By Kate Rainey, TacticalGear.com
As the Army begins to roll out its new Joint Lightweight Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), many of the details about this new combat vehicle are still classified. At least one thing is certain: the JLTV is a huge step up from the Humvee.
After over 30 years of service, it’s time for the venerable AM General Humvee to retire from the frontlines (though it will likely continue to play a role stateside). The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed serious weaknesses in the Humvee, including an inability to guard against IEDs and RPGs. Adding on thicker armor to bulk up the protection increased the weight beyond what the truck was designed to support, reducing speed and causing more frequent breakdowns.
The Army began looking for a replacement that could deliver better protection without sacrificing mobility. The Oshkosh Defense JLTV won the contract because of its safety features, reliability and off-road capability. With over 7,000 miles between failures and a digitally controlled engine, the JLTV represents a significant automotive advancement.
The JLTV features bulletproof windows, armored doors and a roof that can support 100% of the vehicle’s weight. The armored body guards against explosions from all sides with a V-shaped hull especially useful at deflecting blasts from below. This is a considerable improvement from the Humvee’s flat hull, which is prone to bending and rupturing. The JLTV is also expected to have blast-protected seats, blast mats and a floated floor to help prevent injuries by absorbing most of the impact of an explosion.
These thick defensive layers don’t hinder the JLTV’s off-road speed or maneuverability. It remains nimble over harsh terrain thanks to the TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension system. This suspension provides adjustable ride height and absorbs almost all of the beating an uneven road puts on a vehicle for a smoother ride. While comfort doesn’t seem crucial in a warzone, if soldiers can arrive more rested, they’ll likely be more alert and prepared. The TAK-4i also self-levels when parked, which means soldiers can say goodbye to struggling to get a heavy armored door open on an incline. (Looking at you, Humvee!)
Oshkosh Defense also loaded up the JLTV with the latest tech. It acts as a mobile command center with a C4ISR network system and Remote Weapon Systems that let soldiers operate weapons without having to leave the safety of the cab. Counter Radio Electronic Warfare systems help defeat IEDs, while Situational Awareness systems, including shot detection and long-range surveillance, increase response time and situational awareness.
Climb capability, fuel range, fording depth — name the feature and the Oshkosh JLTV outshines the Humvee. Even in terms of intimidation factor, the hulking build of the JLTV makes the Humvee look like a Prius by comparison. You can see exactly how the JLTV stacks up against the Humvee in this TacticalGear.com infographic. It lays out the latest details in a head-to-head comparison of these two vehicles, and makes it clear why the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force are transitioning to the new JLTV.