Army Official: Need for Humvee Recap Remains
MONTEREY, Calif. — Despite being killed as part of a five-year plan to reduce defense spending, a Humvee recapitalization program is still on the minds of Army leaders.
The service's Combined Arms Support Command continues to work on requirement documents that show the need for a recapitalization effort that, along with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, would replace a good portion of a Humvee fleet that has been around since the 1980s.
The recap program, called Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle, was viewed as a parallel program to JLTV until senior Pentagon officials announced that they would terminate it during a recent preview of budget reductions.
The MECV was aimed at providing “protective armor below the cab, enhancements of the vehicle’s ability to respond to demands for speed and braking, improvement of the vehicle operator’s ability to control the vehicle, and the incorporation of safety enhancements to reduce the intrusion of thermal fires from fuel as well as directed enemy fire in the form of projectiles from entering the crew compartment,” according to Army Training and Doctrine Command documents.
The predominant gaps when it comes to tactical wheeled vehicles remain protection and survivability, and the MECV program was aimed at improving those traits for light trucks, said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, commander of CASCOM's sustainment center of excellence.
In addition, Army officials said at the National Defense Industrial Association's annual truck conference that they more or less are sticking to a tactical wheeled vehicle strategy they put out a year ago, which leans heavily on the recap program.
“The MECV will tell us what's in the art of the possible with regard to modernizing the up-armored Humvee,” Hodge said. But given the uncertainty associated with future budgets, “I think we need a fall-back position for recapping the up-armored Humvee with some modernization.”
Hodge recommended that industry and government officials team up on a “more traditional” recap program for the Humvee that focuses solely on improving underbelly protection and performance.
“We've stretched this vehicle about as far as it can go,” he said. “But we must continue to look at ways to improve this vehicle to support our soldiers who may end up fighting in an up-armored Humvee again.”