$80.8M More in the Up-Armored Humvee Two-Step
Creating the US Army’s ubiquitous (and mine-vulnerable) up-armored Humvees is a two-step process. First, one procures the vehicle itself, usually a variant with uprated suspension et. al. designed to accommodate the weight of the armor and other add-ons. This is only partly successful, as up-armored Humvees will still wear out far faster than more lightly armored varieties. In step two, a different firm produces and/or adds armor and other useful survivability improvements – including smart choices like gun shields. This, too, is useful but only partly successful, as the HMMWV’s flat bottom leaves it more vulnerable to IED mines than vehicles like the RG-31 with V-bottom hulls. RG-31s are in use by the US 101st Airborne in Iraq, and will soon see service with Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Australian forces, meanwhile, use ADI’s larger Bushmaster IMV.
A pair of recent contract awards illustrate the up-armored HMMWV two-step process. They do not necessarily pertain to the same vehicles, but they are illustrative when juxtaposed.
AM General L.L.C. in South Bend, IN recently received a $46.4 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for the M1114 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. Work will be performed in South Bend, IN, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 17, 2000 by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (DAAE07-01-C-S001).
O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. in Fairfield, OH received a $34.4 firm-fixed-price contract for Up-Armor High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles with Gun Shield. Work will be performed in Fairfield, OH and is expected to be complete by July 31, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on April 10, 2000 by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (DAAE07-00-C-S019).