The U.S. Army has approved the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for full-rate production. Dr. Bruce Jette, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, signed off on the decision June 20. The JLTV is built by Oshkosh Defense.
The Army has already been fielding the armored tactical vehicles, which are replacing a portion of the service’s Humvee fleet. The Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, became the first unit equipped with the new vehicles in April 2019 after receiving more than 300 JLTVs.
The JLTV program took a hit in the Pentagon’s latest budget request. The Army is seeking funding for 2,530 vehicles in FY20, which is 505 fewer than planned. Service officials said they have no shortage of tactical vehicles at the moment, so cutting the procurement rate will not hinder operations. Overall, the Army is reducing JLTV procurement by 852 vehicles between FY20 and FY23 when compared to the previous year’s plan. The bulk of the cuts are in FY20 and FY22. The service currently anticipates buying 13,231 vehicles over the next five years.
The Army was planning to buy around 49,000 JLTVs overall, but Army Secretary Mark Esper said recently that this number will fall. He did not specify an exact figure. The cuts stem from the fact that the JLTV was designed to address requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops needed heavier tactical vehicles to protect from roadside bombs. The Pentagon is now refocusing on developing capabilities for potential conflicts with countries like Russia and China, which requires a very different set of priorities.
The Marines also reduced JLTV procurement by 596 vehicles in the FY20 budget, with the request seeking funding for 1,398 vehicles. A total of 5,354 vehicles are funded for the Marine Corps between FY20 and FY24.
The Navy and Air Force are also buying a limited number of JLTVs.