The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, is a four-wheel drive military automobile produced by AM General. It has largely supplanted the roles originally performed by the original jeep, and older Military light utility vehicles such as the Vietnam-era M151 1⁄4-short-ton (230 kg) MUTT, the M561 “Gama Goat”, their M718A1 and M792 ambulance versions, the CUCV, and other light trucks. Primarily used by the United States military, it is also used by numerous other countries and organizations and even in civilian adaptations. The Humvee’s widespread use in the Persian Gulf War, where it negotiated the treacherous desert sand with ease, helped inspire the civilian Hummer automotive marque.

Since the WWII era Willys MB, the United States Army had relied on Jeeps to transport small groups of soldiers. The jeep was built around a requirement for a compact vehicle with a folding windshield that was actually shorter than the Volkswagen Beetle. It had seats for a 3 man crew with a 660 lb (300 kg) payload and weighed just over one ton.

By the 1970s, the U.S. Army had tried larger militarized civilian trucks, but even these no longer satisfied newer requirements. In 1977, Lamborghini developed the Cheetah model in an attempt to meet the Army contract specifications.

In 1979, the U.S. Army drafted final specifications for a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV which was to replace all the tactical vehicles in the 1/4 to 1 1/4-ton range. Compared to the Jeep, it was larger and had a much wider track, with a 16 in (410 mm) ground clearance, double that of most sport-utility vehicles. The new truck was to climb a 60 percent incline and traverse a 40 percent slope. The air intake was to be mounted flush on top of the right fender (or to be raised on a stovepipe to roof level to ford 5 ft (1.5 m) of water) and electronics waterproofed to drive through 2.5 ft (0.76 m) of water were specified. The radiator was to be mounted high, sloping over the engine on a forward-hinged hood.

In July 1979, AM General (a subsidiary of American Motors Corporation) began preliminary design work. Less than a year later, the first prototype was in testing. Chrysler Defense and Teledyne Continental also produced competing designs. In June 1981, the Army awarded AM General a contract for development of several more prototype vehicles to be delivered to the government for another series of tests. In 1983, AM General was awarded the initial batch of a five-year contract for nearly 55,000 HMMWVs to be delivered in 1985. The original M998 A0 series had a curb weight of 5,200 lb (2,400 kg). with a payload of 2,500 lb (1,100 kg), with a 6.2 L (380 cu in) V-8 diesel engine and a three-speed automatic transmission.

Ft. Lewis Washington and the 9th Infantry Division was the testing unit to employ HMMWV in the new concept of a motorized division. Yakima Training Center; Yakima, Washington was the main testing grounds for HMMWVs from 1985 through December 1991, when the motorized concept was abandoned and the division inactivated.



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