Directorate working to replace up-armored Humvees

A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle moves on a production line. The new vehicle will begin replacing up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, better known as Humvees in 2021. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO
A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle moves on a production line. The new vehicle will begin replacing up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, better known as Humvees in 2021. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

The Agile Combat Support Directorate is working with the Department of the Army to field the Department of Defense replacement for up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, better known as Humvees.

Through an Army contract with the Oshkosh Corp., the directorate’s Support Equipment & Vehicles Division, in partnership with the 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operation Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, plan to acquire and field approximately 3,230 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles 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, utility vehicle and a heavy guns carrier vehicle.

“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, Special Tactics and Explosive Ordnance Disposal 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 located in North Charleston, South Carolina, 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.

“This is a long-term program, and we’ll be buying [JLTVs] through possibly 2045,” said Bello. “There are a lot of Humvees out there that are still in good shape. We’ll replace approximately 125-150 per year through attrition.”

Bello added that his team is motivated by the fact that the JLTV will make a difference in the field.

“It’s important to protect our warfighters in the field and ensure they have the best equipment to do the mission,” Bello said. “The Humvee was purchased years ago, it was a good vehicle and served its purpose, but technology has improved and for us, it’s all about getting the best equipment into the hands of the warfighter.”

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