02 August 2016

Bringing back the Jeep

War History Online has an article about an old friend making a comeback:

75 years ago last December, the US military adopted the jeep. The military jeep was eventually replaced with the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), known as the Humvee. Now the Army is considering bringing back the Jeep.
The Army is looking for lightweight combat vehicles for infantry brigade combat teams, which sound a lot like what they started using back in 1940. While in World War One, the Army realized the need for a lighter, cross-country reconnaissance vehicle. In July of 1940, the military sent their formalized requirements to 135 auto manufacturers.
Two companies initially joined the process, the American Bantam Car Company, and Willys-Overland MotorsFord joined shortly after. Bantam won the bid and provided a prototype for testing. Bantam was unable to produce sufficient quantities for the Army, so the blueprints were sent to Willys and Ford. In turn, each developed their own prototypes. Willys’ prototype won out, with its larger engine.
During World War Two, Willys produced nearly four hundred thousand jeeps. It couldn’t keep up with the demand, though, so Ford produced another three hundred thousand.
The origin of the name is debated. Some say that any vehicle being tested was called a Jeep by Army mechanics. Others say that it was named after a Popeye character, Eugene the Jeep. A third option is that the name comes from GP, for General Purpose.
The jeep went through many upgrades and modifications as it continued to serve as the primary lightweight, go-anywhere vehicle for the Army through both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In the 1980s, the military began to seek other alternatives. They chose a larger vehicle that could still go where the jeep could, but could also assume the duties of some other light military vehicles.
The Humvee was first used in Operation Just Cause, when the US invaded Panama in 1989. This was also the final operation of the jeep.
After 25 years of service, it is clear that the Humvee can not do all things. This isn’t the end for the Humvee, but the military will be putting more versatile alternatives to use.
Many of these units will start to be phased out by the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), made by Oshkosh.
The JLTV isn’t the first alternative offered by the military. They already use the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP), which are armored vehicles designed to withstand landmines. Approximately twelve thousand MRAPs were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 to 2012.
Currently in its initial production stage, the JLTV will undergo live fire and reliability testing. There are also other options the Army is looking at from Polaris, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing-MSI Defense.
The Army worked with Hendrick Dynamics to develop a modified Jeep Wrangler with a modified JP-8 diesel engine. This is considered a Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) vehicle and was popularly named the Commando. It is officially called the Grand Mobility Vehicle (GMV). “We’re right in the transition to light mobility for our military,” said Marshall Carlson, Hendrick Dynamics’ general manager. “This is much lighter than the JLTV, and it won’t be armored; it is what is being called a ‘better boot’. The GMV is for those light infantry and airborne infantry that can only move across the battlefield by walking at three mph. This is literally a people-mover that can go anywhere.”
Hendrick Dynamics is contracting the Jeeps from Chrysler to bring the iconic vehicle back into the military. “Chrysler has been a great supporter of this program,” added Carlson, “These are the export versions with the diesel engines, and we’re modifying these for the military to provide that needed mobility.”
Rico says it's been missed...

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