After years of testing, approval, contract awarding, and final construction, the first Joint Light Tactical Vehicle—of the initial 16,900 unit production contract—has finally been delivered by the Oshkosh Corporation to the two branches of the armed forces which will make use of it; the Army and Marines.
The contract was awarded in mid-2015, following assessment of three similar-but-different prototypes as far back as 2010. This whole process began well over a decade ago. The military contracts process, like the JLTV itself, moves pretty slowly.
Powered by a GM-sourced 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 engine backed up by an Allison transmission, the JLTV is built to be dead reliable to keep the troops safe. It’s got better armor than the HMMWV it sorta replaces, and it’s more significantly smaller and more maneuverable than the MRAP.
Knowing how competitive the branches of this country’s armed forces are, I’m sure the Marines took it as a slight that the Army received their first delivery nearly one month before they did.
“This program has been working towards fielding trucks to Soldiers for ten years,” said Col. Shane Fullmer, Project Manager for the Joint Program Office, Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. “The entire program office has been focused on getting Soldiers improved tactical mobility, with better off road, better cross country, higher reliability, more comfort inside the vehicle, and significantly higher protection.”
No matter who got it first, the JLTV looks like a serious piece of machinery. With more room for soldiers to reduce fatigue, and adjustable ride height to facilitate off-road excursions with ease, the Jill (I’m going to call it Jill) is a pretty impressive ride. I, for one, can’t wait until they are pushed out to military surplus auctions in a decade or so. I bet it would rule pretty hard at Moab.