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Are Up-Armored Humvees Killing Soldiers?

During the great "Bash Bush because not every Humvee was Armored" era, I wrote a long piece on the engineering challenges involved in up-armoring Humvees. (**see extended entry) A new story in the USA Today confirms it was not as simple as everyone thought.

Humvee crashes perplex Army

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

The Army is baffled by a recent spate of vehicle accidents in Iraq -- many of them rollovers involving armored Humvees -- that have claimed more than a dozen lives this year.

One key concern: Soldiers lack the skills to handle the heavier Humvees and are losing control as they speed through ambush areas before insurgents detonate roadside bombs.

"An individual feels that if he goes faster he can avoid that threat," says Lt. Col. Michael Tarutani, an Army official tracking the accidents. "But now he's exceeded, first, maybe his capabilities, and then maybe the speed for those conditions."

In the past four full months, the numbers of serious vehicle accidents and fatalities in Iraq have more than doubled from the previous four months, records provided by the Army show. In the first 10 weeks of this year, 14 soldiers were killed in accidents involving Humvees or trucks. All but one died in rollovers. If that rate continues, the number of soldiers killed in such accidents this year would be almost double the 39 soldiers killed in 2004. Detailed records involving Marines were not available.

The Army is trying to determine whether the dramatic increase in the number of Humvees in use in Iraq -- or an increase in the amount of miles they are being driven -- might explain the higher number of accidents. It also is questioning whether the handling and center of gravity in Humvees may have been altered by armor plating bolted on in Iraq or shields added around gun turrets.

Adding to the mystery is that many of the rollover accidents involve the newest generation of factory-produced armored Humvees, vehicles thoroughly tested by the Army and with an even lower center of gravity than those without armor plating.

That really should come as no mystery to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of engineering or physics. It's called momentum. If you skid 3000 pound vehicles to a sideways stop, you will flip a certain number of them. Try that with an additional 2000 pounds of armor and you will flip a whole lot more of them. Center of gravity be damned.

I'm not going to bore you with a bunch of math -and this is simple "back of the envelope" calculations anyway- but consider this...

Momentum = Mass * Velocity. (p=m*v)
Lets pretend you can take a 3000 pound Hummvee and turn it sideways up to 30MPH before it flips. (3000lbs*30mph=90,000) So it be said that when sideways momentum exceeds 90,000 the vehicle flips. Now let's do the math backwards to see when a 5000 pound Humvee flips. 90,000/5000lbs = 18MPH Almost half the speed.

You can't lower the center of gravity low enough to fight math like that. (even admittedly rough math)

So let me say this as clearly as I can. Up-armoring Humvees has killed people. But that is not the question. The question is; Has it saved more than it killed? I don't know that answer. I presume it has. (In effect, that question is at the basis of all engineering problems.)

What this shows is that military and engineering problems should be decided by military people and engineers and not rabid Democrats willing to compromise our soldiers' safety to gain political power.

In case you read that wrong, I'm not in any way suggesting that armoring Humvees has caused MORE soldiers to die. I doubt that to be the case. (though I would like to see the numbers) Again my point is that physics does not care about which political party wants power.

Leave the engineering to engineers and not people on the campaign trail.

**The post I mentioned above never got published. I was about 2/3rds of the way thru writing my post when Jay posted something less technical but similar enough that I just orphaned mine. For the sake of reference, here is my previously unfinished post from December 11, 2004:

Humvee Armor Problem more complicated than it looks

To the average civilian, it seems ludicrous that all Humvee's should not be armored. And to be sure, the folks on the left are trying to make the fact that they aren't into a political issue. But like so many things in life, it just ain't as simple as it looks.

To start at the beginning -after all I might have a liberal or 2 reading- I'll begin with the name. Humvee is the way we pronounce HMMWV which stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

Let's start with the high mobility part. The Humvee replaced the perennial Army Jeep. [link] The Jeep served us well for XXX years but it suffered from a few drawbacks. For starters, the damn thing flipped over and killed people. That is why the Humvee is so wide. As the name implies, a major part of the design specification was that the vehicle be "highly mobile." The Humvee was never designed to be an armored combat vehicle. That's why we have Strikers and Bradleys.

Now- I'll let you in on a military secret nobody on the left has figured out. Armor is heavy. Real heavy.

Adding an armor kit to a Humvee can add as much as 2200 pounds to the weight of the vehicle. To put that into perspective, that is almost as much as the weight of a Toyota Corolla. If you've ever towed a trailer, you know how the added weight affects your vehicle. Imagine if we took your car and tossed a Toyota Corolla on top. It would cause a host of problems.

The tires could not handle the weight. The engine would strain, the transmission, rear end, brakes, cooling, etc, etc, etc all need to be upgraded. It is simply not possible to Fed-Ex these guys a "Humvee Armor Kit in a Box" and tell them to have at it. If only engineering were that simple.

If you add 2000 pounds to the weight of a 3000 pound vehicle you then create a slow moving target that is very likely to break down when you need to move the fastest. The Army is, for obvious reasons, reluctant to make the guys over there to stop doing their own in field armor, but in the end, they many not be any safer. The vehicle will not move as fast, nor stop as fast.

A friend of mine is presently in Germany on his way home. He was in Iraq for 3 weeks when his "self armored" Humvee was in an accident because the driver could not stop the thing fast enough. One guy died and my friend will require multiple surgeries on his back and will never be the same. Did the weight of the retrofitted armor make the difference? I have no idea. But the incident serves to illustrate that you just can't slap a bunch of metal on a Humvee and magically declare it armored. There is more to it than that. These guys may think they are making themselves safer but, paradoxically, they may be putting themselves, statistically, in greater danger.

The newest model of the Up Armored Humvee is the M1114. It has a bigger engine, better brakes, different transmission it even has a heaver chassis. (That's main structural frame.) In a completely different machine than a non-armored HUMVEE. [and there I left it...]

(mini update: Jay points out my units of mass should be kilos and not pounds. The units are irrelevant, the math/physics still stays the same. )


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Comments (43)

Who'd of thought it. Oh wa... (Below threshold)

Who'd of thought it. Oh wait, me! As a Humvee mechanic for five years, this does not come as much of a surprise. We didn't have armor on trucks in the light infantry for a reason.

lol Paul, you want to reall... (Below threshold)

lol Paul, you want to really get into it, draw the free body diagram, including the center of mass(gravity). In statics, one of the more central things we examined was at what point will an object tip or will it continue slipping?

Examine the moments on the car produced by its reactionary forces with the ground (through the tires). If the reactionary forces counteract the momentum force sideways acting on the center of gravity, then it will slip, if it can't, then it will tip, and roll.

I forgot to mention that it... (Below threshold)

I forgot to mention that its not the "reactionary" force, it's the friction force that will tell if it will slip or tip. Friction always act sideways to the ground.

Paul, I'm glad you finally ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Paul, I'm glad you finally found a "hook" for your piece. I felt so guilty when I saw I'd inadvertently buried your piece... it was a lot better, technically, than mine.


"What this shows is that mi... (Below threshold)

"What this shows is that military and engineering problems should be decided by military people and engineers and not rabid Democrats willing to compromise our soldiers' safety to gain political power."

Yeah but shouldn't these questions and possible solutions have been weighed before we went in? Of course, for that to have happened, the people at the top of the chain of command would have had to be honest with themselves about all the possibilities of a post-war environment. The central liberal beef here is that for the post-invasion planning was based entirely on ideological assumptions and not real expectations and certainly not the laws of physics. The Bush administratin was trying to prove an ideological point about its plans to tranform the military and the nature of American might. So reality was made to fit the plan not the other way around.

Somewhere along the line it was decided that the post-war period would be a cake walk with minor mopping up to do and no other possibility was ever given credence. I understand that conditions on the ground can change in ways that no one could expect but a terrorist insurgency was surely always a real possibility. Shouldn't we have planned for that first with heavier vehicles and drivers trained accordingly?

Paul, not to nit-pick, but ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Paul, not to nit-pick, but your math is predicated on a 3,000-lb. Humvee. My Chevy Cavalier weighs nearly that much. I think you're off by at least half...


Hmmm.re: Frameone<... (Below threshold)


re: Frameone

We're discussing Iraq, not Kosovo. Just an FYI.

duh- Kilograms, I wa... (Below threshold)

duh- Kilograms, I was "translating" from science speak to english for the readers...

I typed the wrong unit but the math stays the same. Good eyes though.

do you guys get paid making... (Below threshold)

do you guys get paid making up excuses for the administartions blunders or are you just volunteering?
Was it not the administration that said there would be no cost to rebuid and that they would great us with flowers? I think that this belittles the war hero's that have fallen by not putting blame where it belongs. Shame on you.

frameone you are missing th... (Below threshold)

frameone you are missing the point.

Follow the "was never designed" link.

Dems want to whine that Humvees are not tanks. Humvees can't fly either but the Air Force still uses them.

Silly & Frameone....<... (Below threshold)
Bucky Katt:

Silly & Frameone....

You do realize that the original spec's for the Humvee's were developed in 1979. By your reasoning we should be blaming Jimmy Carter.

Neither one of you know jack-shit about design and development, AoA, supportability and any of the other stuff that goes into an initial acquisition or upgrade. So please..do everyone a favor and STFU.

Paul is right, but there ar... (Below threshold)

Paul is right, but there are still a bunch more negatives to consider with the up-armoring. A few off the top of my head:

Fuel economy is going to take a big hit: How many more times do they have to stop and refuel now? How many more fuel transport trucks and deliveries are required? How much does this reduce the mission range?

Wear and tear: How much earlier will the brakes, transmissions, etc fail? Will the standard hours between service need to be decreased, leading to more humvees out of service at any particular time? How many more soldiers have been stranded because of increased breakdowns?

Functionality: How many soldiers got stuck in sand or mud, where they could have driven through easily before the up-armoring? How many routes had to be changed to avoid bridges that can’t support the extra weight?

Logistics: How much more fuel does it take to ship the up-armored Humvees (by land , sea, or air)? How many more pilots have been put at risk by the need to fly extra delivery missions, or by flying slower during take off or landing, or just by hauling something that they hadn’t had experience with before?

These are some of the issues that factor into the “You go to war with the army you have” quote.

Yes, I don't know jack shit... (Below threshold)

Yes, I don't know jack shit about design issues. I know even less about military planning. So let me ask a few questions.
First, if the Humvee was never designed to be an armored vehicle why was it deployed in this conflict as a primary combat vehicle from the beginning of the invasion?
Second, why are you suggesting that it was somehow the Democratic Party that decided to add armor kits to these humvees? Are you saying that liberal bullied the Pentagon into ignoring the laws of physics?

I believe it has to do w... (Below threshold)

I believe it has to do with education. These are issues that the military seems to be aware of, so why not inform the troops of these issues. You don't give a soldier a new gun unless you're sure that they've had the proper training for the weapon, so why not make sure that the soldiers have some training with the new vehicles before throwing them into a battlefield with one.

Why hasn't the military thought of that?! Wait! They did! From the original story:

The Army also is developing a four-hour supplemental driving course for soldiers, particularly those being sent to Iraq, Tarutani says.

Of course, training takes time. And when you've been trained one way, re-learning the same skill takes time and you'll often revert to the old way when under stress. And, unless you've missed the freaking news for the last, oh, six months or so, the big push was to get these vehicles to the units in combat ASAP. Heck, the press even manufactured a controversy over it by misquoting the SecDef when he said everything was being done as quickly as possible.

What would the reactions have been if someone in the chain of command had said, "Hey, we're getting these to the field as quickly as possible, but the units in combat can't have them because they won't have the necessary training. Their replacements, once they rotate in, will have the vehicles and the training"?

>>First, if the Humvee was ... (Below threshold)

>>First, if the Humvee was never designed to be an armored vehicle why was it deployed in this conflict as a primary combat vehicle from the beginning of the invasion?

It wasn't. You don't know much about military doctrine either.

>>Second, why are you suggesting that it was somehow the Democratic Party that decided to add armor kits to these humvees? Are you saying that liberal bullied the Pentagon into ignoring the laws of physics?

Yes. Do you not read the news?

Interesting analysis of cha... (Below threshold)

Interesting analysis of chassis dynamics. Forwarded this to the dynamicist Van Valkenburgh to get his comments on your back of envelope calcs, etc. Will forward his comments for your consideration when received.

I think the only place wher... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

I think the only place where Humvees were deployed as the primary combat vehicle was Somalia. That's why we found ourselves borrowing Pakistani armored cars to rescue our people. For that decision, we get to thank Les Aspin (demorcrat).

Les's motto was "You go to war with less than the army you have".

Second, why are you sugg... (Below threshold)

Second, why are you suggesting that it was somehow the Democratic Party that decided to add armor kits to these humvees? Are you saying that liberal bullied the Pentagon into ignoring the laws of physics?

Yes. Do you not read the news?

Here's the news, from The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) October 27, 2003 Monday (Sorry, no link, got if off Lexis Nexis).

Of the 109 U.S. soldiers killed in action since May 1, about 30 died in incidents involving improvised mines -- most in
Humvees -- and several others in the vehicles have been killed by small-arms fire.

Lacking the factory-armored Humvees, troops have been rigging their own versions with sandbags and boxes made of plywood or cardboard and filled with sand.

In May, there were 235 up-armored Humvees in Iraq, said Maj. Gary Tallman, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon. In August and September, military leaders placed successively larger requests for more. In August, they boosted the target to 1,233, then quickly decided that wasn't enough and requested 174 more. Last month, they raised the target again, to 3,000.

In late September, Gen. John Keane, the Army's vice chief of staff, told Congress there were about 800 in Iraq at that point. "We do not have as many armored Humvees as we would like," he said.

Paul, the military up-armored Humvees because soldiers were dying, not because the Democrats told them to.

with all due respect, I dou... (Below threshold)

with all due respect, I doubt Van Valkenburgh will care about our little discussion.

But if he does, I have this question about a 69 Chevelle convertible...

Let's review mantis, you ci... (Below threshold)

Let's review mantis, you cite the media coverage as your proof that the media coverage (ala Dems whining) did not effect things.

Not real convincing.

What else can I cite but me... (Below threshold)

What else can I cite but media reports? The first reports in the media about the armor on Humvees and IEDs were late Sept. 2003, but as you can see from the military's own statements, the up-armoring of Humvees started before that. They recognized a problem and started to fix it, then later politicians and media made a big deal about it because soldiers kept dying in Humvees.

Let's review, you dismiss my post simply because it comes from a newspaper despite the substance.

Not real convincing.

">>First, if the Humvee was... (Below threshold)

">>First, if the Humvee was never designed to be an armored vehicle why was it deployed in this conflict as a primary combat vehicle from the beginning of the invasion?

It wasn't. You don't know much about military doctrine either."

From Generation Kill p. 50:
"Unlike the Humvees used by elite Army units, which have armor and air-conditioning, most of First Recons Humvee's don;t even have doors or roofs. Some teams modified them by welding in extra racks for ammo and removing windshields so they can fire their rifles through them."

The rest of Evan Wright's book recounts his days with First Recon which was assigned a rather odd kinf od recon role: basically drive into cities and see if they get shot at. Wright describes how these guys were at the "tip of the spear" of the American advance. They weren't doing recon for the advance, they were the advance. What am I missing then.

">>Second, why are you sugg... (Below threshold)

">>Second, why are you suggesting that it was somehow the Democratic Party that decided to add armor kits to these humvees? Are you saying that liberal bullied the Pentagon into ignoring the laws of physics?

Yes. Do you not read the news?"

You'll also notice in the Generation Kill quote I cite above that the soldiers began modifying their humvees straight away. In the doc Gunner Palace we see footage of soldiers dicussing their own "up armor" improvements consisting of scrap metal welded to the side and floors of Humvees, footage that was shot long before this became a big public issue.

Given this I can't believe in all this that you insist on laying the blame here at the Democrats door and not, even remotely, the Pentagon officials who had to decide how to respond to a changing siutation on the ground. Seriously, what you're saying -- even in the face of the chronological facts -- is that Rumsfeld caved to Democratic demands to up armor vehicles? As if Rumsfeld or anyone in the BUsh administration ever gave a hoot what Kerry has to say. I thought that's why we were supposed to admire them.

BTW thanks for the link to ... (Below threshold)

BTW thanks for the link to the Humvee information. It was an illuminating read. You could definitley say that the regular Humvee was well suited for First Recon's activities, as decribed in Wright's book, but it's clear as the invasion progressed that First Recon was asked more and more to take on assignments that the humvees weren't well prepared or equipped for.
I was also interested by this pasaage from your link:

"In autumn 2003, responding to urgent calls from the field, requesting armor suits for the soft vehicles, the US Army launched a crash program to protect many of Humvees."

Would those be Democrats in the field?

Cherry picking quotes are w... (Below threshold)
Bucky Katt:

Cherry picking quotes are we, frameone.

First, I doubt you've read Generation Kill. If you had, then you would know that Even Wright was talking about his time being embedded with the First Recon of the U.S. Marines. Let's try and maintain some consistency here as you have now injected into this thread two different doctrines in regard to operations and how equipment is employed.

2nd why would I take anything a journalist says as gospel? I have 22 years under my belt in the military and journalists typically get it wrong when it comes to the military and the how and why of operations.

I'll repeat what I said earlier...the specs for the Humvee, based on the Army's concept of operations, were developed in 1979 while we were still fighting the cold war. Those conops were not developed with the Asymmetric/Non-Linear warfare scenarios that we now find ourselves in. Go google up National Defense Magazine and you'll find how the Army and Marine Corps are trying to approach the nexgen of trucks and vehicles to address this very issue. The "armor-up" is a stop-gap, not a real solution to the need.

Having been around the DoD acquisition side of the house for some 14 years, I can tell you that politics does indeed influence programs and who gets their slice of the DoD budget. I can't address specifically the Humvee program, but past experience says this does happen. Why do you think the V-22 has managed to hang on? It's congressional influence, baby.

You can be all pissy at Paul, but he and jmaster bring up some very valid points. We have slapped this additional armor on and we are paying for it in reduced reliablility, reduced operational range, increased failure rates and in more roll-over incidents with people getting killed.

The military is well aware ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

The military is well aware that armored Humvees are more likely to roll over. I had a class on driving them for my military license about 2 years ago, and this point was stressed quite a bit.

Frameone, I don't blame the Democrats for causing any of this, since the troops wanted the armor anyways, but I most definitely do despise them for making cheap political hay out of this and other procurement issues when usually they are the ones who voted against things we needed in the field. (for example, remember all that furor over the question someone asked Rumsfeld about the armor? The process of armoring ALL of that unit's Humvees was already mostly finished, and was actually completed less than 24 hours later.)

What 1st recon was doing is called "movement to contact". There is nothing at all odd about it, it is advancing to find the enemy. The quickest way to find them is when they start shooting at you. Civilians never seem to understand this -- I recall someone throwing a hissy fit over the mention (by Rumsfeld, IIRC) of military operations intended to gather intelligence, as if this was something new and insidious. It's as old as war: advance the scouts, and see if the enemy is there. Perhaps those who objected had some notion of commandos doing James Bond crap. Who knows.

As for Humvees themselves, they are a vehicle, not a weapon. They are for moving men and materiel from point A to point B; the gun turrrets are there so the troops can try to break an ambush without dismounting (plus, Humvees can carry heavier weapons than a soldier can -- automatic grenade launchers, and the like) Humvess are (in general) not meant for assaulting, thats why we have M1's, Bradleys, Strykers, and so on.

The military is a whole different world, and talking about stuff like this with people who are not familiar with it is usually pointless. Most people don't understand the basic hows and whys of modern warfare.

Bucky -- I read Ge... (Below threshold)

Bucky --

I read Generation Kill cover to cover but yes, failed to make or remember the distinction. I'm not a military veteran and know little about military operations and culture which is why I read the book. I thought it was an amazing work of reporting.

Despite my limited knowledge of military operations I have no illusions that politics weighs heavily on military budgets, planning procurement. That said, Paul may make great point about the new operational challenges presented by up-armored humvees but it seems obvious from everything I've read, including your post, that the demand for modifications began with the military and soldiers on the ground. If you guys are saying that Democratic demands pushed the military to use a half-assed, stop gap measure your chronology is simply wrong. As far as I've been able to discern, the think-skinned humvees started getting up armored well before it became an issue in the presidential campaign.

Another thing I will note, is that in readin Generation Kill the military as an institution comes off as a bureaucratic nightmare in my mind. It seems perfectly feasible in my mind that the Pentagon could come up with a half-assed, stop-gap measure all on its own.

Tim -- No one has ... (Below threshold)

Tim --

No one has yet to explain why this supposedly planted question to Rumsfeld produced cheers and applause from the surrounding soldiers. But that aside, listen, I'm asking questions here to understand this siutation better.
If you think the Democrats sole purpose of talking about this issue is to score political points, hey, I ain't going to convince you otherwise. You'd be hard pressed to convince me that when Republicans wrap themselves in yellow ribbons they aren't engaging in a little political haymaking themselves when there's ample evidence that they hold fast to tax cuts in while proposing cuts to a whole slew of programs that benefit soldiers and veterans.

this supposedly planted ... (Below threshold)

this supposedly planted question

There's "reality based" for ya. Tell us, Frameone, were Dan Rather's Killian memos produced on a typewriter in your universe?

frameone: I'm sorta curiou... (Below threshold)

frameone: I'm sorta curious here and elsewhere, this site....if your life is so stressed as you elsewhere write that it is, why all the time on Wizbang to pontificate and postulate about such generalities? So far, over the many threads you've populated, you appear with a general naysaying something regardless of what anyone else writes and your only points are that you're a Democrat, support 'gay marrige' and that's your argument. You're using various topics to reassert one or both or either of those points time and time again and that, oh yeah, you're intelligently debating while all the rest of us are lost in "Stupid Conservative Land." Thereabouts.

Other than that, what's your interest in Wizbang? Or conservatives? We can debate the two political party's all you want if and when that's the thread theme but so far, you attempt to manipulate any/all possible thread issues into your general areas of interest (see above paragraph). Or, is it your intent to just make it all about you, time and time again?

Let's recap: conservatives, the Republican Party supports and funds the Department of Defense and liberals, the Democratic Party, seeks to reduce funding for the Department of Defense. Is that general enough for you?

From there we can move on into other generalities, however vague and inaccurate, if that'd do.

- Erm Paul. If you use your... (Below threshold)

- Erm Paul. If you use your progressive logic and insert a 90,000 lb Humvee in the last formula, you're saying a velocity of 1 mph does the job. I don't think even you would try to claim that. The problem is you're talking about a linear process, a costant velocity, when in fact a roadside explosion and its blast effects on the "acceleration of an essentially static body (since in general the humvee is moving perpendicular to the vector max thrust of the blast). A non-linear formula. the energy required to accelerate a body will increase as the square of the desired velocity threshold required to flip the humvee. So increasing the weight will increase the desired energy required which common sense tells you anyway. The problem is the bad guys can increase the power of the explosives far easier than it is to build progessively heavier and larger vehicles that can still remain effective in terms of speed and fuel economy......

We went into World War II w... (Below threshold)

We went into World War II with the jeep, notorious for rolling over also, but many commanders have creditied it for winning the war. It's tendency to roll over killed a huge amount of or soldiers but we went with what we had. The same people that are complaining about the Hummers now are the same ones that were complaining about what it costs to field a well equipped army before the war and will be doing the same when this war is done. It's impossible to please liberals, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I don't care if they are pleased with the way things are done, they are the minority. It's the duty of the majority to protect them from themsleves, whether they are smart enough to realize they need the protection or not. Their whole ideology is about making someone else responsible, then they condemn the ones that are willing to accept the responisiblity, like I said, damned if we do, damned if we don't......

Good Grief Big Bang Hunter.... (Below threshold)

Good Grief Big Bang Hunter... I know all that. I'm using a simplistic example to show how adding mass changes the dynamics of the system.

I said twice it was a crude example.

If this were a physics blog or an engeering blog, I'd have more patience with your reply. If you think you can do a better job then by all means, go to it! Go to your blog and do it then do a trackback! But make it an effective example that won't put people to sleep.

In the mean time quit wasting my time with idiotic responses.

The same people that are... (Below threshold)

The same people that are complaining about the Hummers now are the same ones that were complaining about what it costs to field a well equipped army before the war and will be doing the same when this war is done.

The same people that are complaining about the Hummers now are the same ones that were complaining about what it costs to field a well equipped army before the war and will be doing the same when this war is done.

The same people that are complaining about the Hummers now are the same ones that were complaining about what it costs to field a well equipped army before the war and will be doing the same when this war is done.

The same people that are complaining about the Hummers now are the same ones that were complaining about what it costs to field a well equipped army before the war and will be doing the same when this war is done.

That could use being said a few more times.

Your "physics" is completel... (Below threshold)
George Weinberg:

Your "physics" is completely wrong. Momentum doesn't cause vehicles to tip, torque does. A vehicle will tip if the torque caused by the centripital acceleration (which is m * h * v^2/r, where r is the radius of curvature and h is the height of the center of mass) exceeds the gravitational torque (which is m * g * w, where g is the gravitational acceleration of 9.8 m/s^2 and w is half the width of the wheel base). M cancels out, of course, and that means that the speed a vehicle can go around a turn is independent of the mass provided that the center of mass doesn't change. This conclusion should be intuitively obvious to anyone with even one year of physics.

George, you, me and Big Ban... (Below threshold)

George, you, me and Big Bang already have that down, Paul was making it simple for the stupid laypeople who have no engineering background. Oh, and its not physics that gets you to really understand that, its dynamics. I never got into that complicated stuff in newtonian physic, I did however in dynamics.

And to be honest, even Paul... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

And to be honest, even Paul didn't simlify it well enough for me, other than I can appreciate that adding lots more weight to a vehicle makes it more difficult to drive, and that the people driving them need to be taught how to handle them.

And while they are doing this, it sounds like the engineers need to go to the drawing board to come up with a better vehicle that serves the same purpose, and provides better protection without the huge risks of rollover-but this will take time and money, and I suspect that if the pentagon asked for more money to develop them, the very democratic politicians attacking the administration right now, would be the first to say it wasn't needed.

> it sounds like the engine... (Below threshold)

> it sounds like the engineers need to go to the drawing board to come up with a better vehicle that serves the same purpose, and provides better protection

Just Me, that is the whole point.. (the one you missed.)

We have vehicles that provide better protection. They are called Bradley fighting vehicles. The Humvee was designed to do one thing and do it well. It did that.

NOW they want to change the mission. You can't have a lightweight (er that's relative) fuel efficient (also relative) highly mobile vehicle that ALSO provides full armor. They are mutually exclusive.

You would not buy a Mazda RX8 then complain that it did not haul a refrigerator for you. Or a motorcycle and complain it does not carry 10 people.

The engineers did their job well... Then politics moved the bar.

Oh Georgie.... What causes ... (Below threshold)

Oh Georgie.... What causes the centripital[sic] acceleration?

Thank you for playing.

And while we're talking abo... (Below threshold)

And while we're talking about appropriate vehicles for the job at hand, let's not forget the Stryker.

Remember how controversial that one was?

Its turning out to be damn near ideal for the streets of Iraq.

And while we're talking ... (Below threshold)

And while we're talking about appropriate vehicles for the job at hand, let's not forget the Stryker.

I misread this as, "And while we're talking about appropriate vehicles for the hand job. . . " Thanks for the laughs.

Only my grandmother calls m... (Below threshold)
George Weinberg:

Only my grandmother calls me "Georgie". Are you my grandmother? Thn it's "Dr. Weinberg" (PhD physics) to you.

Look, Paul, use your head. Don't try to teach physics when you don't know physics. You must know that Humvees can take a given turn faster without rolling than jeeps can, right? So a more massive vehicle is NOT intrinsically more likely to roll, it's ALL about center of gravity and wheel base.

- Hmmmm .... first time in ... (Below threshold)

- Hmmmm .... first time in 45 years of aerospace engineering anyone ever called me idiotic for discussing a problem in energy and weight displacement. Maybe thats why my humvee's didn't tip over so easy .... think maybe Paul.....






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