USA — Army tests new tactical vehicle

CHURCHVILLE TEST AREA, Md. — The Army is test­ing a new vehi­cle look­ing to even­tu­al­ly replace the icon­ic Humvee. Offi­cials said the Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Vehi­cle will offer increased pro­tec­tion and per­for­mance.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle
The Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Vehi­cle runs a dirt track test at the Churchville Test Area near Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Md., June 3.
Pho­to cred­it David McNal­ly (Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand Pub­lic Affairs)
Click to enlarge

The Army took a group of reporters to a dirt test track about 30 min­utes from Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground June 3 to put the new vehi­cles through their paces. At first glance, the JLTV looks heav­ier and safer than cur­rent light tac­ti­cal vehi­cles. The armor plat­ing and bul­let-proof glass will offer bet­ter pro­tec­tion for the warfight­er, offi­cials said.

The vehi­cle has dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions, which seat four to six peo­ple.

The JLTV project is a joint project, but also inter­na­tion­al. The vehi­cle is a col­lab­o­ra­tive prod­uct between the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment and three Amer­i­can indus­try teams.

“There are three con­trac­tor teams work­ing on a com­mon phased set of require­ments,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Wolf­gang Peter­mann, project man­ag­er. “The vehi­cles have a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent design solu­tions built into them.”

Peter­mann said the con­trac­tors deliv­ered the vehi­cles on sched­ule and with­in cost require­ments of the con­tract.

“What you’ll see is a bal­anced solu­tion,” he said. “The key attrib­ut­es for JLTV are to keep that bal­ance, but also to reduce life-cycle costs for the ser­vices. We’ve improved reli­a­bil­i­ty, main­tain­abil­i­ty. We’ve designed the vehi­cle to be, one, reli­able, but when it does break down, it is eas­i­ly repairable.”

Peter­mann said anoth­er require­ment is trans­porta­bil­i­ty.

“We need to be able to get to the fight by a C-130 (air­plane) or CH-47 or CH-53 heli­copter. We have to be able to get down to dif­fer­ent decks on ship­ping,” he said. “We have main­tained an expe­di­tionary capa­bil­i­ty for the ser­vices.”

The con­trac­tors for the project are BAE Sys­tems, Gen­er­al Tac­ti­cal Vehi­cles and Lock­heed Mar­tin. Dur­ing the 15-month design and build phase, indus­try teams inter­pret­ed military’s require­ments to come up with their own vehi­cle pro­to­types. Offi­cials said the design and build phase end­ed May 3 when the con­trac­tors deliv­ered the vehi­cles.

The JLTV has now entered a tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment phase giv­ing the team an oppor­tu­ni­ty to demon­strate “mature tech­nolo­gies inte­gra­tion” as a com­plete sys­tem.

Peter­mann said the group will con­duct per­for­mance tests on the vehi­cles at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground to “pro­vide an assess­ment of the tech­ni­cal and per­for­mance risks.”

The team will also con­duct tests at Yuma Prov­ing Ground, Ariz., to assess vehi­cle reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Unit­ed States Army Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand tank and auto­mo­tive engi­neers from the unit’s research cen­ter near Detroit have been on the job from con­cept to test­ing. The Tank Auto­mo­tive Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter assists through­out prod­uct devel­op­ment, offi­cials said.

“Our Advanced Con­cepts Group over in TARDEC from the begin­ning has tak­en a look at our require­ments from the stand­point of what is achiev­able,” said Chris Brouw­er, C4I chief sys­tems engi­neer with the project. “They’ve giv­en us that first look on what they think we’re going to get with the require­ments we have. Because of the work TARDEC did, we were fair­ly con­fi­dent what we would end up with.”

When the project team had require­ments changes, TARDEC engi­neers would update their con­cepts.

“They would say, ‘this is what we think indus­try is going to pro­vide you,’ ” he said. “It real­ly gave us an ear­ly ben­e­fit as far as what our require­ments were actu­al­ly dri­ving into the design of the vehi­cle.”

Brouw­er was on the team three years ago writ­ing the orig­i­nal require­ments and scope.

“It’s been a great project so far,” Brouw­er said. “It’s very reward­ing to see the vehi­cles out here on the track and per­form­ing quite well.”

(Editor’s note: The JLTV pro­gram is aligned with a joint pro­gram office under the man­age­ment of the U.S. Army’s Project Man­ag­er for Joint Com­bat Sup­port Sys­tems, which fulls under the lead­er­ship of Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Offi­cer for Com­bat Sup­port and Com­bat Ser­vice Sup­port.)

David McNal­ly (Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand Pub­lic Affairs)
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)