Sunday June 22nd marked the first reports that ISIS troops were using American-made Humvees in battle. As ISIS continues their expansion, they will likely continue to take control of equipment abandoned by defeated, retreating, and deserting Iraqi forces. Over the weekend, pictures of ISIS officers riding in American Humvees surfaced. Reports indicate that the Humvees are headed to Syria to assist ISIS's interests in the civil war.
The Humvee as we know it today has existed since 1984. Before that, the US army largely relied on armored Jeeps. Humvees weigh between 5 and 6,000 pounds depending on the level of armament, feature a 6.2 liter V8 diesel turbo engine, and can travel at a maximum speed of between 55 and 70 mph depending on how encumbered they are. The Humvee is a versatile vehicle. A variety of weapons can be mounted on the Humvee, including missiles and automatic weapons. The Humvee has also been used as a medical and communications vehicle.
Historically, the Humvee has performed well in combat operations in open areas. Despite lacking protection against serious weapons threats, Humvee losses were relatively low during the Gulf War. The Humvee's record in urban battlegrounds is far poorer; after the conflict in Somalia, U.S. brass began to re-evaluate the Humvee. Pressure to modify the vehicle heightened in 2004, as armor was added to many Humvees to mitigate the impact of IEDs during the Iraq War. The military is still unhappy with the Humvee despite these modifications. Armor kits can add up to 1,000 pounds to the vehicle. These kits don't fix the problem of the vulnerability of gunners on top of the vehicle. Also, the size of the Humvee has proven problematic, leading to limited deployment in Afganistan, where roads are narrow. The current plan is to eventually replace Humvees with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), currently under development.