WASHINGTON — For sale: military Humvee in jungle green or desert tan. Great for hauling cargo, artillery and soldiers. Can ford rivers, traverse sand dunes and bound over rocky terrain. Not recommended for heavy urban combat or mine-laden roads.

Bidding starts at $7,500.

After a storied career that spanned the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States’ fleet of Humvees is entering its twilight and will be sold to the highest bidder by the dozen. It is an icon of the U.S. military that replaced the Jeep and spawned a gas-guzzling commercial cousin that symbolized American ego.

But now the Army wants a tougher, yet nimble vehicle, light enough so that a helicopter could fly it around, but resilient enough to withstand bomb blasts.

In one of the most important – and lucrative – contracts awarded by the Army in years, three major defense firms are competing for the $30 billion prize to build 55,000 vehicles, called the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which would debut as one of the military’s most high-profile vehicles in a generation.

Wars are often measured by the box-score statistics – battles won and lost, us-vs.-them casualties, cities sacked, shorelines held. But they are also defined by their arsenals – the rumble of a Sherman tank in World War II, or the riff of Huey chopper blades in Vietnam.

And now comes a new entrant to the symphonic cacophony of the Next War – the mad-scientist mating of a Jeep with a tank. After a decade in development, the Pentagon is about to unveil the JLTV, designed for front-line combat as well as ferrying supplies behind the wire.

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