How Hummers Work

Hummer Models

Helicopters can airlift Humvees and transport them into the field.
Helicopters can airlift Humvees and transport them into the field.
Photo courtesy AM General

The 15 variations on the basic Hummer model allow the Army to use the same vehicle as a troop or cargo transport, weapons carrier, shelter carrier (a vehicle designed to transport electronic equipment) or ambulance. Some variations look almost identical, while others seem to be completely unrelated. All use the same frame, drive train geometry, suspension and lower body.

The current 15 variations fall into two different broad categories -- the A2 model series and the Expanded Capacity Vehicle (ECV) models. Nine models are in the A2 series, including the M1097A2 Cargo/Troop Carrier, the M1097A2 Shelter Carrier, the M997A2 Maxi-Ambulance with Basic Armor and the M1045A2 Armament/TOW Missile Carrier with Supplemental Armor. The TOW missile is a tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile designed to neutralize enemy tanks and aircraft.

The Army has lots of options when it comes to arming A2 Hummers. Some of the weapons you might find on one include:

  • A .50 caliber M2HB Machine Gun
  • The MK 19 40 mm Grenade Machine Gun
  • A 106mm Recoilless Rife
  • A Giat 30, M781 Cannon
  • TOW and TOW II Anti-Aircraft Missile Systems
  • Milan Anti-Armor Missile System

The Army also wanted some vehicles that could carry heavier payloads without a detrimental effect on the cars' mobility. AM General's response was the ECV series. The M1113 ECV is used in special operations missions and as a communications shelter carrier. The M1114 has upgraded ballistic protection and is used in military police and explosive disposal missions. The M1151 is an armament carrier and the M1152 can either be used as a troop carrier or shelter carrier. The M1165 is used as a command and control vehicle. The M1116 is the U.S. Air Force's variation on the Hummer, with a larger cargo area and turret gunner armor.

Just like a commercial vehicle, there's some optional equipment you can get on a military Hummer. The options available to both the Hummer and civilian vehicles are air conditioning, special paints, a hard top, central tire inflation system and a winch. Here are a few of the options the military can include that are definitely not available on your average set of wheels:

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  • Troop seats for up to eight soldiers
  • A deep water (up to 5 feet) fording kit with snorkel
  • An Arctic kit
  • A desert filtration package
  • Pedestal weapons mount
  • Special Ops configuration

In the next section, we'll look at how the Hummer invaded the civilian automobile market.