The military is going to decide within the next six months whether or not to go ahead with the Commercially Based Tactical Truck (COMBATT) program which would utilize slightly modified civilian pick-up trucks to replace many Humvees for light duties.
The program aims to reduce U.S. Army costs by using modified production pickups for light tactical transportation needs. The U.S. Army currently relies on expensive Humvee (the military version of the civilian Hummer H1) for those purposes. “You don’t need a Humvee just to run around the base,” Wend reasons. “We want the Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Wend says the U.S. National Guard needs to replace some 5,000-10,000 Humvees that have been shipped to the Middle East.
Declining to provide specific dollar figures, Wend pegs the cost savings of replacing a Humvee with a COMBATT pickup at 25%. Retail pricing for a Hummer H1 begins at roughly $101,000 while a Chevy Silverado begins at less than $19,000.
Wend says sharing research and development expenses also can save money. “That way the technology isn’t exclusive to the military,” says Wend. “And we can bring technology to the marketplace faster.”
A decision regarding COMBATT has been slowed because the Army added requirements for the pickups. For example, the pickups must be 4-door crew cabs and have an on-board generator. Eventually, the duty of COMBATT pickups could be expanded to the battlefield.
I see some advantages to this. We’ll see.