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Humvee plant production to accelerate?



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



More armored humvees may be coming, a general says.

FAIRFIELD, Ohio (AP) -- The Army's top general said Friday that production of armored humvees for soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan may be stepped up even beyond the current accelerated rate.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, toured the O'Gara-Hess & amp; Eisenhardt plant in this southwest Ohio city, where the humvees are armored.

Even faster plans

The plant was producing 450 vehicles a month in December, when the Army asked the company to accelerate production. The company plans to produce 509 vehicles in February and 550 in March.

"We've had conversations about what the possibilities are beyond that, if necessary," Schoomaker said.

The Army has ordered 8,105 of the armored humvees. Schoomaker declined to say how many of them will ultimately be needed.

"We're better than probably half way there," he said.

Schoomaker said there are currently more than 26,000 armored humvees and other U.S. military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan with some sort of armor. That compares to fewer than 500 such vehicles 16 months ago, he said.

Complaints from troops

Some troops have complained about the lack of armored vehicles for soldiers, who have been killed when their vehicles were struck by roadside bombs.

Loren Thompson, a defense industry analyst with the Lexington Institute think tank, said producing more armored vehicles alone won't solve the problem of U.S. troops being attacked by insurgents in Iraq.

"What you do is gradually learn a new way of waging war, and technology is a piece of the overall strategy," Thompson said. "But armoring the vehicles can make a big difference in reducing your losses and make your tactics more effective."




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