In 1940, the U.S. Army adopted a new vehicle, the “truck, 1/4-ton, reconnaissance,” later reclassified as “truck, 1/4-ton, general purpose.” Either because of the “general purpose” designation; the Ford manufacturing nomenclature “GPW” or because it was was an old military slang term, the small vehicle became known as the “jeep.”
The first military contract price for a jeep was $648.74 which would be $10,110.81 in 2012 dollars.
In 1950, the Willys MB and Ford GPW, the original jeeps, were replaced by the M38, which in turn was superseded by the M38A1 (the basis for the civilian CJ-5) in 1952. The vehicle was again reclassified, this time as the “truck, 1/4-ton, utility.”
In in 1960, the Ford M151 Military Utility Tactical Truck (MUTT) became the Army’s standard light tactical vehicle for use behind the front lines. Other vehicles like the half-ton Mule and 1.25-ton Gama Goat, were added to the fleet, but were intended to complement the MUTT, not replace it.
The now familiar M998 HMMWV (Humvee) replaced all the smaller trucks beginning in 1984. The Humveee was a completely new approach to a tactical utility vehicle and carried a completely new price of about $65,000 for the basic, unarmored version and $140,000 for later armored version used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of a 1/4-ton truck, the base HMMWV was a 1.25-ton vehicle that could be configured for a wide variety of applications.
Now Oshkosh Defense announced it has been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense contract for the engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) phases for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program.
The JLTV program is a joint effort of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, working under the leadership of the Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS). The goal of the program is the replacement of the military’s aging fleet of HMMWVs with a lightweight vehicle that offers greater protection, mobility and transportability.
Oshkosh’s entry is its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV). Under its new contract, Oshkosh will deliver 22 JLTV prototypes within 365 days of contract award, and support government testing and evaluation of the prototypes.
(To watch a short video of the development of the Oshkosh L-ATV, click here.)
The program was nearly cancelled when the cost per vehicle soared to $350,000. It’s been reduced to a range from $230,000 to $270,000.
Though the cost has risen dramatically, the military requirements for the JLTV call for a totally different type of vehicle. The JLTV, unlike all of its predecessors, is designed from the beginning to be a front-line combat vehicle. It is a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) truck that can serve supply, support and combat patrol missions and keep its occupants safe from small-arms fire, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and anti-personnel mines.
“Oshkosh’s M-ATV is the only vehicle in the combat theater in Afghanistan performing the JLTV’s mission profile,” said John Urias, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Oshkosh Defense. “The JLTV program is critical to supporting our troops who stand in harm’s way and deserve the best equipment that industry can provide. The Oshkosh JLTV solution will allow the Army and Marine Corps to provide unprecedented levels of protection and off-road mobility in a light vehicle – so that their troops can accomplish their missions and return home safely.”
Oshkosh Defense was one of three competing contractors receiving an EMD award. Lockheed Martin will build 22 of its JLTV and AM General, the supplier of the Humvee, will supply 22 of its BRV-O (Blast Resistant Vehicle-Offroad). The three designs will then be evaluated and a final supplier will be selected.
The Army and Marines expect to begin replacing Humvees with the new truck in 2015.