ANALYSIS

M1117 Guardian | The history of the Armored Security vehicles that saved many lives

Photo by US Army

The M1117 Guardian (ASV) is an armored security vehicle that was designed in the late 1990s, prototyped in February 1997 and its serial production began in nearly 2000.

This vehicle’s main weaponry comprises an MK-19 grenade launcher, an M2 Browning machine gun, and an M240H Medium Machine Gun but more weapons can be fitted with even an Belgian John Cockerill CSE 90LP turret that Colombia already equips on its M1117 fleet.

The vehicle was mainly used by the United States military police in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a better armored and armed Humvee, which wasn’t designed to be an armored fighting vehicle.

In the 1980s, the US military doctrine emphasized two distinct categories of equipment. On the front lines, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles were utilized, while unarmored utility vehicles were used for transport behind the lines.

In 1993, the US military forces were forced to fight through Mogadishu in unarmored Humvees, prompting the development of armored variants such as the M1117.

Numerous generals expressed their doubt on the real military benefits, but the US Military Police Corps, which was responsible for policing the “safe” back area behind the combat line, requested that the US Army order a small but consistent production of the bullet-resistant M1114 Humvee.

Photo By Sgt. Shannon Yount

The US Marine Corps was scheduled to conduct a test of a variant as part of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program. Textron was advised in May 2007 that it would not receive any additional MRAP orders following the failure of its vehicle submission to the Aberdeen Proving Ground’s ballistics testing.

In early 2008, Textron was given a $228 million contract to manufacture 329 M1117 Guardian equipped with the newest fragmentation protection kits. At the time, 2,058 M1117 were in production and on their way to the US Army.

What makes the M1117 Guardian so special?

The M1117 incorporates an innovative modular expandable armor package from IBD Deisenroth Engineering, consisting of a ceramic composite appliqué on the exterior and a spall liner on the interior.

The armor is sloped, exposing no vertical surfaces, deflecting multiple rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) impacts. If an RPG does hit the vehicle directly, it can still function, although crew survivability varies depending on the point at which the RPG impacts.

With a weight of 15 tons, the M1117 Guardian is 25 tons lighter than the similarly sized Stryker ICV, It measures 2.4 meters wide, compared to M2 Bradley’s 3.6 meters.

U.S. Marine Corps. photo by Lance Cpl. Julian Billmair (Released)

The crew has a superb peripheral and panoramic vision (360o) in its upper section. Its size and capabilities put it between the Humvee and the Stryker. The crew cabin is climate-controlled.

Angled armor is more resistant to attack than vertical armor due to the design of the V-shaped hulls diverting explosive forces, as opposed to a single-plane hull which takes the entire force impact.

The M1117 Guardians armor is supposed to sustain damage from small weapons fire, mines, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

M1117 Guardians in Iraq and Afghanistan have endured multiple IED assaults, some vehicles several times. One M1117 returned to its base 45 km away even after an IED destroyed all four tires of the vehicle.

As for chemical and biological threats, the M1117 Guardian gas particulate air filtration system was supposed to provide extra protection but is presently not in operation due to a scarcity of crew masks for the system. The M1117 Guardian has had also many rollover accidents.

Soldiers have a better survivability rate when rolling over, as the turret is totally enclosed, shielding the gunner from ejection.

Nevertheless, there have been at least two occurrences of rollovers that resulted in the deaths of two soldiers when the turret broke away from the vehicle. Since the incident, Textron has started installing 15 extra bolts on the vehicle turret.

Greece is the latest country to procure the M1117 Guardian armored vehicles alongside Iraq, Colombia, Canada, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, and United States

PHOTO By @21stTSC

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command of the United States Army announced on its Twitter account that a Greek mission was in Germany, where the command is based, to familiarize itself with the armored M1117 vehicles.

More specifically, It was reported by the 21st TSC that “our colleagues from Greece traveled to Kaiserslautern this week to engage in a military vehicle familiarization exercise with soldiers from the 18th MP, thereby contributing to the strengthening of the solid cooperation between Greek and American personnel.”

Greece currently excepts the delivery of at least 1200 M1117 armored vehicles that were given for free by the United States Armed Forces

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