The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is planning to acquire approximately 3,230 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) to replace its up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), better known as Humvees.
The Agile Combat Support Directorate, whish is under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), is working with the Department of the Army to field the DoD Humvee replacement. Through an Army contract with the JLTV manufacturer Oshkosh Defense, the directorate’s Support Equipment & Vehicles Division, in partnership with the USAF 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operation Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., plan to acquire and field the JLTVs starting in 2021.
Developed by the Army based on the U.S. experience fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the JLTV is considered a major upgrade from Humvees currently in the field. It’s designed to achieve operational objectives in performance, payload and protection against adversaries and provide better protection against improvised explosive devices.
“The JLTV is much more capable than the Humvee,” said Al Bello, chief of the division’s Mobility and Vehicles Branch, which oversees the JLTV Integrated Product Team leading the replacement effort. “Besides the technological advances, the ride and comfort of the vehicle is so much better, especially when you are going over uneven terrain. A ride in a Humvee can be very jarring, but this [JLTV] has an independent suspension, increased power with General Motors power and drivetrains, and overall is just a better vehicle due to evolving technology.”
While the Air Force has both up-armored and non-armored Humvees, this effort is currently focused on replacing up-armored Humvees. The directorate is acquiring three different JLTV variants including a general purpose vehicle (GP), utility vehicle (UTL), and a heavy guns carrier vehicle (HGC).
“The functional mission determines the vehicle variant and configuration,” said Bello.
For instance, due to their unique mission and requirements, Security Forces, Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Special Tactics and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) professionals will all have different configurations.
The new vehicles will start coming off the production line in January 2021. From there they will be sent to the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic located in North Charleston, S.C., for the installation of mission specific equipment. Providing there are no equipment delays, the vehicles will then be fielded to Air Force units starting around September 2021.
The Air Force’s JLTV procurement is a long-term program and is expected to through possibly 2045. The plans calls to replace approximately 125-150 Humvees per year through attrition.