Special Report

The Oldest US Military Tanks and Armored Vehicles

Jesse Stephens / iStock via Getty Images

While the U.S. military consistently works to modernize its land, sea, and air equipment, this process is gradual. It typically involves identifying needs, bidding on contracts, developing and testing prototypes, manufacturing final products, and training personnel, which can take years, and sometimes decades. As a result, established vehicles often continue to serve specific functions long after their initial deployment. In many cases, the military opts for extensive upgrades to existing platforms. For instance, the M1 Abrams tank, the sole main battle tank in the U.S. military, has undergone numerous significant upgrades to its armor, weaponry, and software since its inception over four decades ago.

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

Many vehicles have undergone general upgrades like improved armor, while specific types of vehicles have received upgrades to improve their specialized capabilities.

For example, the M93 Fox, a reconnaissance vehicle introduced in 1990, has been upgraded with improved chemical and radiation detection gear, along with enhanced communication systems for reporting potential hazardous environments and threats. Similarly, the M2 Bradley, an infantry fighting vehicle in service since 1981, has been equipped with thermal imaging, gun turret optics, and remote fire control systems. 

Since its introduction in 1961, the M88 Hercules has served as a 70-ton battlefield recovery vehicle, responsible for retrieving immobilized heavy military vehicles. Over time, it has been upgraded with improved steering and electrical systems, and increased engine power. 

Here are America’s oldest military land vehicles still in use:

18. M915A5

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

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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