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  1. #1

    M966 HMMWV TOW Missile Carrier w/ Basic Armor

    The M966 HMMWV TOW is one of my favorite Modern Warfare vehicle.

    The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) family of military American Military vehicles, in general, is the basis of many versions of warfare utility, with other weapons (and no external weapons), but the addition of a TOW on this vehicle is elegant, as much as it is lethal. The small mouse that can take out a lion!

    The M966 (and M996A1) were TOW Missile Carrier configurations of the HMMWV family. The vehicles were equipped with basic armor and a TOW launcher mounted on the roof of the vehicle. The vehicles were used to transport and launch TOW missiles to defeat armored vehicles. The weapons platform could be traversed 360 degrees. Weapon station azimuth was limited to 300 degrees left and right of vehicle centerline when Vehicle Power Conditioner (VPC) cables were connected. With the launcher installed, elevation was limited to 20 degrees and depression was limited to 10 degrees.

    The vehicles could climb 60 percent slopes and traverse a side slope of up to 40 percent fully loaded. The vehicles could ford hard bottom water crossing up to 30 inches without a deep water fording kit and up to 60 inches with the kit.

    An improved variant with the A1 series modifications was also produced. The only difference between the M966 and M966A1 TOW carriers and the M1036 and M1036A1 TOW carriers was that the M966 types did not have self-recovery winches and the M1036 did.

    M966 variants fitted with any of a variety of add-on armor packages as part of near term armor programs, beginning in 2003 were designated with a "P1" after their respective model number.

    U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Joshua Logsdon, with Battle Landing Team 22, Combined Anti-Armor Team, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), looks through the sight of a BGM-71 Tow missile mounted on top of a Humvee during a 26th MEU weapons and vehicle static display at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Feb. 17, 2007. The event showed Camp Lemonier personnel various equipment the 26th MEU uses in a battle zone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette/Released)

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  2. #2

    Background Story

    The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, was created as a light, multipurpose, off-road vehicle that would supersede the venerable jeep and other light trucks. Its first acronym, HMMWV, was unpronounceable, so the name Humvee was adopted by the U.S. Army. That did not stick well either, and people started calling it the Hummer even before it came off the production line!

    The U.S. Army had continued to use the M38 and M38A1 Jeep after World War II. However, during the Korean War the U.S. Army Ordnance Truck Automotive Command (OTAC) began the process of forward thinking

    One of many pre-production prototypes

    In 1977, the U.S. Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) began a new project to find a single vehicle that could be used to perform a multitude of different functions including troop carrier, light cargo transport, armaments carrier, and ambulance. This was called the XM966 Combat Support Vehicle Program. Four companies responded with designs: AM General, Chrysler, Teledyne Continental, and Cadillac Gage.

    From an Armchair General article:

    AM General, with its front-engine design; high ground clearance; wide, versatile body; and large diesel or gasoline V8 with plenty of torque, was far ahead in its design of the HMMWV. This was also due to the fact that the new specifications were based on the need for more versatility, which included light tactical battlefield truck, utility truck, communication vehicle, troop carrier, ambulance, weapons carrier, and artillery tractor.

    The Humvee’s dimensions and weight (approximately four tons curb weight) would also have to be compatible with modern aircraft transportability standards. The Humvee’s design included this parameter. For example, the C-130 could take three Humvees, C-141B could take six, and the C-5A Galaxy could accommodate 15. A single vehicle would be transportable by helicopters such as UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, and CH-53E Super Stallion.

    When the contract was awarded, other specifications had been set. The vehicle had to ford 30 inches of water. It also had to be fast enough to keep up with the new Abrams tank and Bradley personnel carrier. Minimum ground clearance was to be 16 inches, and it had to have the capability to climb a 60 percent slope. It also had to remain stable on a 40 percent side slope and climb over an 18-inch step.

    By March 1980, AM General had tested its vehicles for more than 15,000 miles at its own facilities, and five new prototype copies were turned over to the privately run Nevada Auto Test Center. The first tested prototypes used a GM 372 cid diesel V8 with 130 hp, which was increased to 150 hp in the second version. The Chrysler A727 three-speed automatic transmission was included, along with the New Process NP218 two-speed transfer box. Four-wheel-drive was adopted so that soldiers did not have to stop to shift.

    AM General Wins the Contract

    TACOM finalized specifications in February 1981, sending out announcements to 61 companies. AM General, Teledyne, and Chrysler were the only three approved to submit final prototypes for testing. Each company had to build and test numerous prototypes in grueling conditions. AM General’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle was finally awarded the contract.

    Early production unit equipped for light transport.

    The article (see above) goes into great detail on the development and deployment of the vehicle, and you are encouraged to check it out.

    Many of us who are venerable (and somewhat fanatical) WWII buffs have a soft spot in our heart for the Willys Jeep, but I doubt any of us could say the Hummer wasn't a superior step forward!
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

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