Up-Armored Trucks Can Withstand Mine Blast

By Joshua A. Kutner

During U.S. operations in Bosnia in 1997, a high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) was blasted by an estimated 14-pound anti-tank mine.

The three soldiers from the 519th Military Police Battalion who were onboard the vehicle survived the explosion, escaping with only minor injuries. Had it not been for the vehicle's armoring system, the incident could have been fatal, the soldiers claimed.

Last year, the Army unveiled its 1,000th XM1114 up-armored HMMWV at a ceremony in which one of the survivors of the mine blast presented the vehicle.

The armor systems are designed to protect crews against 7.62mm armor-piercing ammunition, overhead airburst protection against fragmentation from 155mm shells, and blast protection against contact-detonated anti-tank mines up to 12 pounds, said officials.

The manufacturer of these armoring systems is O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Company, Fairfield, Ohio. The armor maker is a subsidiary of the Kroll-O'Gara Company.

The Army employs the up-armored vehicles for reconnaissance and military police patrol functions. The systems have supported Army peacekeeping operations in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. The company has been supplying the Army with these systems since 1993, when the XM109 was developed.

Each O'Gara M1114 and M1116 system uses an expanded vehicle capacity chassis manufactured by AM General Corporation, South Bend, Indiana. The up-armored systems are bolstered to satisfy the ballistic and mobility requirements of patrol troops, scouts, military police, and engineering ordnance disposal units.

The company also manufactures systems specifically designed for the Air Force.

The M1116 up-armored HMMWV was designed to replace the Peacekeeper Armored Response Convoy Vehicle. The system is based on the M1114, and has additional features to support Air Force operations.

It has room for a four person crew, its individual equipment and chemical protection gear, and a maximum of 1,200 pounds of cargo.

"Up-armored technology has proven its viability in protecting the lives of U.S. servicemen during military deployment, as exemplified by [1997's] incident in Bosnia," said Bill O'Gara, Kroll-O'Gara Company president and chief operating officer.

Last year, the company received a $59.4 million contract to supply 738 up-armored HMMWVs to the Army and Air Force-360 for the Army and 378 for the Air Force.

"This contract award reflects the continued strength of our partnership with the U.S. Army for the up-armored HMMWV," said O'Gara. "It also demonstrates the versatility of this vehicle, as the U.S. Air Force begins deploying it to meet its worldwide force protection needs."

The contract award brought total production quantities up to more than 1,800 systems since 1994, with continuing production scheduled through 2000. An option for an additional 216 systems was included in the contract.

Topics: Army News, Land Forces