Although it has been co-opted by civilian drivers, the Humvee remains an important vehicle to the U.S. military and other armed forces around the world.
Multiple Versions and Roles
Humvee is a nickname derived from the acronym for the vehicle’s full name – The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The Humvee is a four wheel drive vehicle that is used to transport soldiers over difficult terrain. The Humvee has largely supplanted the transportation role that had been traditionally filled by jeeps and trucks.
In service with the U.S. military since 1985, the Humvee comes in unarmored and armored versions. Today, there are about 20 different versions of Humvees being used by the U.S. military. The vehicles range in price from $65,000 to $150,000. Humvees are used as ambulances, troop carriers, missile carriers, and as air support vehicles.
The Humvee contains rugged suspension, disk brakes on all four wheels, and extremely strong axles. The vehicles can serve a combat role and be outfitted with heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, and sniper detection systems.
Widely Used by the U.S. Military
The U.S. Military began developing the Humvee in the late 1970s after it was decided that modern combat missions required a durable and multipurpose vehicle. The Humvee was created by AM General LLC of South Bend, Indiana. The vehicle was first used in combat during the invasion of Panama in 1989. Today, the Humvee is a major part of the U.S. military’s ground vehicle fleet. There have been as many as 10,000 Humvees used in the current combat mission in Iraq.
Although the Humvee was initially designed to transport cargo and soldiers, it continues to evolve and develop new roles with the U.S. military. Many militaries around the world use Humvees or some version of the vehicle, including Canada, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Spain. Many countries such as China have developed replica Humvees for their military.
The U.S. military is now exploring the possibility of replacing the Humvee. A number of prototypes are being developed to replace aging Humvees and update the vehicle to meet the needs of current combat missions.
The HUMMER and Civilian Use
Due to the Humvees’ popularity, AM General began manufacturing a civilian version of the vehicle in 1992. Known as the “HUMMER,” AM General describes the civilian version of the vehicle as “the world’s most serious 4x4.” Today, HUMMER’s are popular with sports figures and celebrities who like the vehicle’s tough exterior and large size.