The U.S. Army began introducing
the humvees (or hummers) in 1984. This vehicle design, the first new vehicle
design since World War II (when the jeep and ¾ ton truck was introduced), was
expected to last for three decades or more. But that plan changed once Iraq was
invaded. As expected, hummers wore out a lot more quickly (five years) in
combat, than during peacetime use (14 years). So the army and marines are developing,
ahead of schedule, a new vehicle to supplement the hummer in combat zones.
Designs are being submitted, and the new vehicle is expected to be selected,
tested and enter production in five years. The army will buy at least 38,000 of
the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle), while the marines will buy about
The hummer will continue to be used outside of the
combat zone, where most troops spend most of their time. But the JLTV will be
built to better handle the beating vehicles take in the combat zone, including
a design that enables troops to quickly slide in armor and Kevlar panels to
make the vehicles bullet and blast proof.