AM General’s HMMWV (High Mobility Multi-wheeled Vehicle) has been under-gunned ever since it rolled onto the sand in Iraq.
Every bit as famous as the WW2 Willy’s Jeep, the aging Humvee has not been effective enough in the protection of marines facing deadly attacks from the likes of roadside IEDs and multiple RPG strikes.
That’s because the original specification for MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles like the Humvee were optimised for road mobility. Only after coming under repeated attack did the Army/Marine Corps bolt some armour and weapons onto it, but it wasn’t designed for that purpose.
Enter the JLTV – an all round heavier monster, designed for all-terrain tactical mobility and able to withstand and dish out, some formidable firepower.
Protection is the keyword with the JLTV program, no question about that. But its a whole new ballgame and this vehicle will be designed from the ground up as an offensive weapon capable of inflicting harm on the enemy.
Not only that, it will ride higher than the Humvee and the hull will be V-shaped so as to deflect under body mine blasts. Even if small arms fire breeches the fuel tank, engine oil sump or cooling system, the JLTV will be able to keep going – even with two flat tyres.
The good news is that Australia has joined the JLTV program and is expected to over 4,000 of these vehicles to protect our guys who travel in harms way.
Other JLTV design requirements include:
Trailer: with the same payload as the prime mover and able to withstand attack
Ammo capacity: two cans of M16 ammo, one can of M203, four cans of M249 and six cans of MK19 or other similar heavy weapon.
Jam-resistant doors: so that occupants can escape the vehicle after damage.
Automatic fire extinguishing system:
Extra TenCate Spall liner: to stop or minimise projectiles from penetrating inside the vehicle.
Armour Kits: “Defeat or defend against RPG warheads and 360 degree protection from; KE, IED and mine.
The vehicles must also be light enough for two of them to fit into the C130 as well as able to be carried by the Army’s CH-47 Chinook helicopter and the Marine’s CH-53 Super Stallion.
Several days ago the US army awarded contracts worth over US$166 million to several contract teams including Lockheed Martin, General Tactical Vehicles and AM General, who will further develop versions of the JLTV over the next twenty-seven months.
Several big time partnerships missed out on the funding including the very cool looking design from Textron Systems Corporation which also included Boeing, Ford and Millenworks, who specialise in off-road racing design and suspension know how.
But whoever wins the final supply contract reported to be worth up to US$20 billion, you can bet that the Marines will be well protected and that the Humvee replacement will be a formidable machine, with significant firepower capability.
Stay tuned for Car Advice road test of that vehicle in the US when it is finally built.