The Army-led Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) program is expanding its scope, reach and production rates to incorporate a growing number of U.S. allies interested in acquiring the now upgunned next-generation ruggedized tactical vehicle.
Oshkosh Defense, JLTV Production
U.S. Army Contracting Command just awarded a new JLTV production contract to its maker Oshkosh Defense for 1,669 vehicles along with companion trailers to support Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy forces as well as a growing list of NATO countries and allied partners.
Some of the allied countries receiving vehicles include Lithuania, Montenegro, Slovenia and Brazil, an Oshkosh Defense press statement said.
“Integrated lethality on an agile and protected vehicle like the Oshkosh JLTV is quickly filling capability gaps that exist in many international militaries,” John Lazar, Vice President and General Manager of International Programs for Oshkosh Defense, said in a company press statement.
“This past year, we’ve seen an increased interest in the Oshkosh JLTV from international customers with dynamic demonstrations and live fires across Europe with more planned for 2022.”
While the program has existed for many years now, its continued expansion seems to suggest the continued global appetite for the blend of attributes woven into the vehicle.
Since its inception, engineers and Army planners developing the vehicle sought a new platform to not only replace the Humvee in terms of function as a tactical transport all-purpose vehicle but also expand beyond the Humvee’s more limited mission set to incorporate a wider operational envelope.
The JLTV was architected with an unprecedented blend of protection, payload and performance, meaning the Army desire was to engineer a platform able to go off-road as needed, carry large amounts of troops, supplies and ammunition and even function as a heavily armed combat platform as well. While not tracked or heavily armored like a tank or infantry carrier, the JLTV is increasingly being weaponized with anti-tank missiles, counter drone technology and a new generation of sensing and computing technologies.
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This supports the Army’s current move toward more “expeditionary” operations, meaning an ability to rapidly deploy impactful combat power to meet urgent or emerging threats and combat demands.
Along similar lines, a key reason why interest in the JLTV is expanding may pertain to the extent to which its combat capabilities continue to be upgraded.
Of course the JLTV is likely to be regularly upgraded with new high-speed computer processing, on board electronics and command and control technology as well as next-generation sensors.
Beyond that, Oshkosh is working with several JLTV partner nations to greatly upgun the JLTV with a new, highly-lethal Non Line of Sight Missile called SPIKE. The NLOS Spike, a missile system developed by Israel, can track and destroy drones, helicopters, low-flying fixed wing aircraft and even ground targets parallel to the vehicle on the ground.The targeting and fire control system connecting the NLOS SPIKE to the JLTV includes an ability to redirect and course-correct in flight as new information arrives.
Oshkosh recently shot off the NLOS spike in a demonstration supported by the Estonian Navy showing that the weapon can hit targets out to ranges of 32km. The JLTV-integrated weapon also brings multi-domain attack possibilities as it can be fired from a land vehicle to destroy enemy ships, landing craft or other maritime threats. On land, SPIKE can also be used to find, target and track enemy tanks, something which combines anti-armor heavy weapons attack capability with an expeditionary, deployable tactical vehicle.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.