Armored vehicles

One of the striking effects of the Iraq war on military hardware was the hardening of vehicles. Even dedicated AFVs were further hardened (TUSK set for Abrams and other measures, I'll probably cover that in the next weeks).

Everyday use-vehicles like the HMMWV were hardened as well - first as increased production of pre-war armored versions and with improvised armor, later with improved armored versions.
Logistical trucks were hardened (well, the cabs) for almost the very first time.
Later we saw the revival of armored trucks that were strikingly similar to South African/Rhodesian designs of the 70's.

Remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS) became a hot item in the international 'defense' market after a while (an earlier reaction was to add WW2 and Vietnam-style gun shields).

Armor (against blast, bullets, outdated shaped charge warheads) has become almost a must-have for new military vehicles.

The trend looked similar in Afghanistan.

I consider light armor as a good idea.
Steel protection against 7.62mmx54R steel core and AP mines as well as a spall liner and fire extinguisher to limit the effects of penetrations is relatively cheap, light and thin.

I have some doubts about whether heavier armor is a really a good idea, though.

The benefits of the much heavier armor against RPGs and large IEDs are in my opinion rarely great enough to justify the increase in fuel consumption, maintenance requirements, ground pressure and width.

Let's recall that "jeeps" used to be small, cheap and nimble liaison vehicles. Light trucks were used for small cargo hauling like transport of wire and tools to a platoon. There's also such a thing like enemy air reconnaissance in many scenarios (and air supremacy cannot change that; or would F-22's hunt for 5 lbs photo drones?) - huge vehicles are simply disadvantageous at times.
Many small bridges cannot support the heavier MRAP models and unpaved, wet roads can be ruined by a column of heavy trucks.

The fuel consumption is an issue in itself. Armor costs cargo weight and space. You end up transporting less with the same fuel consumption or the same with a higher fuel consumption. The reduction of payload per vehicle means that march column/convoy lengths grow - the unit march speed declines.

My old (pre-2003) opinion was that armored brigades could use armored trucks to reduce the security requirements for their otherwise entirely 'soft' support units.
I didn't think that smallish jeep-like vehicles needed armor and I still don't.
I also believed that the need for armored vehicles in infantry-heavy brigades (which should fight in tank-unfriendly terrain) isn't very large in conventional war.

About occupation wars; well, you're doing something wrong if the local population wants to kill you, period. Armored vehicles don't change that.

I expect (and hope) that light, unarmored vehicles more comparable to a Jeep Wrangler than a "JLTV" or "MRAP 2" (whatever that will become) will be procured in large quantities once the Iraq war-induced overemphasis of non-combat vehicle armor faded away.
I expect the same for light trucks (2 to 3 ton range) because their payload suffers a lot by the (fixed weight penalty of a) armored cab.
Medium and heavy trucks can easily carry the extra weight of some armor, but bulky and simply not 'sexy' (a factor with too much relevance in peacetime) armor (like slat armor) as well as armor that limits the field of view (traffic accident problem!) won't survive in peacetime for long. They might get an exchangeable cab design - soft in peacetime, but with the option of a hard module for wartime (and of course too few actual hard modules in storage).

The present 'vehicle armor for everyone' drive is an exaggeration. Most non-combat vehicles should not be (well-)armored in most conflicts.

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