As UK and US troops undertake the mammoth task of leaving Afghanistan before the year is out, tens of thousands of AM General Humvees – one of the conflict’s most recognisable combat vehicles – are expected to be left behind.
Pat Ware, author of Haynes’ new AM General Humvee Manual, believes that the end of US involvement in Afghanistan will mean the end of the Humvee's combat role and the beginning of the end of its military career.
Since its introduction, in 1984, the popular AM General Humvee has served in US military operations in Bosnia, the former Yugoslavia, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 10,000 Humvees were deployed in Iraq and many tens of thousands more in Afghanistan since the conflicts began.
Despite its powerful V8 engine and innovative driveline, which provided an extraordinary level of off-road performance and the ability to reach high speeds on hard surfaces, when faced with the roadside bombs that were commonplace in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Humvee’s shortcomings became apparent, eventually signalling the end of this widespread combat vehicle.
In 2011, the US government announced that the Humvee would be replaced by the all-new joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV). Humvee production, at least for the US Army, ended with more than 281,000 examples constructed.
When the US Army pulls out at the end of 2014, thousands of Humvees are likely to be left to the Afghan Army, adding to the thousands already given to the Iraqi Army. During its twilight years, the Humvee will be assigned to operations away from the front line; in any forthcoming conflict, it will be the new JLTV that takes centre stage.
Ware says: “Sadly, for Humvee fans across the world, the end of the vehicle's military career is unlikely to change the US Army's policy on the sale of surplus Humvees to civilians. Unlike its distant cousin, the Jeep, military-surplus Humvees will probably never become commonplace and, despite the recent release by AM General of what is effectively a Humvee kit car, in civilian hands the Humvee will always remain a scarce – and thus very expensive – toy.”
The Am General Humvee Manual describes the AM General Humvee with a fascinating level of detail, covering the story of its development, setting the vehicle into its historical and military context and describing its key features. For would-be owners, the book also addresses the problems of finding, restoring and operating this US military workhorse.
About the author
Pat Ware has been a full-time motoring writer for the past 18 years, with more than 35 books to his name. Specialising in commercial and military-vehicle subjects, he has been a regular contributor to magazines such as Classic Military Vehicle, Classic Commercial Vehicle, and Supply Line for more than a decade. This is his sixth title for Haynes, with earlier subjects including the Jeep, Sherman Tank, and Military Land Rover. Visit www.haynes.co.uk for more details.
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