AM General's JLTV design

The race to replace the iconic Humvee has entered its final stretch. Today, the Army gave competing contractors AM General, Oshkosh, and Lockheed Martin the final Request For Proposal for production of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The competitors have until February 5 to ask the government questions and must submit their proposals by Feb.… Keep reading →

After years of ups and downs and threats of cancellation, the Army and Marines are about to award contracts to develop a new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace the venerable and vulnerable Humvee. In an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense, retired Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli — the man who did more than anyone to save the JLTV from cancellation — argued that the new armored truck is critical not just to protect US troops but to carry the fight to the enemy in future wars.

“When I was vice [chief of staff], we were about ready to lose JLTV because of the cost; the Marine corps and the Army were heading in two different directions; and it was really [Marine Corps Assistant Commandant] Joe Dunford and I who said wait a second, we really need this vehicle, we can’t afford this service parochialism,” Chiarelli recalled. Keep reading →

Mt. Airy, N.C. – The Army will officially kick off its multimillion program to revamp its Humvee fleet next week. So Breaking Defense headed here to get a look at what some of the competition is doing.

The final request for proposals will likely hit the streets within weeks, with companies vying for the contract expected to have their bids by January, according to Chris Berman, president of Granite Tactical Vehicles, one of the competitors. Keep reading →

Washington: The Army’s Humvee has become a modern military icon, replacing the World War II-era Jeep as one of the most recognizable vehicles on the battlefield.

It also provides just as much protection against improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades as those vehicles built by Henry Ford in the 1940’s.

The introduction of up-armored versions of the Humvee and the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle into Iraq and Afghanistan have leveled the playing field, but even today, U.S. troops know that when you load up into a light-armored Humvee, it’s a roll of the dice.

Top Army brass know this, and are looking to do something about it, Army Chief of Staff nominee Gen. Ray Odierno told the Hill this week.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Odierno said the Army was considering building in scalable protective solutions into the 100,000 Humvees the service plans to upgrade in the coming months.

The Pentagon has already begun strengthening certain versions of the MRAP that are vulnerable to a particular kind of IED, known as an explosively formed penetrator, built by Iran.

“The protection of our troops and how we use these vehicles is important, and so we always try to include the most protection that we can,” Odierno said. “Either in the original design or some sort of armor that can be attached later on to protect them.”

Those scalable solutions would include armor and other defensive upgrades to the Humvee that would defend it against RPGs and IEDs — the weapons of choice for Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Army leaders have also adopted a similar plan for its future fleet of Ground Combat Vehicles and Joint Light Attack Vehicles.

GCV, designed to fill the gap between the Army’s medium-armored Stryker vehicle and M1A1 Abrams tank, is still behind schedule with the service poised to award contracts within the next few months.

But a recently released memo by Army Secretary John McHugh detailed efforts the service is taking to get its acquisition programs, including the GCV, back on track.

But until then, U.S. troops will be left to patrol the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan in the Humvee. And until Army leaders decide what they are going to do to increase protection in those vehicles, each trip American soldiers take into the field will be a gamble.