XM1109/M1109 HMMWV Up-Armored Armament Carrier

The M1109 HMMWV was the first so-called Up-Armored variant. It was an armament carrier configuration. The vehicle was equipped with additional armor both on the sides and underneath to protect the crew from small arms ammunition and mines.

The Up-Armored HMMWV was designed to conduct reconnaissance and security operations as its primary function. Up-Armored HMMWVs were to be organic to the scout platoons of the armored, infantry, and mechanized infantry battalions. Up-Armored HMMWV-mounted scouts would enhance the capability of scout platoons to provide accurate and timely information about the enemy and the area of operations.

During reconnaissance operations, the scouts could provide the commander with a mobile reconnaissance platform to perform detailed route, zone, and area reconnaissance; prevent surprise by enemy forces; and help retain the freedom to maneuver. The speed, mobility, and stealth of the Up-Armored HMMWV would also allow the scout to extend the depth of reconnaissance, providing increased security and additional time and maneuver space for the commander. Due to its small signature relative to the M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle, the Up-Armored HMMWV could provide the stealth necessary to conduct detailed reconnaissance in areas where contact with the enemy was possible. This information would then be rapidly reported to higher headquarters through secure radio means or by physical delivery (particularly during periods of reduced electronic communications).

Security operations were also significantly enhanced by Up-Armored HMMWV-mounted scouts. In screen missions, scouts operating independently, or in conjunction with other reconnaissance elements, could be used to establish observation posts to the front or flank of the maneuver force, patrol between observation posts, and cover gaps between forces. In rear areas, Up-Armored HMMWV-mounted scouts would enhance security by patrolling primary lines of communication, providing threat early warning to rear area units, and reconnoitering potential threat landing and drop zones.

The development of the M1109 began in the early 1990s based on lessons learned from the first Gulf War in and other observations. In 1990, the Army adopted a wheeled vehicle solution of 10 HMMWVs as the best organization for the battalion scout platoon. The Army made this decision based upon analysis and operational testing.

After its adoption, the HMMWV had mixed reviews from scouts and commanders. In the Gulf War, concern over the HMMWV's survivability and its lack of night vision equipment caused some commanders to use Bradleys in lieu of the HMMWVs. The vulnerability of the HMMWV experienced during peacekeeping operations during 1992 and 1993 also led to the rapid procurement of an up-armored configuration of the HMMWV for Somalia. Given these concerns, several initiatives were taken to improve the HMMWV to meet the needs of the scouts.

Survivability was seen as the HMMWV's chief limitation as a scout vehicle. Recognition of this led to the development of requirements for an up-armored variant, the M1109. Development of the up-armored variant was accelerated to deliver a survivable vehicle to the Military Police in Somalia. However, the requirements were originally developed for the battalion HMMWV scout vehicle.

The requirements for the M1109 included:

  • Underbody protection for the crew compartment against mines and unexploded ordnance of 1 pound explosive weight (up to 12 pounds was desirable and appeared possible)
  • Three hundred sixty degree ballistic protection for the crew from small arms up to 7.62-mm NATO Armor Piercing ammunition
  • Overhead protection from artillery fragmentation exploding from 20m to 100m from the HMMWV
  • A 2,300 pound payload

Another initiative to improve the HMMWVs was the Scout Platoon Modification Kit (SPMK). The SPMK requirements were developed to accommodate necessary and forthcoming improvements to HMMWV capabilities and included:

  • Mounting and power for the AN/UAS-11 or AN/UAS-12 Tube Launched Optically Tracked Wire Guided Missiles (TOW) sights (or later scout sights/sensor systems)
  • Provision for two Single Channel Ground and Airborne - VHF (SINCGARS) radios and mounts
  • Global Positioning System and mounting provisions
  • Vehicular intercom.
  • A 100-ampere (AMP) alternator to power the new systems
  • Cargo and equipment stowage systems

Both the up-armored HMMWV and SPMK were funded for limited production as of late 1994. The exact distribution of the uparmored HMMWV would be dependent on funding. It was seen as critical that all HMMWV scouts have the capability offered by the M1109 and SPMK.

The up-armored HMMWV with the SPMK would intended to solve the most glaring vehicle deficiencies. However, the fact remained that the HMMWV was not designed as a scout vehicle. It was not optimized for the role and represented only a minimally acceptable scout vehicle.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list