Are you a military enthusiast and you want to learn something new about the military every day? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because we are going to cover all the types of military vehicles that are out there. And the United States has a lot of types of military vehicles, trust me.
Knowing this will not going to help you in any way except if you plan to enroll in the army. But a passion is a passion. Personally, except for cars, I’m really passionate about military hardware. Whenever I can, I spend some time learning the newest innovations in the military industry.
And trust me, knowing a lot, makes you a genius and the one that people will often ask what he thinks about the Abrams and tell them stories for hours. Knowing stuff like this will make you a lot of friends that are also passionate about these things and enjoy reading and learning new stuff every day.
That’s why we are going to learn a lot of things today. First, we will learn the basics of what is a military vehicle. What are the main characteristics of each of these vehicles? Then we will learn the types of military vehicles. We will cover them in detail and learn the characteristics of that specific type. We will stick to ground vehicles in order to simplify things and not go all over the place. So, let’s discuss.
What Is A Military Vehicle?
A military vehicle is a motorized vehicle that is aimed to do a specific task. And trust me, for each of these tasks, there are different types of military vehicles. Because not every vehicle can comply with all the demands. You cannot order a truck to go in attack when he only has a role to carry troops or carry equipment.
That’s why there are a lot of types of military vehicles. But more on that a bit later where we will cover this topic in detail. Now let’s stick to the main focus and that is the question of what is a military vehicle.
As we all know military vehicles need to participate in military roles that often require going off-road and over unapproachable terrain. So, these vehicles need to be designed with this in mind. They got to have a heavy-duty suspension that can withstand a lot of beating. And not only by the road surface but also by land mines and other enemy threats. And here the important aspect comes into play. That is the armor.
Characteristics Of Military Vehicles 1 – Armor
Every military vehicle needs to be equipped with armored plates of some kind. And the more involved the role in military action, the more armor should the vehicle carry. Tanks even have a couple of inches of armor plates in order to secure the crew like with the Abrams that have depleted uranium plates to stop the enemy projectiles.
Characteristics Of Military Vehicles 2 – Camouflage
There is also another aspect and that is camouflage. Military vehicles should implement a camouflage based on the terrain that they are fighting on. You cannot fight in the desert with green armor because the vehicles will be an easy target. Similarly, you cannot fight in a green forest with desert camouflage.
In addition to color schemes that are used in modern warfare. There are also other types of camouflage. Like smoke camouflage that tanks release when they are aimed with an anti-tank missile. Other types are electronic warfare elements like dazzlers and other powerful sensors that aid the survivability of that specific vehicle on the battleground.
Characteristics Of Military Vehicles 3 – Firing Station
And another important aspect is the firing station that a vehicle can have. This station is frequently located on top of the vehicle. Where is a turret located and a gunner is in charge with an LMG to protect the vehicle from hostile fire or to attack a specific position.
Some of these turrets are uncovered like in Humvees. While other turrets like tank turrets or IFV turrets are well protected from enemy fire. This guarantees the survivability of the crew and the gunner. But more on these terms later when we will cover the types of military vehicles.
Types Of Military Vehicles
We have covered the basics of the military vehicle and what are its main characteristics. Now it is time to cover the types of military vehicles that are out there. Since as we mentioned every vehicle has a specific role to comply on the battleground. So, let’s begin.
Prime Movers And Trucks
Although trucks are not fighting vehicles, they do all the hard work behind the curtain. They deliver crucial supplies to the troops in order to keep pushing on the battlefield.
They are made to win wars and are a crucial component of every war that has been won since WW1 when the first military trucks were put in service. And since then they serve very reliably and have won a lot of wars.
Some of them were civil applications that were converted for military use. While some of them are unique designs created for battlefield use only.
Battlefield-specific trucks are needed because they are built differently than trucks that are used elsewhere. They implement heavy-duty suspension with increased load capacity and beefier engines. Everything that is made for the military is at least ten times stronger than a regular vehicle.
In the US military, the prime truck role still has the good and reliable M939 which is a 5 ton truck with 6×6 suspension. 45,000 trucks were produced from this series and this truck is still the backbone of the US ground forces since 1982.
But there is also something more modern that is in use in the modern US army and that is the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles or FTMV. They come in different sizes, 4×4, 6×6. And in different tonnage capacities up to 10 tons. They were introduced in 1995 and until now there are more than 70,000 vehicles in use by the army.
And the last we are going to cover is the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. These are extremely heavy-duty 8×8 10-ton trucks that can carry a heavy load. They are the base of many different applications. Tankers, missile launchers, etc.
Light Utility Vehicles
Light Utility Vehicles are also one of the types of military vehicles and they are simply named LUV. They are basically the lightest vehicles that are out there on the front line. They are designed for simple tasks that need to be performed.
Tasks like carrying army officials and troops from one place to another, carrying equipment, or offering security to a convoy. These vehicles do not have very strong armor like other vehicles have. LUVs replaced the horses that were used before WW2 to carry on strikes on the enemy.
They are designed with the idea to be light and extremely fast in accomplishing their tasks. The prime example of a light utility vehicle is the Humvee. Or the Willys Jeep in the WW2. Still, modern LUVs are quite better protected than they used to be in the past. Most of the modern LUVs are bulletproof and they can prevent bullets from most of the light weapons. Except for armor-piercing bullets.
These vehicles during the years have advanced immensely in terms of protection and firepower that they implement. And now can easily support troops in non-demanding operations. Something that wasn’t possible in the past since the early vehicles were extremely poorly protected.
At the moment, there are many Humvee copies. For example, the Mega Cruiser by Toyota, Iveco LMV, Thales Australia, and the Russian GAZ 2975 Tigr. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon and tried to create a vehicle like the Humvee since this design has proven itself a lot during the Gulf Wars and the War in Afghanistan. Now let’s move to other types of military vehicles.
Mine Protected Vehicles
Mine protected vehicles are similar to LUVs but they are one level above them in terms of protection and firepower. They are packing a lot of power when it comes to tackling enemy units.
They are significantly bigger and they can deliver a better performance than the LUVs. Specifically, they are created to be highly resistant to light arms, land mines, and also explosives. The survivability of this vehicle is tweaked up to the max.
A clear example of a mine-protected vehicle is the Cougar. This is one of the most common vehicles used in the US Army and has greatly replaced the Humvee from the front line where the Humvee was used most of the time. This resulted in a lot of soldiers’ lives being saved through the years.
This vehicle started its production in 2002 and is built in big numbers and is used across the world in many different countries that need some extra protection for their troops.
This vehicle is available in 4×4 or 6×6 configuration and is powered by a powerful Caterpillar straight-6 engine that is outputting 330hp. It has an operational range of 600 miles.
Other vehicles of this type are the International M1224 Max Pro, which also fits the same role. This vehicle is also designed to replace the Humvee and also the APCs. Namely the M113 that we are going to cover next. The Cougar and the International are planned to be the backbone of US ground forces in the upcoming years.
Armored Personnel Carrier
When it comes to types of military vehicles, you cannot avoid the Armored Personnel Carriers also known as APCs. APCs exist for a long time and they have an important role in modern warfare.
They carry troops to crucial points where no other military vehicle can reach. APCs have a lot of armor that makes them withstand a lot of beating before they get destroyed. And as we said, this makes them the way to go when it comes to bringing more troops to the front safely.
The prime APC at the moment is the M113. But this APC was designed even before Vietnam. It has participated and won a number of wars. And it is still used by many countries across the world. But what makes this APC popular?
Well, that’s a simple thing to answer. What makes it popular is its armor and the reliability that it offers. These vehicles won a lot of wars and delivered personnel where many vehicles couldn’t. But this doesn’t mean that its days are not over. Although it was modernized during the long years of service. Its performance can match the performance of other military vehicles. And soon is destined to be replaced.
Namely, this vehicle is destined to be replaced by the Stryker which is better equipped and more modern, and also quite faster. Another candidate is the LAV-25 by General Dynamics. They are now produced and replacing the aging M113.
Amphibious Combat Vehicle
When it comes to types of military vehicles, we also need to mention the Amphibious Combat vehicles. They are similar to APCs but they can go over water and deliver a coastal attack.
They are loaded on special boats and are designed to carry troops and make sure that the troops arrive safely on the beach where they could enroll in fighting with the enemy.
The main amphibious vehicle in the US army is the AAV. It is a tracked vehicle which means that it uses tracks instead of wheels. When it comes to looks it is quite similar to the M113 but it has a different role to fulfill.
This vehicle has played a big role in the Persian Gulf War and also in the Iraq War. The US has more than 1,300 of them and they are also used by other countries like Taiwan, Japan, Italy, and Brazil among others. Enough about the amphibious APCs, now let’s cover other types of military vehicles.
Infantry Fighting Vehicles
When it comes to types of military vehicles, we cannot skip the Infantry Fighting Vehicle or IFV. The IFV is basically the backbone of every attack because these IFVs are equipped with anti-tank missiles, machine guns, and in addition to all this they are as durable as tanks and can carry troops.
They are APCs on steroids. They are winning the wars. Even though all that credit is stolen by the tanks. For example, the Bradley in the Gulf War has killed a lot more thanks than the Abrams.
Even though the tanks are unmatched when it comes to piercing enemy armor. The IFV can still score against a lot of tanks that were built in the Cold War. These include the T-55, T-64, and T72. The IFV can fire anti-tank missiles that can knock out these tanks with ease.
The greatest example of these types of military vehicles is the M2/M3 Bradley. The Bradley is one of the best when it comes to the effectiveness of these IFVs.
It is rather heavy, 30 tons, and can carry 3 crew personnel and also 7 soldiers. Which makes it to be the perfect APC. In addition to this, it can carry an M242 Machine gun as well as 2 TOW anti-tank missiles that almost never miss a chance to destroy an enemy tank.
As mentioned, the Bradley has killed more tanks than the Abrams in the Gulf War, which is insane for an IFV, and only 3 of these IFVs were lost to enemy fire.
But everything good comes to an end and the Bradley is due to be replaced with a new vehicle. The specs of the new vehicle are not yet known. So, we can only guess.
Tanks are also crucial types of military vehicles. They are tracked vehicles that are extremely heavy with more than 50 tonnes. And they carry the main gun that is mounted on a large turret. The average bore size is 120mm. But some guns can even go up to 150mm.
Tanks were types of military vehicles that shined in WW2 where the Germans were using their Tigers and Panthers against the Soviet T-34. And the Soviets have won the war by outnumbering the more powerful German tanks.
They used to be crucial pieces of equipment but not so much in recent years. With the invention of new precise anti-tank missiles, their impact has significantly reduced and now more capable IFVs have taken their role in delivering a strike to the enemy forces.
Tanks on the other hand have evolved into something else, and that is a vehicle to clear off cities from insurgents. The Gulf War was the last tank war, and that happened in the ’90s. This was the war where the Abrams shined with its incredible performance in destroying enemy targets. It basically obliterated the enemy without any major losses.
The main representative in the US Army is the Abrams tank used since 1980. This tank precisely was a real game-changer for the NATO forces because it outperformed anything that was out there from the Eastern Block. It incorporated depleted uranium protection that was rather impossible to penetrate with the anti-tank missiles and tank shells that were available at the time.
This tank has proven on a lot of battlegrounds during the long years of service and the US army does not have plans to replace it anytime soon.
Self Propelled Artillery
When it comes to types of military vehicles, we cannot avoid discussing self-propelled artillery. But what is self-propelled artillery?
The self-propelled artillery is basically an artillery gun that is mounted on top of a tank chassis. But why do you need self-propelled artillery, isn’t a regular artillery gun enough? No, it isn’t enough.
The ups when it comes to the self-propelled artillery is that it can move like a tank. You cannot move howitzers that quickly because they need to be towed by trucks that cannot always go over ditches and other terrains that are difficult to overcome.
That’s why self-propelled artillery guns were invented in order to fulfill this task and deliver a hit on enemy targets that are far away from the no man’s land.
Just to note that there are two types of self-propelled raillery and these are the classical howitzers that fire a shell and there are MLRS systems that fire rockets over enemy territory. But unlike regular rockets these work similar to the old fashion self-propelled systems.
But what is different is that they pack so much firepower that with only one launch they can obliterate a whole enemy unit if they are precise. Examples of these systems are the M270A1 and the M142.
Anti Aircraft System
Anti-aircraft systems are the key. Especially in these modern times if you want to defend a base or territory. As technology advanced, drones develop at a fast pace and they are almost impossible to defend from.
That’s why there are the types of military vehicles that are designed for anti-aircraft use. But besides aircraft, they can shoot down drones and also other small planes. A prime example of these systems is the M1097 Avenger that is mounted on a Humvee platform and this system is designed to shoot down small enemy targets.
Another type of anti-aircraft system is the Patriot. The Patriot is one of the best in its class when it comes to shooting down planes or other enemy equipment.
Conclusion – Types Of Military Vehicles
In this article, we learned what is a military vehicle. We noted the main characteristics that every vehicle should possess and that is the armor, firepower, and the ability to aid the troops in their efforts of defeating the enemy forces.
Then we have covered the types of military vehicles. There are many different types that can become confusing. But we dissected everything so you have a better idea of what vehicles the military is constituted of.
As we noted, there are light vehicles that include small protection when it comes to enemy fire, and then are the mine-proof vehicles, the APCs, the IFVs, tanks, artillery, and also the aircraft protection systems. All these types of military vehicles are crucial when it comes to delivering victory on the battlefield.