What does the word safety mean? Does it mean protecting yourself from harm? Safety should convey a feeling that you are secure in your current position, whether that is physical, emotional or psychological? Safety means different things to daifferent people. Safety is “the state of being safe; freedom from the risk of injury, danger, or loss” (Merriam-Webster dictionary online, n. d. ). One group that stands out for being safety conscious is our military servicemen and women. They put their lives on the line everyday so that Americans can feel safe.
Our military men and women should feel safe in the vehicle that they travel in 90 percent of the time. What can be done to make their Humvees safer? Improvements should be made to their equipment as the times change. Since its first introduction in 1979, many improvements have been made to the Humvee to increase military safety. The Humvee is the most versatile vehicle in use no only by the U. S. Army, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Navy, which is scattered throughout not only overseas but throughout the United States. The Humvee offers exceptional agility, mobility, as well as exceptional speed.
It is built on a multipurpose platform made to accommodate a wide range of configurations. It features a full-time four wheel drive, an independent suspension, the ability to approach and depart on steep angles, as well as 16 inches of grounded clearance. Although it was released in 1979 to the military, preliminary design work on the M998 Series High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV also pronounced Humvee) began in 1981 with Am General receiving the prototype contract from the U. S. Army. After a five-month development and operational testing phase, this 1.
25 ton truck was intended to replace the previous M151 and other lighter tactical vehicles. The U. S. Army in August 1989 again awarded a new multi-year contract for the production of more than 33,000 Humvees. Although they didn’t begin until the late 1990s the first deliveries under this new contract made. Having multiple options available for choosing soon made the mere 33,000 rise to more than 50,000. Sticking with Am General from the prototype till 1994 they were offered an additional contract. The most recent U. S. Army contract, 2000-2009, resulted in over 65,000 more Humvees being built through 2007.
Being delivered to over 50 friendly overseas nations as well as the United States more than 200,000 vehicles have been built and delivered. Prominent in U. S. military action in Panama in 1989-90 and even more so in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 better known as the workhorse, the Humvee won high praise for the U. S. Troops. (AM General, 2012) Even more recently; the Humvee has played important roles in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, it has been said that wherever American Soldiers go, their Humvees go with them. (AM General, 2012)
The purpose-built version of the Humvee intended to provide better protection for not only the crew but also for the vehicle itself was the M1114 UAH (Up-Armored Humvee). Based on the success of a previous M1109 model that debuted in May 1994, the M1114 features a revised location for armor, with protection across various points on the basic HMMWV design. Again this was a task that the U. S. Army entrusted in the hands of Am General, providing the basic Humvee frame while the armor and its general locations where to be handled by the experts of O’Gara-Hess Eisenhardt.
Later after many months, and hours after hours of work a prototype would emerge as the XM1114. September 1995 the XM1114 went through a series of ballistic trials to test and see how valid the concept would be in future use. Consisting of welded aluminum, composite and steel the existing Humvee frame was integrated with armor. The basic armor protection allowed not only for the vehicle to be able to stop 7. 62mm ammunition, the front half of the vehicle could withstand a mine blast of up to 12 pounds, while the rear of the vehicle could withstand a mine blast up to 4 pounds.
This also allowed the Humvee and its crew members to survive fragmentation blasts from a 155mm artillery round. While the exterior got the attention that it needed the interior was also receiving some attention. The cabin was revised to feature fragmentation-defending armor should any of the munitions be able to penetrate into the cabin. After the experimental phase in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December 1995, the first production M1114 UAH was made available in January 1996. (Military Factory 2009)
Being able to fit an array of weapons the M1114 had a 360-degree traversable weapons ring mount. This array of weapons goes from the Browning M2HB . 50 caliber machine gun, the M240 or M60 7. 62mm general purpose machine guns, the M249 5. 56mm SAW to the Mk 19 Mod 4 40mm automatic grenade launcher but offered little protection for the weapons operator. This in turn opened the door for O’Gara-Hess Eisenhardt to later fit the M1114 with a better, more helpful forward-facing armor shield kit, made available in 2004.
This ultimately later allowed the early M1114 systems to be retrofitted with this revised armor protection system. “The M1114 has since proven ultimately helpful in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan where the vehicle can face attack from a variety of weapons and munitions from any direction at any given moment – leaving many of her crew the chance to fight another day even when the M1114 they’re in is listed as a total loss. ” (Military Factory, 2009) Commanders now days are calling for a more modern vehicle that is more suited for the 21st century.
Even with the 1970’s designed Humvee being named as the military’s all around workhorse just about the same amount of time as the Jeep was. Many may recall the old Jeep of World War II’s fame and view todays new and improved Humvee as a new modern up to date vehicle. A more long term project, the ULTRA 3T, will have to involve a ground-up re thinking of military vehicles to reshape what we call the battlefield. A technical fellow with Georgia Tech Research Institute, Mike Dudzik states; The Humvee is based on the 1970’s technology and has been incrementally modified until it’s reaching the end of its capacity.
The ULTRA design matches the best of modern commercial automotive technology coupled with NASCAR experience, novel design concepts, and research advances in lightweight armor to maximize fight ability and protection. Robinson, 2005 p. 2 In other words the old Humvee is no longer stable enough to provide the protection needed for our soldiers today, so they are making something that is more modern and able to do a lot more than the standard issue Humvee. In both of the Vehicles, there are improvements being made in several key areas.
The first and the biggest issue is in the safety with their performance. Leaping ahead of the most current production vehicles, the new vehicles will use an integrated chassis, along with onboard computers to help integrate the steering, the suspension and the brakes to provide drivers with a better level of mobility and safety. The second and sometimes most crucial improvement is survivability, this is the main factor involving a vehicles’ ability to shield its occupants from any type of hostile action. Weather the hostile action is simple small arms fire, or a direct hit from an artillery shell.
Designed during the Cold War the Humvee did incorporate a light aluminum body so it could move fast in the hilly terrain. Since its introduction it has added many different armor packages that increase the safety and the protection of its occupants, but has also reduced its effectiveness because of the lack of speed which unfortunately increases its vulnerability. The added weight of the extra armor also wears and tears on the vehicles’ parts a lot faster than normal and the lack of any type of air conditioning makes it hard on passengers in the hot desert terrains.
As it was observed, Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as IED’s, have become that major survivability concern. Mines have accounted for more than 60 percent of most vehicles lost in Vietnam and Desert Storm; even today a fully armored Humvee is still vulnerable to a mine blast. The last improvement that seems to be a major issue is portable power. The ULTRA 3T will provide up to a megawatt of power on the spot. Making it much easier to power the emerging battlefield concepts, even provide power to run command posts, communication gear and if the need were to arise, power an entire small village.
This calls for a hybrid engine that combines diesel and electric power. The new setup would not only provide power generation, but it would offer a more silent stealth mode when needed. (Robinson, 2005) This new engine would give the vehicle the ability to move faster essentially getting it out of harm’s way. The diesel development produces about twice the horsepower of the Humvee’s 1970s engine. Creating a less heavy armor, more flexibility as far as equipment that can be carried as well as being able to generate power is the biggest concern for most in creating this new vehicle.
To find the right fit for everything will take some time and many, many hours of planning and testing. With its many improvements through the years since being first introduced, the Humvee has since found its way to the end of the road. “It’s very different from designing the next sport utility or even the next racing car. There you fundamentally know that everything has been done before and what the rules are. Here, we’re taking a giant leap forward in technology to transform the battlefield. ” (Robinson, 2005).
What was once known as the HUMVEE is now being replaced by a more up-to-date vehicle that offers not only more equipment capabilities but more safety features. The new Humvee, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (also known as a JLTV) will bring new life to what once was a un-survivable battlefield. References AM General (2012) Company History Retrieved from http://www. amgeneral. com/corporate/history. php Bacon, L. (2012, February 6) Safety, cost cuts help JLTV overtake Humvee. The Army Times. Retrieved from: http://www.
armytimes. com/news/2012/02/army-jltv-safety-cost-cuts-help-overtake-humvee-020612w/ Military Factory (2009) HMMWV M1114 UAH (Up-Armored Humvee) Up-Armored HMMWV Armament Carried. Military Factory. Retrieved from http://www. militaryfactory. com/armor/detail. asp? armor_id=115 Robinson, Rick (2005) Better, Stronger, Faster: New Military Vehicle Will Improve Safety and Efficiency for Marine Corps. Research Horizons Magazine. Retrieved from: http://gtresearchnews. gatech. edu/newsrelease/ultra. htm