U.S. Army To Issue Its Latest Ultra Lightweight Vehicle in 2016

The U.S. Army released the news about its latest vehicle, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The new vehicle, or JLTV, is set to replace the Humvee. Prior to the introduction of the Humvee, the Army used a jeep. The Army is hoping that this new vehicle will serve the Army for decades to come.

The Army announced the winner of its bid to replace thousands of Humvees with the new JLTV. Although the Humvee was praised for its speed and ubiquity, it had major problems in both Iraq and Afghanistan when dealing with roadside bombs. Since the Humvee had a flat underbelly and low clearance, it often proved deadly when troops hit roadside bombs because explosions failed to dissipate and shot straight into the cabs of the vehicles.

As reported in Yahoo News, Jim Hasick, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank said the Humvee design was all wrong.

"An armored Humvee is not designed to deal with landmines, the architecture is all wrong. It sits far too close to the ground and doesn't have a V-shape hull (to deflect a blast)."
Although the military sought to reinforce the Humvees, they still remained vulnerable. The military pushed for 24,000 new "mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles," but these vehicles came at a budget busting price of $45 billion.

The new JLTVs will cost significantly less at $6.75 billion, which is the size of the contract awarded to Oshkosh. With the JLTV, it will allow the Pentagon to create a much lighter fighting force. Oshkosh beat out its competitors, Lockheed Martin, and AM General, the maker of the Humvee. The Army plans to purchase 50,000 of the JLTVs and have them in place by 2040.

Because the Army is moving towards a lighter fighting force, as reported by Defense News, the new vehicle needed to be sling loadable. This would allow for the new vehicles to be sling loaded to a UH-60 Black Hawk. Special Operations command sling loads its vehicles into a CH-47 Chinook.

Plans for a Lightweight Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV) are in the works to make Special Forces much more mobile and faster. The new vehicles will be confined to use by the XVIII Airborne Corps, although if they prove to be effective, they may be used in other areas of the Army as well.

John Bryant, senior vice president of the defense programs at Oshkosh, said there was a big focus on "protecting the precious cargo." This meant that the focus was on testing vehicles to help crews survive.

"They are supposed to behave that way. You can see significant levels of destruction to portions of the vehicle, and yet the crew capsule with that precious cargo inside remains intact -- and the crew survives."
What do you think of the new JLTV? Do you think this will help the Army improve its ability to safely deploy to the battlefield?

[Photo Credit General Dynamics]