpose to Egypt [in a Diesel configuration no less].

    • mark

      HMMWV Performance Upgrade Packag http://www.65engine.com/hmmwv_performance_upgrade

  • Randy

    Just get rid of them all!! The Humvee is a joke and a trap………wake up and get them out of here!!!!!!

  • Considering how badly a procurement system we have, (just look at the Marines Expeditionary Vehicle story on this site) the devil we know may be better.
    I am not saying we should not move forward with a new vehicle.
    But until that new vehicle is in production for years, we will have to rely on the Humvee. It is better if we upgrade the Humvee while this process goes forward.

  • JimS

    Here’s an idea. Why dont they sell the ones coming back to civi’s….willing to pay good money for them, instead of shredding and scrapping them!

    The carbon counters can go pound sand. This policy is another another waste of money.

  • EYES_UP

    It doesn’t matter how big, bad or well protected you make a vehicle, the bad guys will just use bigger bombs or simul-detonated EFPs. A remote controlled unmanned something sounds good, or something that detaches and rolls away from the blast for the personnel carriers. Deflecting the blast only works part of the time as seams can be split. I’m not smart enough to design anything though.

    We still need an in-garrison vehicle. HMMWVs should only be used in garrison. Period. Refurb to that.

    I agree w/some on the refurb HMMWVs. It might be cheaper to melt down the relics coming back instead of refurbishing them. Some cost-benefit analysis should already have been done.

  • Scott Weld

    I was in Theatre and assisting with the oversight for the Frag 5 upgrades back in 2006/7. Being from the automotive world the bigger problems that soldiers experienced with the vehicles was the inability for the vehicle not being able to handle the weight. The engine, tranny and platform were just not created to sustain such a heavy load of armor and were basically fundemental components that can be found on civilian vehicles. I found it amazing that those vehicles worked as well as they did after we put on the Frag 5s which includes the wear and tear the soldiers put on also because of their job requirements. I would not replace the MRAP/MATV with the HMMVVE but I would use this vehicle in situations necessary. Each vehicle has its functions and abilities; one size does NOT fit all. That is why we have multiple platforms in the cilvilian world so we can accomodate multiple uses for various situations.

    • blight

      We’re not total jargon nazis. Well, some of us.

      The dream vehicle is a family of vehicles ranging from lightweight to heavy accomodating as many common parts as possible. Tall marching order.

      There’s a great gulf between the lightweight Humvee and the heavy MRAP, and it’s unlikely the two will ever meet when it comes to parts commonality. Alternative tradeoffs are a lighter MRAP vehicle that sacrifices survivability for maneuverability, or a vehicle that will experience higher mechanical attrition (cue planned obsolescence?)

      Alternatively, it would’ve been easier to argue that starting from a heavier chassis and being in a position to strip weight off the vehicle to go lighter, cross-country and faster versus having a lightweight vehicle that cannot support weight being asked to get heavier. The only reason why the Humvees have shouldered this heavy load is the ruggedness demanded in the initial contracts. Humvees were expected to be offroad, or to tow things, and were built accordingly and heavily. Pushing the envelope with weight brought things to the edge.

  • William C.

    Perhaps there is a winner among the JLTV contenders, I don’t know for sure. Yet if JLTV isn’t shaping up to be the vehicle we need, this is certainly an alternative to consider.

  • mark

    HMMWV High Output Engine Upgrade
    An improved and redesigned HMMWV engine based on the OEM HMMWV 6.5L that will drop-in and bolt-up to any HMMWV with no modification to the vehicle. Custom horsepower and torque range tailored to any unique application, terrain and operating environment. Up to 79% increase in horsepower and up to 60% increase in torque over the standard OEM HMMWV.

  • mark

    HMMWV High Output Engine Upgrade
    An improved and redesigned HMMWV engine based on the OEM HMMWV 6.5L that will drop-in and bolt-up to any HMMWV with no modification to the vehicle. Custom horsepower and torque range tailored to any unique application, terrain and operating environment. Up to 79% increase in horsepower and up to 60% increase in torque over the standard OEM HMMWV. http://www.65engine.com/hmmwv_performance_upgrade