AMMAN, Jordan — The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will serve as the interim light reconnaissance vehicle for the US Army, according to Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess, the Army Capabilities Integration Center's deputy director.
The idea has been floated as a possibility since late last year but Dyess firmed up the Army's plan to use JLTV as an interim solution for the Army's LRV on Wednesday at the National Defense Industrial Association's Tactical-Wheeled Vehicle conference in Reston, Virginia. The news was first reported by NDIA's National Defense magazine.
For how long JLTV would serve as the LRV or what that means in terms of production numbers was not detailed, but Scott Davis, the Army's program executive officer of combat support and combat service support, said during a media briefing in March at the Association of the US Army's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, that if JLTV becomes LRV there are some things that would need to be considered.
"I think there is still some investigation to be done," he said. "The element of lots of things about JLTV tend to fit a lot of things they are looking for for LRV with exception. We'd have to add the sensor and perhaps a larger weapon. The one key element that is at least desired in a [LRV] is a sixth seat. We can carry five in the JLTV and so I expect as we look forward to defining the requirements of LRV and discuss the capacities and things we will be taking a look at is it feasible and possible to come up with some other way to get a sixth person in JLTV."
Defense News checked in with Oshkosh Defense — JLTV's maker — at its booth at SOFEX, a special operations exhibition in Amman, Jordan, where JLTV was prominently on display, but the news of the Army's decision had yet to travel to representatives focused on the Middle East.
But Oshkosh in the US confirmed that Army had indeed selected the JLTV to fulfill the initial requirements for the LRV program.
"Oshkosh designed the JLTV to seamlessly integrate a full range of mission packages to serve both current and future needs — recognizing that our Army and Marine Corps customers must plan for future operations with many unknowns," John Bryant, company senior vice president of defense programs, said in a statement sent to Defense News. "The fire power and C4ISR equipment required for LRV will easily integrate into the JLTV platform."
The Army's combat vehicle modernization strategy released last October stresses the need for both a new ground mobility vehicle and a new LRV to meet the service's future requirements.
Several companies have come forward with offerings to fill both the GMV and LRV needs, like Polaris, and most notably, Northrop Grumman dramatically unveiled its Hellhound light reconnaissance vehicle at AUSA's annual conference in Washington, D.C., at the same time the combat vehicle modernization strategy rolled out.
At a time when there are few military vehicle procurement programs on the horizon, going with JLTV as the next LRV likely comes with disappointment for companies standing ready with LRV offerings.