BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. military commanders in Iraq, where bombings pose the deadliest threat to their soldiers, have welcomed news the Pentagon wants to speed up production of upgraded armored Humvees, a military spokesman said Saturday.
The Army said Friday it was negotiating with an armor manufacturer, Florida-based Armor Holdings Inc., to accelerate production of upgraded M1114, or Level 1, Humvees. The company said it could boost monthly production from the current 450 vehicles to 550 in February or March.
“Commanders are looking for any opportunity to increase force protection for the sake of their troops,” said Maj. Neal O’Brien, spokesman for the Tikrit-based 1st Infantry Division. “Uparmor or add-on armor will always be one of those force protection assets they want more of.”
Sgt. Eric Grill, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said the request for boosted production first came in 2003, after homemade roadside bombs emerged as the insurgent weapon of choice in Iraq.
The most coveted Humvee among troops in Iraq is the M1114, which has protected glass windows and armament on its sides, front, rear, top and bottom.
“It’s known as an uparmored Humvee,” Grill said.
Almost 6,000 such Humvees already are in Iraq, he added. They cost about $150,000 each.