Humvee Doors Can Trap Troops




 
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Humvee Doors Can Trap Troops
 
May 7th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Humvee Doors Can Trap Troops


Humvee Doors Can Trap Troops
USA Today
May 7, 2007
Pg. 1
Army Adjusting Combat Vehicles
By Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today
WASHINGTON The Army is fixing the doors of every armored Humvee in combat in Iraq because they can jam shut during an attack and trap soldiers inside, Pentagon records and interviews show.
The door trouble, the latest in a series of problems with the Humvees since the Iraq war began, is an unintended consequence of the Pentagon's effort to add armor to protect troops from makeshift bombs. Improvised explosive devices are the No. 1 killer of U.S. troops in Iraq, causing 70% of injuries and deaths. Armored Humvees, the main troop-transport vehicle, are often targeted by insurgents who plant bombs on roads.
One quick fix to the jamming problem was to weld D-shaped hooks to Humvee doors so another truck could rip them off with a cable. The hook is built into the latest version of armor added to the Humvee, known as the Frag Kit 5, said Lt. Col. William Wiggins, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon. "Every Humvee outside (a fortified base) will have a hook," Wiggins said. There are about 18,000 Humvees in Iraq.
The Army plans to spend $284 million this year on armor kits, which also include improved latches and hinges for the heavier doors. The money was in the Iraq spending bill President Bush vetoed last week because it contained a troop-withdrawal timeline.
"The Humvee wasn't designed to withstand the kind of blasts our soldiers are getting hit with in Iraq," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. "This is just another reason why we need to get as many of the new MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles as possible into the field, as soon as possible"
The MRAP vehicle has a V-shaped hull and a raised chassis that better disperses the force of a blast. Biden recently won approval of a $1.5 billion amendment to the military spending bill to buy more MRAP vehicles.
The Pentagon does not generally identify vehicles in which troops are killed, making it impossible to determine the number killed because of the door problem.
When armor from the new kits is added, a Humvee door can weigh at least 600 pounds, said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., of the House Armed Services Committee. The Humvee has run its course as a useful vehicle, he said. "It wasn't designed for urban warfare."
The Marines have been fixing their Humvees in Anbar province as well, Maj. Jeff Pool, a spokesman based in Fallujah. They intend to replace all its Humvees with MRAP vehicles, while the Army plans to continue using some Humvees. Adm. William Fallon, in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, called "rapid fielding" of MRAPs a priority. Fallon heads U.S. Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tom Buckner, an owner of IbisTek, a small military contractor, said the Humvee door problem became apparent early in 2006. The company produces a device know as the Rat Claw, which grips the Humvee door, while cables attached to another truck rip it off. The military has bought about 1,500 of the $400 devices.
 


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