Special Report

18 Oldest Tanks, Artillery, and Other and Armored Vehicles in the US Military

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While the American military is continually in the process of modernizing its fleet of land, sea, and air vehicles and armaments, the process is a slow one. It takes years, sometimes decades, for a need to be identified, a contract to be bid on, prototypes to be developed and tested, the final products to be built, and American servicemembers to be trained. Meanwhile, established vehicles can continue to fulfill specific roles for decades after they first rolled off the assembly line. Often, the military chooses to implement major upgrades to existing platforms. The M1 Abrams tank has undergone several significant rounds of modernization to its armor, armament, and software since it first entered service more than four decades ago. It remains the sole main battle tank in the American military. (These are the countries with the most tanks)

To determine the oldest U.S. military vehicles, 24/7 Wall St. referenced Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more used worldwide. Military vehicles are ranked according to the year each they entered service. All the vehicles on this list have entered service before 2001. Information on top speed, crew size, and what role the vehicle plays within the military also came from Military Factory. We independently verified that each of these vehicles was still in service.

Most vehicles have received general upgrades like improved armor, and certain types of vehicles have received upgrades to improve their specialized capabilities.

For example, the M93 Fox, a reconnaissance vehicle, has been in use since 1990, but has been upgraded with improved chemical and radiation detection equipment and communication systems for reporting potential hazardous environments and threats. The M2 Bradley, an infantry fighting vehicle in use since 1981, has been upgraded with thermal imaging, gun turret optics, and remote fire control systems. (These are the U.S. military vehicles with the most powerful engines)

The M88 Hercules, in use since 1961, is a 70-ton battlefield recovery vehicle used to retrieve immobilized heavy military vehicles. It has been upgraded over the years with increased steering, electrical system, and increased engine horse power. 

Here are America’s oldest land vehicles still in use by the military.

18. M915A5
> First entered service: 2000
> Role: Military tractor
> Top speed: 64.6 mph #10 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 2

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17. M1117 Guardian ASV
> First entered service: 1999
> Role: Armored security vehicle
> Top speed: 62.1 mph #12 fastest out of 32 vehicles (tied)
> Crew size: 3

16. FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles)
> First entered service: 1996
> Role: Military truck
> Top speed: 59.0 mph #17 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 1

15. M93 Fox
> First entered service: 1990
> Role: Reconnaissance vehicle
> Top speed: 64.6 mph #10 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

14. Scorpion DPV (Desert Patrol Vehicle)
> First entered service: 1987
> Role: Lightweight all-terrain
> Top speed: 56.3 mph #18 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

13. M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover)
> First entered service: 1986
> Role: Military bulldozer
> Top speed: 30.0 mph #30 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 1

12. HMMWV (Humvee)
> First entered service: 1985
> Role: Multi-purpose wheeled vehicle
> Top speed: 65.2 mph #6 fastest out of 32 vehicles (tied)
> Crew size: 1

11. M270
> First entered service: 1983
> Role: Multiple launch rocket system (MLRS)
> Top speed: 39.8 mph #26 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

10. LAV-25
> First entered service: 1983
> Role: Light armored vehicle (LAV)
> Top speed: 62.1 mph#12 fastest out of 32 vehicles (tied)
> Crew size: 3

9. M939 Truck
> First entered service: 1982
> Role: Military truck
> Top speed: 62.1 mph #12 fastest out of 32 vehicles (tied)
> Crew size: 1

8. M2 Bradley
> First entered service: 1981
> Role: Infantry fighting vehicle (IFV)
> Top speed: 37.9 mph #28 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

7. MIM-104 Patriot
> First entered service: 1981
> Role: Surface-to-air missile (SAM)
> Top speed: 49.7 mph #21 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 12

6. M1 Abrams
> First entered service: 1980
> Role: Main battle tank
> Top speed: 41.6 mph #24 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 4

5. AAV-7 (LVTP-7)
> First entered service: 1972
> Role: Amphibious assault vehicle (AAV)
> Top speed: 39.8 mph #26 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

4. M60 AVLB
> First entered service: 1967
> Role: Armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB)
> Top speed: 30.0 mph #30 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 2

3. M109 (Paladin)
> First entered service: 1963
> Role: Self-propelled artillery
> Top speed: 40.0 mph #25 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 4

2. M88 Hercules
> First entered service: 1961
> Role: Armored recovery vehicle (ARV)
> Top speed: 24.9 mph#32 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 3

1. M113 APC
> First entered service: 1960
> Role: Armored personnel carrier
> Top speed: 37.9 mph #28 fastest out of 32 vehicles
> Crew size: 2

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