Above: BAE Systems JLTV candidate.
The army vehicle procurement officials are getting a lot of heat from outside the army, as well as within. While half the annual sales of HMMWV vehicles were to the U.S. Army, the rest went to other branches of the American military, and foreign customers. Nearly 200,000 hummers have been produced so far, in dozens of variants and versions. The army will continue to use the hummer for a decade or more, but the unique vehicle design is now fading away, to be replaced by the JLTV.
The heavier (seven ton) JLTV replaces the 2.4 ton HMMWV. The JLTV marks a notable design direction for tactical vehicles. The JLTV is designed to absorb combat damage, and be quickly equipped with two different armor kits. In effect, the World War II concept of the unarmored light vehicle for moving men and material around the battlefield has been radically changed.
This began in Iraq, where it was demonstrated that you can fight your way through a hostile population on a regular basis and defeat a guerilla force constantly attacking your tactical and logistical vehicles. This has never worked before, and worked this time, in part, because U.S. troops promptly armored their hummers and trucks, and quickly developed “road warrior” tactics that defeated roadside and suicide bombs. Even though these bombs created a lot of American casualties, the fatality rate was a third of what it was in Vietnam and World War II. Mainly because of the armored hummers and trucks. Few people outside the military noted this event, a watershed moment in military history. But it was recognized within the military, and produced this sharp shift in design philosophy for tactical trucks, and the result is the JLTV.