This development vehicle clearly shows AM General will still be making bid to replace the roughly 140,000 Humvees already in service in the U.S. Military.
UPDATE July 24, 2007:
Not for highway use
While AM General's Humvee is a legendary military vehicle, the company has found themselves shut out of the Army's Tank and Automotive Command prototype competition for the FTTS (Future Tactical Truck System) that will replace the aging Humvee. However, this development vehicle clearly shows AM General will still be making bid to replace the roughly 140,000 Humvees already in service in the U.S. Military. AM General will face stiff competition for the FTTS contracts from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Force Protection Inc. and Navistar's military business division.
The first noticeable change is the revised hood, which may or may not be the final design. The new hood is designed to accommodate the repackaging of the air intake system as well as the cooling system being moved from above the motor to in front of the motor. We believe that's the radiator showing through the grill openings.
The "GEP No. 7" painted under the door is a reference to General Engine Products (a subsidiary of AM General.) We believe the motor underneath the ungainly hood is a revised version of the 6.5-litre diesel motor made by GEP. It's rumored that this motor has seen a significant increase in power due to improvements in the injection system as well as an improved combustion chamber design. Additionally, we believe a hybrid electric powertrain has been added to the big diesel motor to help with fuel economy and electricity generation.
The cab has clearly been revised and armoured with a heavier construction. AM General is likely utilizing a "blast tub" design where the vehicle as a whole might not survive a blast, but the occupants inside the armoured "tub" would survive. The use of reactive armour panels are also possible with the new vehicle. When hit with a projectile, reactive panels explode outward, deflecting the projectile. These panels are significantly lighter than conventional steel and are particularly effective against rocket propelled grenades.
According to our tape measure, the ground clearance has increased to an astonishing number. While the current Humvee sports a 16-inch ground clearance, we measured this prototype's clearance at 22.5 inches. Another impressive number on this vehicle shows up on the tires. A massive set of Goodyear 335/65R 22.5 tires adorns this test vehicle. The 22.5 inch wheels are held together with no less than 18 bolts and then attached to the vehicle with 8 more lugs. We weren't able to tell if a central tire inflation system was in place.
The last change we noticed were the larger, beefier air drop rings peeking through the hood. This seems to indicate the new vehicle will weigh more. The ballast weight we saw in the back of this test car also seem to indicate that this new military vehicle will be set-up to traverse the battlefield with heavier loads.