According to Oshkosh Defense, the tactical vehicle manufacturer awarded the JLTV contract, the JLTV is a tactical wheeled vehicle which includes hull designs that are built to optimize survivability against a full range of blast and ballistic threats, including protection from underbelly blasts, and an “intelligent” suspension system that can be raised and lowered for off-road conditions. It was designed to bridge the capability gap in balanced protection, performance, and payload between the lighter Humvee and the more heavily armored Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
“The original Humvee design supported no armor and gave you mobility, but we realized on an asymmetrical battlefield, that there were both side and underbody threats,” said U.S. Army Col. Shane N. Fullmer, JLTV joint project manager. “We tried to armor it, but it really reduced that ability to get through soft soil and while it has side protection, it’s very hard to give it any underbody protection. This (JLTV) really restores that balance.”
The JLTV program is an Army-led program in collaboration with the U.S. Marine Corps to replace a portion of each branch’s light tactical vehicle fleets. The new truck was designed to boost protection and provide improved maneuverability, transportability, maintainability and connectivity to 21st-century battlefield networks.
Senior leaders from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command test drove the vehicle through a JBLE training area to experience the new suspension and overall feel of the vehicle. Many senior leaders who have ridden in the vehicle described the ride as much smoother than that of other tactical vehicles.
“We have found that some people are skeptical because they have a lot of experience riding in Humvees, until they see it in person or ride in it and then they’re no longer skeptical,” said Fullmer. “This ride is just tremendously better than Humvees. The Humvee has been a great vehicle and has provided a tremendous service, but this vehicle is just a leap ahead.”
Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, Army Capabilities Integration Center acting director, worked on the acquisition plan for the JLTV during early stages of planning for the vehicle.
“I was working on this in 2010 from the requirements side, so to see this vehicle here, this vehicle that is going to go to our units, this really is a great day,” said Dyess. “It was a very smooth ride and I know this is going to be a great capability for our Soldiers.”
Soldiers and Marines can expect to see JLTVs within their units beginning in 2019, following ongoing additional automotive, reliability, radio range and weapon system testing. By 2022, production for U.S. armed forces is expected to reach 17,000, followed by an additional approximate 35,000 trucks over the next 20 years.