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FMTV: American Truck or Austrian Clone?

Firearms Fanatic. 2nd Amendment supporter. Automotive Enthusiast. Technology dude. Gamer.


I hate cabover trucks. Let's be clear on that. Every time I see a cabover truck, I cringe. They're also affectionately known as flat-face or flat-nose trucks. I suppose it's because it started life as an Austrian Styer 12M18, which America copied.

Sort of.

Now, as we all know, Americans prefer traditional trucks like Peterbilt, Freightliner, Western Star, Kenworth, Mack and other trucks that look like Optimus Prime in the Transformer films.

I know the reason why Europeans prefer cabovers like MAN or the Mercedes-Benz Actros. Space is at a premium and I'm not joking. Europe is as big as the United States but because there are many different nations elbowing each other for space, they're all squeezed in like sardines. Hence, the preference for flat face trucks. They get the job done just like traditional trucks but with a shorter footprint overall.

Back across the pond, however, things are completely different. Our highways and interstates are six or eight lanes wide and the roads are mighty big. The US of A is the land of the SUV, after all. Where most people drive SUVs as an individual, other countries buy an SUV for a necessity not a luxury—that is, they bring the family around.

That being said, why did the Army choose the FMTV or Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles?


If you go all the way back to the FMTV's history, it originally started in 1983 under the TRADOC or TRAining DOCtrine for the MTT or Medium Tactical Truck. Then an award was given to Stewart and Stevenson in 1988 then another contract issued to the same company 10 years later in 1998.

And then Oshkosh came in, but lost to Stewart and Stevenson in 2003. Then it ended up in a sort of limbo in 2007 because S&S were purchased by Armor Holdings Inc. Then the Army ignored Oshkosh and tried to make another truck under the failed FTTS or Future Tactical Truck System. I just love my tax dollars being spent on nothing.

Then in 2008 or so, the Army took notice of BAE systems and had them build 10,000 FMTVs, plus another 10,000 should the Army request it.

This history lesson is killing me, so let's fast forward to the present day.

Oshkosh was awarded the contract and are still making the truck, both armored and unarmored variants. And you guessed it, just like the Humvee and MTVR, this cabover can be purchased by both you and me.


Now just like all military trucks, they come in different flavors or variants:

  • M1078 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – LMTV Cargo
  • M1078 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – LMTV Cargo with winch
  • M1079 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – LMTV Van
  • M1079 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – LMTV Van with winch
  • M1080 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – LMTV Chassis 3.9 m
  • M1081 A0 – LMTV Cargo-airdrop LVAD
  • M1082 A1/A1R/A1P2 – Trailer, LMTV cargo
  • M1083 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Cargo
  • M1083 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Cargo with winch
  • M1084 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Cargo with material handling equipment (MHE)
  • M1084 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2/RSV – MTV Cargo with MHE (HIMARS RSV)
  • M1085 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Cargo, Long Wheelbase Cargo (LWB)
  • M1085 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV LWB Cargo with winch
  • M1085 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV LWB Cargo w/ Sideboard Delete
  • M1086 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV LWB Cargo with MHE
  • M1086 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV LWB Cargo with MHE & winch
  • M1087 A1R/A1P2 – MTV Expansible Van
  • M1088 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Tractor
  • M1088 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Tractor with winch
  • M1089 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Wrecker Oshkosh-produced M1089 have different recovery equipment
  • M1090 A0/A1 – MTV Dump
  • M1091 – MTV 1,500 gallon Fuel Tanker Type Classified but did not enter production
  • M1092 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV Chassis 4.1 m
  • M1093 A0 – MTV Cargo-airdrop LVAD
  • M1094 A0 – MTV Dump-airdrop LVAD
  • M1095 A1/A1R/A1P2 – Trailer, MTV Cargo
  • M1096 A0/A1/A1R/A1P2 – MTV LWB Chassis 4.5 m
  • M1140 A1/A1R HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, launcher chassis
  • M1147 LHS (palletized) Load Handling System Trailer
  • M1148 A1R/A1P2 LHS (palletized) Load Handling System Truck, eight metric tonnes / 8.8-ton
  • M1157 A1R/A1P2 10-ton Dump
  • M1157 A1R/A1P2 10-ton Dump with winch
  • XM1160 10-ton MEADS air defense chassis (5.5 m wheelbase )
  • Mongoose Mobile Launcher Chassis (MLC) (cancelled)
  • M1273 A1P2 MTV 10-ton chassis

And all of them are none that I'd personally purchase. If I'm honest, I don't know why the Army bought these things. They all look ridiculous. Perhaps it was the price and the way the Army conducts combat?

I know, the USMC uses the MTVR and the Army uses the FMTV so I guess it's a competition perhaps? I know those branches love competing to see who's the best, so it's possible they're flexing who's got the better truck?


Since these are military trucks, please refer to my Humvee article about which U.S. states allow you to drive a Humvee on the road and which don't. I honestly don't know which states allow FMTVs to be driven legally on the road, but since they're both military vehicles, I'd say they're about similar so the list is there.

It's equipped with a 7.2-liter inline-6 water-cooled Caterpillar C7 diesel engine developing 275 hp and is rated only at 2.5 tons loading capacity but it's been known to carry far more than it's rating. I've heard it can carry up to 7 tons off road.

It also has a 7-speed automatic just like the MTVR. And, just like the MTVR, I'm told it's got air conditioning.

So should you buy one? Absolutely! It comes with either 4x4 or 6x6 and pretty much the same hauling capacity as the MTVR 7-ton truck if you get the right FMTV variant.

I personally wouldn't, but I know a lot of you folks out there do.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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