Procurement: Iraqis Get 8,000 Cheap Hummers


October 1, 2010: Over two years ago, the U.S. Army decided to give the Iraqis thousands of hummers, refurbishing them in Iraq, rather than shipping them back to the United States for this. The plan was to transfer some 8,000 armored Humvees to the Iraqi security forces. Over 4,000 were to be delivered in 2008, and the rest by the end of 2009. It cost the army about $30,000 per vehicle. Some 40 percent of the cost is the value of the used vehicle. The rest was for refurbishment, to be done in Iraq or Kuwait. Several hundred Iraqi Army mechanics were involved with the refurb, which provided them with experience in working on hummers. Completing the job took an additional year, because of the inability to scale up the refurbishment process as quickly as planned.

Still, the Iraqis ended up with 8,000 armored hummers, most of them M1114s. This was not the most heavily armored hummer, but it was adequate for the police and counter-terrorism work Iraqi police and troops are involved with. The more heavily armored hummers, like the M1151, wear out more quickly, and are more expensive to build and maintain.

The M1114 has been around since the 1990s. Originally designed for peacekeeping operations, it was meant for dangerous places like the Balkans. In 1998, only about 200 M1114s a year were being produced. The M1114 was based on a earlier armored hummer, that had served in the 1991 campaign in Kuwait.

The M1114 is basically an armored car, with a crew of four and a payload of one ton (plus two tons that can be towed.) A 190 horsepower engine gives it a top speed of 80 kilometers an hour and a max range (on one tank, on roads) of 480 kilometers. All the armored protection (against 7.62mm machine-guns and rifles, bombs, landmines and nearby bursting shells of up to 155mm) has more than doubled the cost of the M1114 ($165,000 compared to $65,000 for an unarmored model.)

The problem with putting two tons of armor on a hummer is that is causes more wear and tear to the vehicle, and they burn more fuel as well. This is especially true for a vehicle that is used day after day, in hot and dusty conditions. The extra weight is also in places that the vehicle designers did not plan on having additional weight. So the vehicles ride differently when armored. Drivers have to get used to it. The army would like to get rid of the armored hummers, and is working on a new vehicle design to replace the hummer.



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