The JLTV is being fielded so slowly that soldiers and Marines will likely still use Humvees in the next war
Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
Army and Marine Corps combat units are starting to receive brand-new, high-performance Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. But if war with a major power ignites in the near future, the bulk of U.S. ground forces will go into battle with the same Humvees that struggled to survive the last war.
Today, the formidable-looking JLTV – which promises vastly improved crew protection and enhanced performance – is ready for battle. But it will take the military more than a decade to field roughly 58,000 of them to the Army and the Marines.
Even then, tens of thousands of Humvees will remain in service.
The Army hasn’t decided whether it will upgrade its existing Humvees with improved protection and performance, a move the Marines have decided against. While there are risks associated with leaving the Humvee as it currently is, military experts question whether a major war with Russia or China will present threats that the vehicle can’t handle. As policy makers push for more armor and greater survivability on all platforms, some say military leaders must make the choice to be honest with the American public about the reality of warfare: that too much armor protection can hinder performance and that ground troops will die no matter what vehicle carries them into battle.
The venerable Humvee was first fielded to combat units in the mid-1980s. It had impressive mobility; it was fast and extremely reliable.
But beginning in 2004, the vehicle that was designed for the European battlefield began to struggle when it faced a determined Iraqi insurgency that fought with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Soon, images of burnt-out, twisted Humvees became a symbol of America’s struggle to cope with a new, horrific …read more
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