CMC Joyride – The New HUMVEE Capsule

Tuesday Marine Commandant General Jim “Not in My Corps” Conway took a spin in a HUMVEE– not just any HUMVEE, but the newly designed HUMVEE capsule.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab has been evaluating the combat vehicle that offers more protection to its occupants than current variants. “It’s not an MRAP,” cautions one project leader discouraging comparisons with the behemoth mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle. But, he confesses, even general officers have been so encouraged by the HUMVEE capsule, they come away with the impression it can do what MRAP does. “It is NOT an MRAP,” he repeats.

The HUMVEE with capsule is still the reliable vehicle it has been— just safer. Exactly how safe has not yet been determined. The capsule bolts on to the existing HUMVEE chassis and essentially forms an armor-protective bubble around the occupants. It has a V-shaped bottom, similar to the MRAP, which helps survivability in case of an explosion. The capsule may allow the Marine Corps to use the smaller, lighter and more maneuverable HUMVEE in areas where the MRAP may be impractical.

There have been other challenges. The current HUMVEE can be cramped, especially once the occupants don their battle gear. The heating system has long been a problem, taking up a lot of space and forcing occupants to endure temperature extremes.

Occupants rejoice! The HUMVEE capsule, a big-boy vehicle, is roomier, more comfortable and the heating system no longer juts through the front seat.

Much has been said about the smorgasbord of tactical vehicles the Army and Marine Corps currently have, a lot of it negative. At a recent expo, we were astounded at the number of Marine vehicles. The be-all, end-all Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, has its drawbacks, weighing in at a reported 22,000 pounds. There are reports that Conway says the JTLV will not work for his light, mobile units. Lighter than most JTLVs, the HUMVEE capsule may provide an option tactical.

The HUMVEE capsule seems to be just what the warfighter ordered. Though “Better late than never” is the Corps’ new motto, all seem happy with this HUMVEE variant. If Conway can fit in this thing comfortably (let’s call him a substantial big boy) the possibilities for this Marine mover are endless.

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