June 25, 2015: Strategy Page
An Israeli armor brigade recently discovered that the U.S. hummer (Hmmwv) was superior to tracked armored personnel carriers (APCs) when it came to performing reconnaissance outside of urban areas. The hummers were faster and more maneuverable, and also required less maintenance and fuel. Normally Israel builds its own military wheeled vehicles, but in 2012 Israel bought 2,500 slightly used hummer (HMMWV or Humvee) vehicles from the United States. Most were placed in reserve, to be used in wartime, or a major military emergency. But commanders were told they could have some for experimenting and thus the recon company of one armor brigade got to try some out.
Aside from getting these hummers cheap, Israel also has need for these larger (than Israel's standard motor vehicle of the same type) vehicles. For one thing, a hummer can carry more and be used as a mobile command post, or carrier of heavy weapons or bulky electronics. The hummer can also be equipped with armor. An Israeli firm developed and makes some of the most popular hummer armor kits, and sold a lot of them to the United States for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Normally, the Israeli ground forces uses the Sufa (Storm) all-terrain vehicles. These are two ton, militarized versions of the Chrysler Jeep Wrangler. Sufa 1 appeared in 1990, with Sufa 2 showing up in 2005, and Sufa 3 in 2011. There are several versions (command, recon, armored) and the design has been optimized to deal with all the unique types of off road terrain encountered in Israel.
While smaller than the American Hummer, the Sufa is more suitable to Israeli needs (which largely consist of policing hostile Palestinians). The Sufa 3 is 4.5 meters (14.7 feet) long and 1.68 meters (5.5 feet) wide. In contrast the heavier hummer is 4.6 meters (15 feet) long and 2.1 meters (7.1 feet) wide.
The withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and the wide use of larger MRAP armored vehicles in Afghanistan left the U.S. with a lot of relatively new and little used hummers, even after many had been used to equip Iraqi and Afghan forces.