First Look: Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)

We spent the day at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., yesterday riding around in the three entrants for the Army-Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) competition; the Humvee replacement as it’s often called. The industry teams are: BAE Systems, General Tactical Vehicles (GTV) – a joint venture between General Dynamics Land Systems and Humvee builder AM General, and Lockheed Martin.

They wouldn’t let us shoot the inside of the vehicles for security reasons, but they all pretty much resembled later iterations of the Humvee, a little cramped (particularly the 6 seat infantry carrier), though with plenty of extra goods such as blast seats, more computing and electrical power, flat panel monitors and functioning air conditioning.

The ride in all three JLTVs was impressively smooth and the vehicles had plenty of power climbing hills and obstacles. The JLTV family of vehicles will come in 2, 4 and 6 seat versions, along with a cargo hauler and ambulance. The program folks say they’ll provide MRAP level protection against IED blasts. The planned buy is 60,000 for the Army and 5,500 for the Marines; full production is planned for 2015.

Some video of the three JLTV entrants for your enjoyment (click below for all 3):

JLTV Demo-Lockheed Martin:


JLTV Demo-BAE Systems:

— Greg Grant

  • Moose

    GTV should win this. Should.

  • MeatyPopsicle

    Ya why, personally I like the Valanx


    I used to like the BAE but it look silly small in these vids, and its got some funky electric whine, and no SA through those windows; i know its a POF, but still. From what these show I would go with GTV, looks smooth but nothing against LM’s entry.

  • MeatyPopsicle

    whats SA?

  • ziv

    Situational awareness, the windows are scary small.

  • DualityOfMan

    I like the 95% commonality of the GTV.

  • StevenDDeacon

    OSHKOSH landed a contract to manufacture over 8,000 M-ATV’s for the US Armed Forces. It’s expected combat missions are in mountainous and urban environments that include mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection, communications, command and control, and combat service support. The M-ATV will hold four troops with two being the driver and the gunner. If the M-ATV was shopped around as a MRAP replacement for the HMMWV why is the military spending money on JLTV Joint Light Tactical Vehicle prototypes to replace the HMMWV. The future JLTV vehicles will be comprised of five armored versions, ranging from infantry combat vehicles, command vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, and armored utility vehicles. It will hold four troops with two being the driver and the gunner. If the M-ATV was shopped around as a MRAP replacement for the HMMWV why is the military spending money on JLTV Joint Light Tactical Vehicle prototypes to replace the HMMWV?

  • Mike

    It seems this whole program is getting away from its “Light” aspect. That being said, GTV’s suspension system seems too complex and may result in problems later on. I like Lockheed’s version.

  • Randy

    Steve, it’s all about modularity. The JLTV covers everything the HMMWV did and more. The M-ATV can’t do that. It’s not light, it can’t have it’s armor downgraded for urban ops in the CONUS or become more fuel efficient. The M-ATV is a solid armored brick on wheels. It’s a mini-MRAP which is what it was designed to do, but that’s really all it’s good at. It was not, I repeat NOT selected as a complete MRAP replacement. OSHKOSH tried to make a light truck version but ended up with an extremely heavy truck with little carry capability. Even in basic configuration it’s still literally twice as heavy as any JLTV entry.

    • Your point is well taken. But what happens to all the armored bricks and the investment we’ve made in them when we start pupping out JLTV’s to replace the MRAP-ATV and HMMWV’s?

  • blight

    I wonder if Oshkosh can design a lighter version of M-ATV to preserve some parts commonality. Though maybe it’s a lost cause.

    I find it funny how we don’t replace rifles “because of logistics” and after phasing in armored humvees and MRAPs we haven’t made any moves.

    Perhaps assault rifles don’t make the money that JLTVs do.

  • Scourge

    Regarding the remarks about the smallish windows and it's detrimental effects on SA: My unit in the Corps referred to APC's as “suicide taxis”, and that right there is one of the primary reasons why. (The other big reason is obvious if you've ever seen the interior compartment of enemy armor after it's been hit by an AT-4 round or a DU dart from an M1A2's main cannon), We never, ever, ever rode inside of an APC anywhere near a combat zone or in any potentially hostile AO/AOR. I'm planning on getting back in soon, as a Guard reservist, and lemme tell ya, if they deploy that pile of useless crap, I'll stick with my LPC's, regardless of orders. Hell, I've got so many miles on these khaki cadillacs, I'm more comfortable on them than I am mounted anyway.

    Also, the commonality thing with GTV's is a huge plus. Anyone remember the problems with original M16 when it was first issued in 'Nam? (Besides McNamara's incorrigable meddling and need to have his finger in every pie, I mean) Or why we had so darn many problems with the constantly down for maintenance AV-8B's? Anything that shares common parts with other materiel/equipment, simplifies logistics, and requires less retraining to operate and maintain is a MASSIVELY good thing in my book. Which is prolly why the GTV entrant will get killed by some asshole buearocrat with rectal-cranial inversion syndrome.

    Oh, and one last thing, regarding the mention of rifles and logistics: 6.5mm Grendel, single caliber system a la .30 cal in the WWII/Korea Era. 'Nuff said. Anyone else on the same page?

    • Moose

      LSAT. ~25-30% weight reduction with no loss in ballistics. Plus we can design a bullet from a clean sheet of paper to be the best possible, rather than the best we can it inside an AR.

      • William C.

        Agreed Moose. LSAT is the best chance for the military to adopt a new caliber. I can’t imagine the US military switching to a new caliber of cased ammunition for small arms in the near future, simply because those in charge wouldn’t see it as enough of an improvement.

        • LSAT firining 6.5mm projectiles, that would be perfect.

          Scourge’s “single caliber system”, but high-tech!

    • daniel

      your in for a rude awakening when you get back in and get some current experience.

      • scourge

        Yeah, have several buddies still active, and a kid brother in his twenties fresh out of Air Force basic, so I’m aware that it ain’t the same military I left some years ago. I’m waiting to hear my kid brother’s take on these ridiculous “stress cards”, and trying like hell to my head around the fact that he had time to be bored in basic, asking us to send him letters and atricle printouts and stuff to read. Whiskey tango foxtrot? I sure as hell don’t remember having time to be bored in basic….

  • ed’s

    I agree. The old WWII Jeep and 2 1/2, put you “ON” not “IN” a vehicle.
    . . . the idea is to get the troops and their weapons to the action,
    . . . not lock them into a can with a bullseye for every RPG in the area.
    For $2,500.- Tata Nano will make you “One a Minute” vehicle’s,
    . . . that are driving over some of the worst roads in the world,
    . . . light enough to be picked up by a team if stuck in mud,
    . . . sip gas like a motorcycle and
    if you replace the roof with canvas, it’ll have a low profile
    . . . that is hard to hit with an RPG,
    . . . but able to carry a .50 cal. that can shoot a mile,
    . . . . . . accurately enough to be used by a sniper,
    . . . . . . shoot thru a house and
    . . . . . . provide enough suppressive fire to stop a human wave attack.
    I’ll bet you could buy 50 Tata Nano’s
    . . . for what one of these armored cars cost

    • daniel

      wow, i think you just made it clear you have no relevant experience.

  • Jeff M

    So and so wants bigger windows, he wants a better AC, guy over there wants more sound dampening, other guy wants it to have no armor at all but to be more of a balsa wonder that can be picked up by 4 men….. Sigh!

    I have a theory why the mil doesn’t switch guns, it’s because they don’t want to turn the small background noise debate into a congressional hearing that everyone who thinks they know anything
    will have to get their say in on.

  • ryan

    Which one has an A/C and CD Player?? That one gets my vote.

  • SSG Young

    Here are some of my issues. First off I think the next vehicle should be one where I can actually turn my body in it while wearing body armor. It should be one where everytiem I get in and out I won’t hit my chins on metal. Something were I am not squeezed in and despite being a small guy, still have issues getting in and out with any kind of speed when something happens. Something were if I roll over into a ditch in Iraq or Afghanistan I am not trapped and have room to manuever so I can be at least given a fighting to chance to survive. Oh and can you throw in XM radio and a C.R.O.W. turret.

  • citanon

    From these videos the LM vehicle appears to have a smoother ride while going faster over the same course.

  • AAK

    We don’t learn too much from those vids although they are interesting. These are going to be the general purpose runabouts correct? I agree that an in-theatre version with as much protection as possible is great, and if that compromises the baseline version so be it. But the balance has to stop somewhere. Scooting about in a non-hostile environment in some behemoth begs the question of another light vehicle for some roles. These are so far from a hummvee it may be worth the extra logistics. How do these vehicles handle mud? Desert and rocky terrain are not a given over the life of the chosen machine.

    The commonality element of the GTV gets my vote too. But that’s without knowing the actual cost and actual logistical issues which might arise from not having that commonality, and whether other factors cancel the advantage out for the GTV. For example, they appear to be able to quote a higher commonality figure than the others – but what does that paper % actually mean in practice in terms of inventory/cost over time? Furthermore does (for example) a higher maintenance cost for the semi-active suspension cancel that out?

  • Daniel Mitchell

    The first thing that caught my attention were the windows on the vehicles sides, particularly the GTV and BAE models. Then looking further I came to the conclusion that they were all vulnerable to close in attacks.

  • Brian

    I thought that the GTV guy kept listing requirements as discriminators. It’s not a discriminator to have scaleable armor…everyone has to have it. It’s not a discriminator to have commonality across your own JLTV fleet and across other Army fleets. Everyone has to have it. It’s part of what the teams got graded on to make it to this TD phase.

    The only thing that seemed truly different to me was the LM guy talking about using hull shape and geometry to do something different than a standard v-hull.

  • ohwilleke

    It is remarkable how similar the three different proposals look. Apparently there is only one way to skin this cat.

  • brian

    Things like the dimensions and weight are driven by the transportability requirements, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that they look the same. The government asked for something very specific.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    will they have the CROWS system installed? Firing from a concealed pos is nice, but yes those windows are small. Wat one has the 6 CD player??

  • so we’re building these for Afghanistan/Iraq. What will the need be for the next war?

  • Bob the Builder

    Rumor has it that is a GCV protest looming, any one have any insight?

  • dwrocketman

    On this vehicle- first let me congratulate Matt on his commentary.
    Secondly, wow! great, does it make popcorn?
    Folks are talking about windows and WWII Jeeps? Are we so sufficiently stupid that we do not believe IED’s are here to stay? Don’t get me wrong there is a role for this vehicle, but, it has nothing to do with protecting frontline troops. Did this guy actually just sell me a Cadillac to go to war in? Dave

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  • INFGeek

    The answer to it all is bring back the M-113! Add IDF side armor (RPG-7 proof), belly armor for IED’s/mines, pintle mounts with armored glass, and claymores ringing it. Add 40mm grenade mounts for indirect 360′ protection and you have a winner. 3 MG’s make a 360′ protection so two PRG’s cant play tag with you. Adding a CROWS (or 3) just pushes up the price and takes away SA. With over 6,000 ready to go in Army stocks the turn around time would be short. I would also add a plow shovel on the front which could be switched with a mine roller (after you dig in to where ever your going to be based). C-130 transportable (with its crew, fully fueled/ammo’ed up unlike the Stryker), able to go anywhere (again unlike the Stryker which has to stick to roads/hard packed ground and cant swim) (You know the $4M each Stryker which when it initially went to Afghanistan in 2009 got high numbers of KIA’s and WIA’s. After 37 troops died and 238 were wounded, the brigade’s soldiers began to call the behemoth the “Kevlar Coffin.”)