The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, will be replacing the tried and tested but aging Humvee fleet of the United States military, as JLTV maker Oshkosh Defense won a $6.7 billion contract to supply the ground vehicle.
While the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, which is the HMMWV or more popularly known as the Humvee, has been a symbol of the United States Army, the JLTV will be able to provide the nation's troops with more advanced protection and mobility in off-road terrain.
The JLTV is described as the most capable light vehicle in the world, as it has been designed to be able to move and protect the American troops against the modern threats of war such as improvised explosive devices.
Oshkosh CEO Charles Szews said that the JLTV is "one extreme mobility vehicle" which would be able to outrun both the Humvee and the Jeep. In addition, the vehicle "looks kind of mean, which is good for a military vehicle," Szews said.
The JLTV combines light tank ballistic protection and a mine resistant and ambush protected underbody bomb protection with the flexibility and agility of an off-road racing vehicle, setting up the vehicle to replace the Humvee.
The need for the JLTV's additional protection is due to the increasing risk of mines and roadside bombs in regions such as Afghanistan and Iraq. While Oshkosh previously outfitted Humvees with additional armor against the threat, the JLTV will be able to provide the same additional protection but with enhanced speed that would allow troops to travel by over 70 percent faster over off-road terrain compared to other standard military vehicles.
To achieve this, the JLTV features an adaptable suspension system which can be lowered and raised by 20 inches, along with Oshkosh's TAK-4i independent suspension system.
The JLTV also comes equipped with shot detection, silent watch power systems, long range surveillance tools and cameras for visible light and infrared. In addition, the vehicle comes with electronic warfare technology and firepower of tube-launched missiles, turret operated weapons and remote weapons systems.
Under the contract awarded to Oshkosh, which could eventually be worth over $30 billion, the Army will be supplied with almost 50,000 units of the JLTV and the Marine Corps. will be supplied with around 5,500 units.
The Humvee will still be in service for the next few years, but it will soon be phased out, capping a military career that included the Panama invasion of 1989, the Persian Gulf War, the Bosnian War and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.