U.S. Army sees Humvee role diminish as MRAP gains relevancy

The United States Army will buy its last Humvee vehicle in the next couple of weeks, as the military instead transitions to Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.  

Humvees have been used in the military since the 1980s, but have been called "death traps" since they are so ineffective against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by insurgents in Iraq  and Afghanistan.

As previously reported last October, the U.S. military worked as fast as possible to ship MRAP to Afghanistan, where thousands of troops battle insurgents.  The MRAP uses a V-shaped hull that is more blast resistant than current Humvees -- and are smaller, more mobile vehicles since they are light.

"The single-biggest reason for the demise of the Humvee was that it was never designed for the level of force protection that we feel we must have," said Loren Thompson, Lexington Institute military analyst, in a recent interview.  "America is facing a range of enemies we never thought we were going to have to deal with.  They use cell phones to detonate roadside bombs."

The Army and Marine Corps have had a difficult time dealing with new dangers faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, but changes are slowly being made to reduce the number of U.S. casualties.

Military officials warned in 1994 after a failed mission in Somalia that Humvees had major safety flaws related to explosions -- but the warnings were largely ignored.

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