Light but Protected – Near-Term HMMWV Replacements


Vehicles and armor protection: Considering the excessive weight and challenging issues confronting strategic and tactical mobility, vehicle manufacturers are realizing that there is a potential gap between the ‘light’ up-armored HMMWV and the heavy MRAP, which could be exploited by a lightweight, ‘compact’ mine-protected armored vehicle, offering improved mobility without compromising protection. Two companies introduced such vehicles at MDM – Protected Vehicles with the new Protector and Force Protection, displaying the Cheetah.

Protected Vehicles Inc. introduced at Modern Day Marine 2007 the Protector – lightweight 4×4 mine-protected armored vehicle designed to replace up-armored HMMWVs for high threat missions. At maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 14,500 lbs in the hard top version, the Protector, accommodating a crew of 8 (driver, commander and six troops) is optimized for missions where up-armored HMMWVs are not adequately protected, while the heavier MRAP does not have the required mobility and maneuverability to perform a wide diversity of missions. These could include urban combat, reconnaissance and patrol, transport for combat engineering teams, command and control and casualties evacuation.

Protector offers good off-road and cross-country mobility and a turning radius of about 5 meters. According to sources at PVI, the Protector is ready for production and although not yet meeting the full specs of JLTV, it has substantial growth-potential to meet such requirements in the future.

Unlike current MRAPs, the Protector is designed to operate equally on and off-road, is lightweight and small enough to be transportable in a C-130 and CH-47. Maximum road speed of 70 mph can be maintained even carrying maximum payload, with an operational range of up to 500 miles. The Protector comes with a choice of two diesel engines, a GM Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 developing 300 hp, delivering 540 ft/lbs torque, or a Cummins QSB 6.7L diesel, delivering the same torque.

The vehicle is offered in both, hardtop (fully protected) and soft top configurations. The hardtop version carries a payload of 7,000 – 9,500 lbs while the soft top can carry up to 12,000 lbs of payloads. Despite its low weight, Protector provides full protection from mines, IEDs and small arms. It is fitted with basic armor (A kit) protecting against small arms for the body and windows. Protector carries a weapon mount for 0.50 or M240/249 machine guns and provides rifle ports on all sides. The vehicle can be fitted with Hutchinson runflat tires and is protected from mine explosions, both under the wheels and centerline. Protection level can be enhanced to meet specific requirements. For example, a B kit protecting up to 0.50 Cal weighs about 1,100 lbs, and full IED, FSP and EFP protection would weigh up to 5,000 lbs.

Force Protection introduce the Cheetah

Cheetah, developed by Force protection Inc. is a 4×4 light armored protected vehicle designed for reconnaissance, forward command and control and urban operations. The vehicle uses a monocoque V shaped hull, external lightweight armor, internal spall liners and blast mitigation materials are used to protect the crew and vehicle from explosion by heavy mines under the vehicle or wheels (7.5 – 15 kg of TNT explosives). It also protects against roadside improvised explosive devices (RSIED). The basic vehicle is bulletproof against 7.62/51 cal. gunfire. The armor is upgradable to protect against larger calibers, including 0.50 Cal AP. Cheetah has a curb weight, (with basic armor) of 14,000 pounds, allowing for 10,000 pounds of payload. Its weight and dimensions allow for two vehicles to be air-transported inside a single C-130 Hercules. The vehicle is powered by a Cummins ISB series 300 HP engine running at 2800 rpm, accelerating the vehicle to 50 Mph in 13.5 seconds. At cruising speed of 65 Mph the vehicle can travel for 700 miles without refueling.

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