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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor BATTLESPACE

09 Oct 07. Lockheed Martin and International/BAE Systems launched their Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Teams against a background of uncertainty for the Project.

In September Defense News reported that due to the continued threats of roadside bombs, asymmetrical attacks and the overall survivability demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, senior U.S. Army and Defense Department leaders have temporarily halted the JLTV program, sending planners of the next-generation Humvee back to the drawing board.

“We don’t want to put ourselves in a situation where we are continually trying to hang more technology on the old truck,” said U.S Army Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Forward.
The change of course amounts to a reversal of Army plans to release a formal request for production to industry by the early part of next year. Now, Army leaders are crafting a new tactical wheeled vehicles strategy designed to bring new approaches to the JLTV.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with continued improved explosive device and explosively formed penetrator attacks, have highlighted the need for a more survivable light utility vehicle, Army officials said.

“With this whole MRAP process, we’ve learned we need to re-look at what’s the force protection we’re going to put in all of our trucks and all of our wheeled vehicles,” said Vane. “We are taking another look at that now and the Army is putting together its wheeled vehicles strategy — we at TRADOC are looking hard at what are the kinds of force protection levels to have in the different kinds of conditions we expect in the future.”
The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command has outlined a detailed list of requirements and JLTV variants for the program, details which will be incorporated into a new strategy, Vane said.

The JLTV program is a multi-service initiative for a family of future light tactical vehicles being developed as a joint system between the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps. The vehicle will eventually replace the 140,000 HMMVs in service under a contract worth $10bn

A good deal of the discussion at this year’s AUSA was similar to that at DVD in the UK, as Scott Gourley reported, involved two emerging U.S. joint service tactical wheeled vehicle programs: Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) vehicle and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

Taken together, the two vehicles play a critical role in future force protection, tactical mobility, and operational planning.

Force Protection Need

In their joint statement before the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on 18 January 2007, Army Lieutenant General Stephen M. Speakes, Deputy Chief of Staff, G8; and Major General Jeffrey A. Sorenson, Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, provided a status overview of a wide range of U.S. force protection programs, highlighting the importance of both MRAP and JLTV

“…Since our last update in June 2006, we have initiated joint programs with the Marines to develop an interim solution for the tactical wheeled vehicle challenge via the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle (MRAP),” the Army statement read. “We are partnering with industry to move forward faster on these initiatives so that we can field MRAP starting this summer and the long-range solution, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) as soon as possible…”

Expanding on the programmatic relationships between the parallel efforts, the statement reiterated, “Jointly with the Marine Corps, we are in the process of rapidly acquiring Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. MRAP fills a near-term, urgent joint service requirement for enhanced crew protection. The MRAP program will rapidly field highly

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