After the Vietnam war, the Pentagon was ready to replace the rapidly aging fleet of Jeeps that had been in service for the past few decades. In 1983, the military’s top brass commissioned a $1 billion contract to AM General, a company that originally made postal vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, and other military vehicles under the American Motors umbrella, and was then owned by LTV Aerospace and Defense (via MotorTrend). The military wanted a vehicle that could do it all: ford streams, climb over heavy terrain, safely transport soldiers and supplies, and serve as a weapons platform for offensive combat operations.
The M998 HMMWV was the result, but soldiers eventually gave it the “Humvee” and “Hummer” moniker we know today. It first saw limited combat during the United States’ invasion of Panama in 1989, but the Humvee really kicked the training wheels off against the forces of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm (via History). The newly debuted Humvee took part in the coalition force’s ground campaign where it was used as a platform for not only the TOW anti-tank missile but the Browning M2 heavy machine gun and M240 belt-fed machine gun.
Under the hood, the newest variant of the Humvee, the HMMWV M1167, sports a 6.5L turbocharged diesel V8 and features a modular construction to allow for more weapons, armor, medical, or surveillance equipment.