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US Army Orders New Armored Fighting Vehicle

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US Army Orders New Armored Fighting Vehicle

The U.S. Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicles program is finally moving ahead.

US Army Orders New Armored Fighting Vehicle
Credit: Oshkosh Defense

The U.S. defense contractor Oshkosh Corporation announced this week that the U.S. Army has placed an order for 657 so-called Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) along with 2,977 installed kits and related support for an estimated value of $243 million.

In August 2015, the U.S. Defense Department announced Oshkosh as the winner of a bid to replace the majority of the U.S. military’s legacy uparmored HMMWV fleet (the ‘Humvee’) with a more modern vehicle.

As I reported in September 2015 (See: “Meet the U.S. Military’s Newest Fighting Vehicle”), the company was awarded a $6.7 billion contract to build JLTV for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. “The JLTV production contract calls for Oshkosh to deliver a total of nearly 17,000 vehicles, as well as kits and services over an eight-year period with first vehicle delivery in October 2016,” according to a company press release.

Scott Davis, the Army’s program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, confirmed the October 2016 delivery date, according to Defense News. “The service is on track to reach a full-rate production decision in 2019,” the article reads.

“The U.S. Army plans to purchase more than 50,000 JLTVs before 2040, whereas the U.S. Marine Corps is slated to receive 5,500 vehicles,” I explained last year. The total cost for the entire JLTV program is estimated at around $30 billion dollars.

However, Oshkosh’s competitor in the bid, U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin, filed a lawsuit in 2015 challenging the Army’s award to Oshkosh. As a result some work on the JLTV program had to be stopped for 98 days. It was only last month that Lockheed Martin dropped the lawsuit allowing the Army to place the order.

“The new JLTV is a hybrid between the small and unarmored Humvee and the larger, heavily armored Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP), 24,000 of which were built for the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars once it became clear that the Humvee offered little protection from roadside bombs,” I wrote for The Diplomat in September 2015.

“The MRAP, however, was too bulky and too heavy to fit into the U.S military’s future ground warfare concept and was always thought to be an interim solution by the Pentagon. The new JLTV purportedly now offers the speed and agility of the Humvee and the protection and off-road mobility of a MRAP,” I further added.

The JLTV will be available in a two-seat and four-seat variant, and can be equipped with remote-controlled weapon systems and can be driven via remote-controls, according to Oshkosh. The vehicle purportedly offers the ballistic protection of a light tank and the underbody protection of a MRAP. Unlike the MRAP, however, the JLTV can be airlifted by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.