Despite the Army and Marine Corps adoption of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle made by Oshkosh as its new combat vehicle, most soldiers and Marines will be riding in the Humvee for likely the next two decades.

To update and maintain that fleet the company that manufactures the Humvee, AM General, has created new variants, expanded its foreign market sales and partnered with the National Guard to rebuild existing Humvees into near-new vehicles.

AM General brought Washington D.C.-area defense media, including a Military Times reporter, to its South Bend, Indiana, headquarters and Humvee driver testing all-terrain facility in September to showcase its newest variants and discuss changes to foreign sales.

The company touts the lightweight versatility of the vehicle, noting that eight can be carried on a C-130 transport plane and all variants can be carried by helicopter.

One version, unveiled last year and under further testing, holds the Hawkeye M20 105mm cannon that can rotate 360 degrees.

Nguyen Trinh, vice president of International Operations and Integration for AM General, said that recent testing showed it took soldiers less than three minutes to fire a round from the time they stopped the vehicle.

The testers could sustain three rounds per minute, having as many as eight rounds in the air before the first landed and move the vehicle, Trinh said.

The company recently finished live fire demonstrations at Camp Atterbury, Indiana for international customers. The Hawkeye is scheduled to participate in the Maneuver Fires Integration Exercise at Fort Sill, Oklahoma at the end of the year and has an air drop tested expected in early 2018.

AM General has entered its fifth year of a recapitalization program with the Army National Guard to rebuild legacy Humvees. The Guard has more than 40,000 Humvees, many of which are more than 25 years old, according to Guard officials.

Congress has provided $100 million annually to rebuild the fleet. So far, 2,300 recapitalized Humvees are in service in the Guard.

But the Guard and current fleet maintenance are not the only ways the company plans to extend the life of the 30-year-old vehicle.

Three weeks after AM General announced a 5-year, $2.2 billion contract to build the vehicles for other nations it had received orders for one quarter, or $550 million, worth of trucks and parts from nine countries.

AM General President and CEO Andy Hove told reporters at its South Bend, Indiana facility that the company may need to look at raising the $2.2 billion ceiling on the contract to meet demand.

The contract is run through the U.S. government’s foreign military sales program and required approval to move the “rolling chassis” or complete base of a Humvee on a commercial sales approval list for sale to other nations. It currently allows for production and sale of 11,560 Humvees.

International sales have comprised half AM General’s sales for most of its history, Hove said, not including production for U.S. military operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. dn

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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