With great fanfare in 1999, the U.S. Army announced it was going to equip units with armored cars. What few knew was that the army had quietly been fitting Hummer vehicles with armor throughout the 1990s. Lightweight armor, usually Kevlar or composites. Underbody armor provided protection against mines. In addition, a heavier weapon (.50 caliber machine-gun, 40mm automatic grenade launcher or TOW ATGM launcher) was mounted on top. Called "shellbacks," the armored and more heavily armed Hummers were good for recon, convoy protection or crowd control (a shell back was an intimidating looking beast, especially if the hostile mob was suspected of containing hostiles with AK-47s)..