|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 15, 2017 11:31 AM EDT|
(Photo : US Army) JLTV
The Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the better armored; more survivable and more comfortable replacement for the Humvee, will become operational with the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) by 2020 after over a decade of development and testing.
The side and underbody armor of the JLTV are significantly superior to the Humvee, a lesson learned the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan. The JLTV's heavy, clamshell-style doors offer front and rear protection when open.
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The acquisition of JLTVs is part of an army program to replace most of its Humvees, otherwise known as the M1114 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWVS). JLTVs are more survivable, provide more protection and have greater off-road mobility compared to Humvees. The Marines will also replace their Humvees with JLTVs.
JLTV combines the armored protection of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle such as the Cougar with the transportability of the Humvee.
Initial USMC operating capability for the JLTV is scheduled for 2020 when 69 JLTVs join a Marine infantry battalion. Marines expect to complete procurement of the 5,500 JLTVs by 2022. Army JLTVs will reach initial operating capability by mid-2019.
Completion of the army's order for 49,000 JLTVs is expected to occur by 2040.
Both variants of the JLTV can be armed with light, medium or heavy machine guns; automatic grenade launchers and anti-tank guided missiles, if required. The army will also arm its reconnaissance JLTVs with the Hughes M230LF chain gun, a 30 mm cannon used on Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
A 30 mm cannon will significantly increase the firepower of recon JLTVs that would otherwise be armed with the venerable M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, which has been in service for close to a century.
A 30 mm chain gun can fire a variety of more destructive rounds at enemy targets at long range, including high explosive and armor piercing. The M230 has an effective range of 15,000 meters compared to only 1,800 meters for the M2.
JLTV will come in two variants: a two-seat utility version and a four-seat general purpose version. The four-seater can be configured into a Heavy Guns Carrier for a .50 caliber machine gun, or a Close Combat Carrier armed with a TOW missile system.
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