Army Says Humvees No Longer to Be Used in Combat Roles

By Sandra I. Erwin
No matter where the Army deploys in the future, there will be roadside bombs, buried mines and other explosive threats that will require troops to travel in heavily armored vehicles.
Having accepted that reality, the Army has decided it will begin to phase out soft-skin Humvee trucks from combat inventories over the coming years, and will continue to rely on much heavier mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, officials said April 12.
“For combat, we know the Humvee is no longer feasible,” said Army Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, director of force development for the deputy chief of staff, G-8.
The Humvee’s future lies in less dangerous missions such as homeland defense, logistics support and other roles that mostly will be performed by the National Guard, Cucolo told reporters.
Industry observers and military officials had predicted that the MRAP would be mothballed after the war in Afghanistan ends, as it is oftencriticized by soldiers and commanders for its lack of off-road mobility, weight and restricted maneuverability in combat zones. Thelast MRAP left Iraq in late March.
But the MRAP fleet is not going anywhere, yet, Cucolo said.
“There is a future for MRAPs,” he said. The heavy casualty toll from IED (improvised explosive device) attacks on U.S. forces over the past decade means that protection of the crew will be top priority in any vehicle that goes to war, Cucolo noted. “MRAP also has got a future in our route clearance, engineering units … and may have future role in echelons above brigade, and we will keep them in prepositioned stocks.”
The Army had planned toupgrade the Humvee fleet by introducing new cabin designs and other features that would have made it more survivable. But the billion-dollar project was terminated in February as the Army decided to place its bets on a new truck, theJoint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). Although the upgrade capacity of the Humvee has maxed out, said Cucolo, it will remain in the Army’s inventory for the next 20 years.
“We will slowly displace the Humvees with JLTVs,” he said.
The Army intends to award up to three contracts this summer for JLTV designs. The current plan is to award a production contract in 2015. Officials have said the Army would like to buy 20,000 vehicles and the Marine Corps as many as 5,500. The entire light tactical wheeled vehicle fleet is about 180,000.

Topics: Land Forces

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