Washington: Bigger, tougher and meaner — that is what the Army wants from its Humvee fleet.
And according to the draft list of requirements issued by the service’s contracting shop for the iconic combat vehicle, the Army now has a plan to do just that.
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Dubbed the Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle (MECV), these revamped Humvees will still look like the vehicles that American forces have been using since 1989.
But the difference will be in the details, according to the performance requirements list issued by Army Contracting Command on July 29.
The Army will keep both the two-door and four-door versions of the Humvee, and the trucks will still haul both men and material in the field. But the MECV will have thicker armor and a larger cargo carrying capacity, compared to its older brothers.
Along with the additional armor, the service also included a requirement that soldiers must have access to escape exits if the vehicle flips or rolls over. Humvee rollovers are one of the main causes of non-combat related deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the end, the modifications included in the MECV program will “regain vehicle performance and payload consumed by the addition of armor to the legacy force, adequately protect the crew from operational threats, and incorporate lessons learned from current operations.”
And those lessons learned from current operations have been harsh ones.
The improvised explosive devices planted by Afghan and Iraqi insurgents, along with weapons like rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, exposed fatal flaws in the light-armored Humvee.
An up-armored version of the Humvee and the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle did help close those gaps, but the tactical vehicle fleet is still dominated by those weaker Humvees.
In July, then Army Chief of Staff nominee Gen. Ray Odierno told the Hill that the service was in the process of taking care of the problem. DoD has already begun strengthening certain versions of the MRAP that are vulnerable to a particular kind of IED, known as an explosively formed penetrator, built by Iran.
The MECV requirements list comes just as the Army is preparing for a wide-scale Pentagon review of its entire ground combat fleet, scheduled for this week.