Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle

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The Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle or CUCV Program was instituted to provide the United States military with a cheaper Light Utility Vehicle to augment the purpose-built but expensive Gama Goats and M151 series "Jeeps" approaching the end of their service life.[1] It initially provided Dodge W/D series in the late 1970s with several military modifications. In the mid-1980s, Chevrolet C/Ks replaced the Dodge vehicles and are still used today in the Light Service Support Vehicle incarnation. The vehicle has five basic configurations: cargo truck, command center, ambulance, shelter carrier, and chassis cab.

CUCVs were intended to perform "background" roles, much like rear echelon human troops - providing support for frontline forces, such as cargo transport, troop transport, first aid, and communications. CUCVs were not built for direct frontline combat use, as evident by their lack of bulletproofing and protection from ordnance. Like many of the vehicle parts, the windshield, cabin glass, and body panels are civilian-grade and offer no protection from firearms or explosives. As a result, some CUCV's were replaced in the 1980s and 1990s by the HMMWV's they were to augment.[2]

The U.S. military continued to keep CUCV Is in active service long after their projected lifespan. CUCVs of all generations are still in U.S. service, though many M800s and CUCV Is have passed through military surplus sales into civilian ownership. CUCVs and LSSVs are in use as support vehicles for Military Police, troop transport, Range Control, Base Facilities, and Maintenance.

Dodge M800 Series[edit]

M880/M890
Dodge W 200 - Flickr - Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Dodge
Model years 1976-1977
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door pickup
Powertrain
Engine Chrysler 318 cubic inch engine V8
Transmission Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 131 in (3.3 m)
Length varies by model
Width 79.5 in (2.02 m)
Height 73.85 in (1.876 m)
Curb weight varies by model

In 1973, Dodge began developing militarized adaptations of their current civilian trucks. In 1976, the M800 series was put into production.[3] These trucks were not known as CUCVs at the time, and were referred to as '880s.[1][3] The M800s were an attempt by the U.S. military to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles with minor modifications in non-combat roles.[3] They were intended to replace the M37, M715 and their related variants. The 1-1/4 ton M800s were based on the Dodge W200, a 3/4 ton capacity pickup. The M893 4x2 Ambulance and the M888 4x4 Telephone Maintenance truck, were both based on the Dodge D200.[3] The M800s had several failings: a gasoline powerplant, 12-volt electrical systems (a 24 volt kit was available), and no power steering.[4] The 318 gasoline engine proved to be a fatal flaw as the military moved increasingly to diesel engines during this time period. The lack of power steering was a hindrance in off-road and close quarters situations (although many civilian and Air Force models had power steering). Around 44,000 M880/90s were produced during the 1976-1977 model years, and served the Army and Air Force until the late 1990s.[3]

An armored variant was built by Cadillac Gage as the Ranger.

Powertrain[edit]

All M880/90s were powered by Chrysler's 5.2L 318 gasoline engine with a two-barrel Carter or Holley Carburetor. These were rated at 150 hp (110 kW) and 230 lb/ft of torque. They were all equipped with the Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic. The 880s used a 2-speed NP203 transfer case. A Dana 44 4.10:1 front axle and floating Dana 60 4:10.1 rear axle completed the setup. They were equipped with front wheel disc brakes and rear wheel drums. 880/90s had a top speed of 70 mph (110 km/h).[3]

Variants[edit]

  • M880 - Standard 4×4 pickup[4]
  • M881 - M880 fitted with additional 100-amp 24-volt generator[4]
  • M882 - M881 fitted with additional 60-amp 24-volt generator and communications equipment[4]
  • M883 - M881 fitted with slide-in shelter kit[4]
  • M884 - M880 fitted with 100-amp 24-volt generator and slide-in shelter kit with tie-downs[4]
  • M885 - M880 fitted with slide-in shelter kit with tie-downs[4]
  • M886 - M880 ambulance[4]
  • M887 - M880 maintenance[4]
  • M888 - M880 telephone maintenance[4]
  • M890 - Standard 4x2 pickup[4]
  • M891 - M890 fitted with additional 60-amp 24-volt generator[4]
  • M892 - M890 fitted with additional 60-amp 24-volt generator and communications kit[4]
  • M893 - M890 ambulance version[4]

Operators[edit]

General Motors[edit]

General Motors and AM General have produced CUCVs since 1984 in three distinct generations: CUCV, CUCV II, and LSSV.

CUCV[edit]

CUCV
Lithuanian M1008 CUCV.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors Defence
Model years 1984-1987
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door SUV
4-door SUV
2-door pickup
4-door pickup
Powertrain
Engine 6.2 L Detroit Diesel V8
Transmission 3-speed TH-400 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 131.5 in (3.34 m)
Length varies by model
Width 81.2 in (2.06 m)
wider for dual rear wheel models
Height 75.4 in (1.92 m)
Curb weight varies by model

Replacing the M800s, the CUCV represented General Motors' first major military vehicle production since World War II.[6] GM CUCV's were assembled mostly from existing heavy duty light commercial truck parts. The CUCV's came in four basic body styles: pickup, utility, ambulance body and chassis cab.[6] The M1008 was the basic cargo truck, the M1010 was the ambulance and the M1009 34-ton utility rig, which was a Chevrolet K5 Blazer uprated to 34-ton capacity.[6] With the exception of the M1009, the trucks were all rated as 114 ton (commonly called a “five-quarter”), even though some of them had payloads in excess of that. There were heavier-duty variants, including the M1028, M1028A1, M1028A2 and M1028A3 shelter carriers (the shelter being a mobile command, communications or intelligence operations enclosure).[6] The M1031 was the chassis cab which was most commonly found in the two door version. These latter trucks were all rated for heavier 3,600 lb (1,600 kg) or 3,900 lb (1,800 kg) loads, compared to the M1008's 2,900 lb (1,300 kg) load capacity. The M1028A2 and A3 models had dual rear wheels. Many M1028s were upgraded at the company level to M1028A2 and A3 specs—the dual wheel rear end arrangement was a result of the M10128 flipping on its side because of the high center of gravity when carrying equipment shelters.[7]

GM produced some 70,000 CUCV's from 1983 to 1986 (model years were 1984-87), though most were model year 1984.[6] Chevrolet continued to build CUCV's in low numbers from 1986 to 1996, mainly to accommodate military markets that needed replacements for existing CUCV's.

Powertrain[edit]

All CUCV Is were powered by GM’s 6.2L J-series Detroit Diesel V8 engine non-emissions diesel.[6] These were rated at 155 hp (116 kW) and 240 lb·ft (325 N·m), which was 5 hp (3.7 kW) more than the emissions diesel engine of the time. They were all equipped with the TH-400 automatic. All but the M1028A1 and M1031 used the NP-208 chain drive transfer case. The M1028A1 and M1031 units had a slip-yoke rear output version of the NP-205, which was specified mainly for its PTO capacity. CUCV's had a governed top speed of 55 mph (89 km/h).

Axles[edit]

M1009
M1009

The M1009 Blazer used 10-bolt axles (front and rear) featuring 3.08:1 gears. The rear axle was equipped with an Eaton Automatic Differential Lock (ADL) while the front was a standard open differential. The M1008 trucks used open Dana 60 front axles, with the M1028 and M1031 variations often having a Trac-Lok limited slip. In the rear, the M1008s used the GM 10.5-inch (270 mm) 10.5" Corporate 14 Bolt Differential with No-Spin lockers (the commercial trade name for the Detroit Locker). Though the M1028A2 and A3 duallies have Dana 70 HD axles. The axle gear ratios were 4.56:1.[8]

Electrical[edit]

As with other military vehicles, the CUCV's used a 24-volt electrical system. It was actually a hybrid 12/24-volt system that used 24-volts under the hood, complete with dual 100 amp alternators, the mandatory NATO slave receptacle for jump starting any NATO vehicle, and hookups for military radios.[6] The rest of the truck was 12-volt.

Variants[edit]

  • M1008 - Basic General Motors Model K30903. The M1008 was the most numerous of the CUCV truck types. It was often seen with troop seats for eight in the bed. Fitments included a brush bar, front and rear tow hooks, and a pintle hitch. These trucks are rated to tow 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) and were often used to tow the M101 34-ton trailer.[6]
  • M1008A1 - M1008 fitted with additional 100-amp 24-volt generator and communications kit.[6]
  • M1009 - Utility version of the Chevrolet K5 Blazer. The M1009 is a utility rig built from a Blazer and could be used for command and control, as well as officer transport. Often seen with radio sets installed, however the large square tube stock mounts prevented the rear seat from being lowered. The M1009 was rated for a 1,200 lb (540 kg) payload and a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) towed load. It used the heaviest duty GM springs available for the chassis and the rear axle was a 10-bolt unit. It rolled on 10.00-15 tires, had 3.08 gears and a rear Eaton ADL.[2]
  • M1010 - Ambulance version of the M1008.[6]
  • M1010 [USMC Command] - USMC command post vehicle.[6]
  • M1010 [USMC Ordnance] - USMC ordnance repair truck.[6]
  • M1028 - Shelter carrier version of the M1008.[6]
  • M1028FF - Fire fighting version of the GM1008.[6]
  • M1028A1 - Shelter Carrier w/ PTO version of the M1008.[6]
  • M1031 - Chassis-cab model[6]

Operators[edit]

CUCV II[edit]

CUCV II
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Model years 1996–2000
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door SUV
2-door pickup
4-door pickup
Platform GM GMT400 platform
Powertrain
Engine 350 in³ (5.7 L) L05 V8
454 in³ (7.4 L) L29/L21 V8
6.5 L Detroit Diesel V8
Transmission 4-speed 700-R4 (4L60) automatic
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase varies by model
Length varies by model
Width 81.2 in (2.06 m)
Height 75.4 in (1.92 m)
Curb weight varies by model

In 1996, Chevrolet started building a new generation of CUCV. The US Air Force bought small batches of these units, dubbed the CUCV II.[9] These were produced through 2001 and were civilian units sent to another plant for "militarization" on special order. They are basic Chevrolet C/K, Tahoe, and Suburban trucks that were originally white in color with gray vinyl interiors.[9] They received CARC exterior paint (Forest Green, Desert Sand, or 3-color camouflage), a brush bar, a pintle hitch, towing/loading shackles, extra leaf springs to give them a 5/4 ton rating and a host of other small changes. All CUCV IIs have a 24 volt dual-battery starting system, the rest of the truck is 12 volt.[9]

These light utility vehicles were available with three engines: a Vortec 7.4-liter V8, a 5.7-liter V8, or Detroit Diesel 6.5 L V8. Each engine was coupled with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. Each vehicle has full-time all-wheel drive; a front-mounted winch was available as an option.[9]

CUCV II production ceased in 2000 and later the more updated Light Service Support Vehicle or LSSV was introduced.[10]

Variants[edit]

  • Type A - Two-door utility vehicle, with space for a driver and four passengers. Based on the K5 Blazer/Tahoe [9]
  • Type B - Cargo truck, with open cargo area; seats could be fitted for troop transportation. Based on the Silverado[9]
  • Type C - Ambulance, accommodating 4 stretchers or 8 seated casualties[9]
  • Type E - Shelter carrier[9]
  • Type F - Communications shelter carrier[9]
  • Type S - Four-door command car, with space for a driver and five passengers. Based on the Suburban[9]

Operators[edit]

LSSV[edit]

LSSV
MP MilCOTS.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors, AM General
Model years 2001–present
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door SUV
4-door SUV
2-door pickup
4-door pickup
Platform GM GMT880 platform
Powertrain
Engine 6.6 L Duramax V8
Transmission 4-speed 4L80-E automatic
5-speed Allison 1000 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase varies by model
Length varies by model
Width varies by model
Height varies by model
Curb weight varies by model

When production of the CUCV II ended in 2000, GM redesigned it to coincide with civilian truck offerings. The CUCV nomeclature was changed to Light Service Support Vehicle in 2001. In 2005, LSSV production switched to AM General, a unit of MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings. The LSSV is a GM-built Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, Chevrolet Tahoe, or Chevrolet Suburban that is powered by a Duramax 6.6 liter turbo diesel engine. As GM has redesigned its civilian trucks and SUVs from 2001 to the present, LSSVs have also been updated cosmetically.[11]

The militarization of standard GM trucks/SUVs to become LSSVs includes exterior changes such as CARC paint (Forest Green, Desert Sand, or 3-color Camouflage), blackout lights, military bumpers, a brush guard, a NATO slave receptacle/NATO trailer receptacle, a pintle hook, and tow shackles. The electrical system is converted to the 24/12 volt military standard. The dashboard has additional controls and dataplates. The truck also can be equipped with weapon supports in the cab, cargo tie down hooks, folding troop seats, pioneer tools, winches, and other military accessories.[11]

The Enhanced Mobility Package (EMP) option adds an enhanced suspension, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, a locking rear differential, beadlock tires, a tire pressure monitoring system and other upgrades. About 2,000 LSSV units were sold to U.S. and international military and law enforcement organizations.[11]

Variants[edit]

  • Cargo/Troop Carrier Pickup (2-door, Extended Cab, or 4-door Silverado)[11]
  • Cargo/Troop Carrier/Command Vehicle (4-door Tahoe)[11]
  • Cargo/Troop Carrier/Command Vehicle/Ambulance (4-door Suburban)[11]

Operators[edit]

Other civilian to military vehicles[edit]

U.S. military M725 ambulance
Main article: Kaiser Jeep M715

Military versions of the civilian Jeep Gladiator pickup included the M715 and M725. They were built under contract for nations in addition to the United States. The idea was to reduce costs by starting from a civilian truck and sharing parts with normal production-line truck to make a “Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle” (CUCV) for the military as a 5/4 ton tactical vehicle.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About the CUCV". Olive-Drab. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Mark, Alexander. "The M1009 CUCV - A Manly, Eco-Conscious, Military Rejected Survivalist's Dream Vehicle.". Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Dodge CUCV M880". Olive-Drab. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Turchet, Steve. "M880: A Tactical MV (sort of)". Military Trader. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Lebanese Armed Forces Vehicles: The CUCV (Dodge & Chevrolet)". Military In the Middle East. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Chevy CUCV M1008 M1009 M10xx Trucks". Olive-Drab. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Commercial Cargo Utility Vehicle". Warrior Lodge. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "CUCV Technical Info". Motor Mayhem. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "CUCV II Light Utility Vehicle". Military Today. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.military-today.com/trucks/cucv_2.htm
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Light Service Support Vehicle (LSSV)". Olive-Drab. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.allpar.com/trucks/jeep/gladiator.html

External links[edit]