The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, as it is called, will be manufactured by industrial giant Oshkosh, after it won a heavily contested battle with Lockheed Martin and Humvee’s manufacturer AM General. In the end, Oshkosh’s prototype was considered as the most suited to carry forth operations due to its high mobility and tank-like protections.
One of the main points of improvements was the notorious danger that landmines or improvised explosive devices posed to Humvee’s, with numerous reports over the years of soldiers killed or maimed after the light vehicle’s armor failed to protect them when driving over such dangers.
Oshkosh came with an advantage in this area, as in the last years it manufactured MRAPS – special extra layers of armor to protect against hidden explosive devices. But the added weight also made the Humvees less mobile; so Oshkosh came to a compromise where it incorporated mine resistant armor into the vehicle directly to reduce its weight while still keeping its high maneuverability.
The JLTV is also way faster on rough terrain than the iconic Humvee. Tests of JLTV prototypes show that it can reach speeds 70 per cent higher off-road, which is a crucial element nowadays – especially in Middle Eastern theaters of operations. Combine this with the possibility of deploying it anywhere fast, since it can easily fit inside transport planes, and the U.S. suddenly gets a host of tactical advantages in the field.
Going into more technical details, the JLTV will have an adjustable suspension – permitting its height to be raised and lowered within the span of 20 inches. This creates a plus for adaptability, as the vehicle can be tampered with to perform optimally in multiple terrain variants. As far as weapons go, there’s no lack of firepower: from the classic manually turrets to missiles and remote weapons systems, the JLTV is anything but a sitting duck.
The US Army announced that it intends to buy 55,000 such vehicles by 2040, and they will be produced at the company’s headquarters in the eponymous Wisconsin city. Production is set to begin next year and US forces could receive the first batch of JLTV’s by October 2016. However, the US Army does have the possibility of interrupting the contract as early as 2018 should it not be satisfied by the vehicle’s performance.
Image Source: JS Online