The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle was originally developed to replace outdated Jeeps and small trucks, of which previously there were many. The purpose of the HMMWV or Humvee as it is better known, is to serve as many varied purposes as possible. As a result there are a very large number of variants with varying armor and weapon systems, modifications to the interior and payload capacity. However they are all based around a central design.
The HMMWV is not particularly fast, with a maximum top speed of 65MPH, but it is extremely versatile and capable of traversing very rough terrain. One variation even drives on Mattracks Snow Treads. HMMWVs are also designed to continue operation even after sustaining heavy damage in the field. In the Gulf War, despite taking significant damages to crews, the survival of the chassis allowed the crew to return to safety. At the time, HMMWVs were not well armored and could not even hold up under significant small arms fire, let alone machine gun and RPG fire.
HMMWVs do not do well in soft sand however, due to speed and weight issues. This means there are issues with certain environments in the Middle East, and HMMWVs are known to get stuck in soft sand.
Although the base HMMWV is not armored, most used today are equipped with significant armor upgrades, some of which increase the width of the vehicle so much they can no longer be legally driven on US Highways. The added armor also means that mechanical assistance is often required just to open the doors because they are so heavy. However, even with significant upgrades to the HMMWVs protection, it is mostly only effective against small arms fire. While offering limited protection against propelled explosives and IEDs, it is exactly that, limited.
As a result of this lack of superior armor, the US Armed Forces are looking for replacements for the HMMWV that allow for much greater protection from IEDs, which have come to be the deadliest weapon available to opposition forces in the Middle East. EOD teams and the United States Marine Corps are using newer Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles in significant numbers, with plans to eventually replace all Marine Corps HMMWVs in the field with MRAPs. Since MRAPs were introduced into combat zones, IED casualties are estimated to be down by as much as 90% over the original HMMWVs.
- Weight: 5,200–5,900 lb curb weight
- Length: 15 ft
- Width: 7.08 ft
- Height: 6 ft, reducible to 4.5 ft
- Engine: 8 Cyl. Diesel 6.2 L (380 cu in)or 6.5 L (400 cu in)
6.5 L V8 turbo: 190 hp (142 kW) @ 3,400 rpm / 380 lbf·ft (515 N·m) @ 1,700 rpm
- Transmission: 4-speed automatic
- Suspension: Independent 4x4
- Speed: 55-65+ mph
- Armament: Variable, but generally HMMWVs are armed with .50 caliber machine guns for typical use in the Middle East.
Over time the HMMWV has been improved to adapt to the world's changing battlefields. It has been outfitted with new armor kits, given new weapons systems, and even been a platform for experimental weapons and devices.
With America's conflicts in the middle East in which her forces engage a largely guerrilla force, which makes use of improvised roadside bombs and ambushes carried out by fighters armed with high caliber machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers. As a result, a large focus was put on survivability kits that increase armor on the sides or add turrets to the mounted weaponry to increase gunner protection.
One of the most appealing aspects of the HMMWV is it's ability to be customized with a very large number of payload, armor, and force application configurations. Used as everything from troop carriers to ambulances, to anti-armor missile platforms. One variant deployed in limited numbers uses a Solid State Laser to neutralize surface mines and unexploded ordnance, which is the first use of a laser weapon on the battlefield.
- M56 Coyote Smoke Generator Carrier
- M707 HMMWV
- M966 HMMWV TOW Armored
- M996 Mini-Ambulance, Armored
- M997 Maxi-Ambulance, Armored
- M998 Cargo/Troop
- M998 HMMWV Avenger
- M1025 Armament Carrier, Armored
- M1026 Armament Carrier, Armored W/W
- M1035 Soft-Top Ambulance
- M1036 TOW Armored W/W
- M1037 S-250/S-788 Shelter Carrier
- M1038 Cargo/Troop Carrier W/W
- M1042 S-250/S-788 Shelter Carrier W/W
- M1043 Armament Carrier, Up-Armored
- M1044 Armament Carrier, Up-Armored W/W
- M1045 TOW Up-Armored Armor
- M1046 TOW Up-Armored Armor W/W
- M1069 Tractor for M119 105-mm Gun
- M1097 Heavy
- M1097 Heavy HMMWV Avenger
- M1109 Up-Armored Armament Carrier
- Ground Mobility Vehicle (special ops variant)
As Seen in Video Games
In video games, HMMWV or imitations often aren't player controllable, but when they are they typically serve purely as transportation or as a platform for an on rails shooting sequence. Some games, like Crysis allows control of the vehicle and it's machine gun, in some cases both at the same time. Other titles, such as the Battlefield franchise make the Humvee available to use by players for transport and enemy attacks.