Armor: The HMMWV Built For Hard Time

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May 30, 2014: Iraq has ordered 200 M1151A1 HMMWVs (hummers) at a cost of $505,000 each. This includes a ring mounted 12.7mm machine-gun, maintenance equipment, training and warranties. The M1151 is a hummer built to handle the additional weight of armor protection. Thus one of the key changes in the M1151 is a stronger suspension and a larger engine (a 6.5 liter turbo-diesel). This allows the vehicle to easily handle an additional 680 kg (1,500 pounds) of armor. More importantly, the armor is easily installed, or taken off. This allows the hummers to operate more efficiently without the armor when the threat of attack is much reduced. The M1151 also has some armor underneath. This is not a lot of protection against mines and roadside bombs, but it is better than none. The M1151 is basically an armored car, with a crew of four and a payload of one ton (plus two tons that can be towed.) Top speed is 80 kilometers an hour and a max range (on one tank, on roads) of 480 kilometers. All the armored protection is good against 7.62mm machine-guns and rifles, bombs, landmines and nearby bursting shells of up to 155mm.

The M1151 hummer also comes with Vehicle Emergency Escape (VEE) Windows. These are bulletproof windows with a latch system. It takes about five seconds to turn the latches and push the window forward. This enables troops to get out of vehicles that have rolled over, or gone into the water, and jammed the doors. If the vehicle catches fire, either from an accident or roadside bomb, the VEE has already proved to be a lifesaver since it was introduced in 2007.

A 2011 innovation make these vehicles as resistant to the blast effect of roadside bombs as an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle weighing more than twice as much. The solution was a chimney, made of lightweight, but very strong, material that vents most of the bomb blast upward, sparing the crew. For all these reasons the M1151A1 has become the preferred HMMWV model in areas where there is a lot of violence.

 

 


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