Humvee Steers to­wards Right-hand Drive Mar­kets

The Humvee, man­u­fac­tured by AM Gen­eral LLC, has served more than its pur­pose in many a war, be­ing a tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle. Over 60 coun­tries and mil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions across the world op­er­ate th­ese ve­hi­cles. As of 2012, an es­ti­mated 3,00,000 HMMWVS have rolle

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - R. Chan­drakanth

The Humvee, man­u­fac­tured by AM Gen­eral LLC, has served more than its pur­pose in many a war, be­ing a tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle.

THE HIGH MO­BIL­ITY MULTI-PUR­POSE wheeled ve­hi­cle (HMMWV), pop­u­larly known as Humvee, is still an iconic mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle. It be­came a sym­bol of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary might dur­ing the Iraq War when re­port­edly the coali­tion forces de­ployed about 20,000 Humvees to great ef­fect. Its pop­u­lar­ity as­cended when Ter­mi­na­tor film star Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger bought one, start­ing a whole new craze, in­clud­ing the birth of Hum­mer. The Humvee, man­u­fac­tured by AM Gen­eral LLC, has served more than its pur­pose in many a war, be­ing a tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle. Over 60 coun­tries and mil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions across the world op­er­ate th­ese ve­hi­cles. As of 2012, an es­ti­mated 3,00,000 HMMWVs have rolled out of the Mishawaka unit in In­di­ana, United States. From Iraq War to present day, the bat­tle­field has un­der­gone a dras­tic change with asym­met­ric war­fare and im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices be­ing the norm of dis­rup­tion. In the light of this, the US Army is now scout­ing for a mine re­sis­tant ve­hi­cle as a re­place­ment of the Humvee.

Light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle

The Humvee it­self re­placed the M151 se­ries jeeps. As a light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle for com­mand and con­trol, spe­cial pur­pose shel­ter car­ri­ers and spe­cial pur­pose weapons plat­forms, the Humvee has been a cru­cial in­gre­di­ent of bat­tle­field re­quire­ment. The HMMWV has been man­u­fac­tured in sev­eral con­fig­u­ra­tions to sup­port weapon sys­tems; com­mand and con­trol sys­tems; field am­bu­lances; and am­mu­ni­tion, troop and gen­eral cargo trans­port. Its four dif­fer­ent models are the A2 se­ries ve­hi­cles, re­li­a­bil­ity ex­tended ve­hi­cles, ex­panded-ca­pac­ity ve­hi­cles and in­ter­na­tional ve­hi­cles. The in­ter­na­tional models are the ve­hi­cles pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Swiss firm Mowag and Turk­ish com­pany Otokar. The Ea­gle and Co­bra are two of its in­ter­na­tional models.

First US Army Con­tract in 1981

The US Army awarded AM Gen­eral a pro­to­type con­tract in 1981 and the devel­op­ment and op­er­a­tional test­ing was con­ducted over a five-month pe­riod in 1982. In March 1983, AM Gen­eral won an ini­tial $1.2 bil­lion (`6,000 crore) con­tract to pro­duce 55,000 Humvees to be de­liv­ered in five ba­sic models and 15 dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions over a five-year pe­riod. Of the 55,000 units, 39,000 were for the US Army and re­main­ing for the US Marine Corps, US Air Force and the US Navy. The US Army sub­se­quently in­creased their or­der, rais­ing the to­tal con­tract or­der to 70,000 Humvees val­ued at $1.6 bil­lion (`8,000 crore). In 1989, it en­tered com­bat as part of “Op­er­a­tion Just Cause”, the US in­va­sion of Panama. The work­horse Humvee was very prom­i­nent in Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm in 1991 and more re­cently they have played im­por­tant roles in So­ma­lia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. By 1991, AM Gen­eral had pro­duced 72,000 Humvees and it touched a stag­ger­ing fig­ure of nearly 3,00,000 by 2012.

Forecast In­ter­na­tional Weapons Group had es­ti­mated that there would be a re­quire­ment of 71,300 light-wheeled ve­hi­cles, worth in ex­cess of $21 bil­lion (`1,05,000 crore), through 2017 and that the HMMWV would have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the over­all mar­ket. Forecast Group said that the Humvee will dom­i­nate dur­ing the forecast pe­riod, ac­count­ing for al­most 70 per cent of all light-wheeled ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion world­wide, worth a com­mand­ing 35 per cent of the mar­ket value, through 2017.

Pop­u­lar­ity Sees Sim­i­lar Ve­hi­cles

Humvees pop­u­lar­ity has been such that sev­eral coun­tries have come up with sim­i­lar ve­hi­cle and they in­clude the Ti­una from Venezuela; GAZ-2975 Tigr from Rus­sia; Kouki­dousya which is with the Ja­panese Self De­fence Forces; Iveco LMV; Re­nault Sherpa, etc. Re­cently, Is­raeli Army bought 2,000 HMMWVs from the US Army.

Re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion

A large por­tion of the HMMWV fleet was built in the first six years of the pro­gramme, with life ex­pectancy of 15 years. By mid-1990s, the US Army’s Prod­uct Man­ager, Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cles, recog­nised the need to ad­dress the rapidly ris­ing op­er­a­tion and sup­port costs

as­so­ci­ated with th­ese age­ing ve­hi­cles and be­gan to de­velop a pro­gramme to re­build and up­grade the fleet of over 1,00,000 ve­hi­cles. The pro­gramme’s ini­tial ob­jec­tive was to re­turn HMMWVs to a near zero hours/miles con­di­tion to ex­tend their life for an ad­di­tional 21 years. As of Fe­bru­ary 2011, the HMMWV re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme had con­verted over 45,000 ve­hi­cles in to­tal.

Re­place­ment Pro­gramme

With cost and other fac­tors in­volved, now the US Army is look­ing for re­place­ment of Humvee and has se­lected three ve­hi­cles for the joint light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle (JLTV). Get­ting con­tracts val­ued at a com­bined $185 mil­lion (`925 crore) are AM Gen­eral, Lockheed Martin and Oshkosh. The pro­gramme is worth an es­ti­mated $20 bil­lion (`1,00,000 crore). The Army wants at least 20,000 JLTVs, with the po­ten­tial to buy a lot more. Of­fi­cials want to re­place a third of the 1,50,000 ve­hi­cle Humvee fleet with the JLTV. The Marine Corps plans to buy 5,500.

AM Gen­eral has put forth the JLTV pro­to­type called the blast re­sis­tant ve­hi­cle-off-road (BRV-O). Many have de­scribed it as a “Hum­mer on steroids.” Lockheed Martin along with BAE Sys­tems is an­other con­tender. The two beefed up force pro­tec­tion while cut­ting weight and cost dur­ing the tech­nol­ogy demon­stra­tion phase. It al­ready has con­ducted heli­copter lift tests—a crit­i­cal is­sue in early devel­op­ment—and has logged more than 2,56,000 test­ing kilo­me­tres. Oshkosh De­fense is an­other con­tender who has taken the success of the M-ATV’s mod­u­lar and scal­able pro­tec­tion and pack­aged it into the light com­bat tac­ti­cal all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle (L-ATV). The diesel-elec­tric power train was re­placed with an elec­tric power train, but mo­bil­ity is its key strength. The TAK-4i in­tel­li­gent sus­pen­sion sys­tem pro­vides up to 20 inches of in­de­pen­dent wheel travel. Th­ese com­bine to pro­vide a ve­hi­cle that is 50 per cent faster of­froad than the M-ATV.

Right-hand Drive Mar­ket

While the US mil­i­tary pro­gramme is on, AM Gen­eral is eye­ing global mil­i­tary spend­ing and tar­get­ing in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers who drive on the left side of the road. As such, about a sixth of its to­tal Humvee sales have been out­side the US and with the right-hand drive mar­ket, it hopes it will boost its rev­enues. Roughly 18 months and $10 mil­lion (`50 crore) in in­vest­ment later, the right-hand drive Humvee was launched by AM Gen­eral at the Sin­ga­pore Air Show in Fe­bru­ary 2012. AM Gen­eral is plan­ning to make in­road into mar­kets such as the UK, Ire­land, Ja­pan, In­dia, Pak­istan, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Thai­land, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, South Africa and many more where ve­hi­cles are driven on the left side of the road.

“We stud­ied the right-hand drive mar­ket and re­alised that there is no other light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle avail­able that can com­pete with the HMMWV,” said Rick Al­paugh, Vice Pres­i­dent, In­ter­na­tional Sales, AM Gen­eral. “We worked very closely with our de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing and pro­duc­tion teams to en­sure that the right-hand drive HMMWV meets the same high qual­ity stan­dards as the left­hand drive HMMWVs in use with the US Mil­i­tary.” This is one of three new in­ter­na­tion­ally fo­cused HMMWV models the com­pany is now of­fer­ing—aim­ing to ex­pand be­yond the 68 coun­tries it is in. Nearly 50,000 Humvees are in use in th­ese coun­tries. AM Gen­eral not only builds the most ver­sa­tile, de­pend­able and mo­bile light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle in the mar­ket, but also pro­vides a to­tal package so­lu­tion to in­clude train­ing, parts and sup­port to the user.

Keep­ing with the chang­ing trends, AM Gen­eral also an­nounced the launch of a new pro­gramme to sell civil­ian Humvee kits com­prised of cer­tain mil­i­tary-style Humvee body and chas­sis com­po­nents mi­nus the power-train. Ini­tial or­ders for this oneof-a-kind kit are now be­ing taken at the newly launched Humvee C-Se­ries web­site, gen­uine­humveekit.com, for the base price of $59,995 (`29,99,999). The Humvee C-Se­ries kit will of­fer the best in in­dus­try mo­bil­ity tech­nol­ogy with a host of off-road ready op­tions, in­clud­ing AM Gen­eral’s cen­tral tire in­fla­tion sys­tem, elec­tronic lock­ing dif­fer­en­tials and oth­ers. The ini­tial C-Se­ries of­fer­ing is a soft top body style.

The Humvee has in­deed come a long way. Wher­ever Amer­i­can sol­diers go, their Humvees go with them, at least, un­til now.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: AM Gen­eral

AM Gen­eral, with the right-hand drive ver­sion of Humvee, is look­ing east­wards to cater to the re­quire­ments of cus­tomers who mostly op­er­ate on right-hand drive

un­like their west­ern coun­ter­parts

PHO­TO­GRAPH: AM Gen­eral

AM Gen­eral not only builds the most ver­sa­tile, de­pend­able and mo­bile light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle in the mar­ket, but also pro­vides a to­tal package so­lu­tion to in­clude train­ing, parts and sup­port to the user

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.