US Army Tests HUMVEE Replacement Pickups

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Everyone knows about the Humvee, the heavy-duty 4×4 that inspired the original HUMMER H1 civilian SUV. While the Humvee has served the US Army well over the past few decades, technology continually marches forward. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is the program dedicated to finding the Humvee’s replacement…and to our eyes the JLTV entrants look a heck of a lot like pickup trucks.

General Tactical Vehicles JLTV entrant

General Tactical Vehicles JLTV entrant

The JLTV has been in development for several years under the auspices of a number of military contractors, and the primary aim of the design has been to improve on areas where the original Humvee fell short. Of these upgrades, perhaps most important has been the emphasis on upgrading the ‘survivability’ of the vehicle. While the Humvee was quite capable at tackling a wide variety of off-road situations, it fell down noticeably when it came to protecting occupants from shrapnel, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or machine gun attacks.

As a result, the three vehicles competing for selection as the JLTV have been designed to incorporate armor plating – which was not included in the original Humvee spec – as well as bullet-proof glass to provide a further level of safety for soldiers riding inside. JLTV requirements also detail:

  • The need for the vehicle to be able to escape a situation on as many as two flat tires
  • Be able to function normally after having had any of its fluid tanks compromised by small arms fire
  • Improved overall performance in terms of speed and acceleration
  • Better fuel economy
  • Higher top speed
  • More payload capacity
  • Must be able to be delivered via C-130 or CH-47/CH-53 helicopter
Lockheed-Martin JLTV entrant

Lockheed-Martin JLTV entrant

Also of importance to Army planners when evaluating the JLTV candidates is the ability to perform quick and easy repairs in the field. Each potential candidate is going to be judged on its overall reliability while pulling tough duty, and that reliability must be better than that of the Humvee.

Once the winning design is selected, there will be three different primary configurations of JLTV ordered by the U.S. Army. Essentially, these three configurations are utility (ranging from ambulance and high capacity payload movers), general purpose scout models, and combat personnel carrier vehicles. Three companies are currently neck and neck when it comes to demonstrating the capabilities of their Joint Light Tactical Vehicle designs: General Tactical Vehicles, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems.

BAE Systems JLTV entrant

BAE Systems JLTV entrant

JLTV Technology Could Trickle Down To Consumer Pickups

Fuel economy is of critical importance to the Army of the 21st century. When conflicts are fought far away from infrastructure, fuel costs can be astronomical. According to a Pentagon study, the Army currently spends $400 on ONE gallon of fuel in Afghanistan. Obviously, the cost is so high because of transportation, but it should emphasize the importance of going as far on one gallon of fuel as possible. If the new JLTV manages to achieve it’s mission while getting great gas mileage, you can bet that consumers will see that same technology on their personal pickups in the near future.

Finally, here’s some AMAZING video of a commercial armored truck being shot at by an AK-47…while two guys sit in the cab and chat. The truck isn’t in the JLTV competition, but it is being offered to private defense contractors as an alternative to armored commercial vehicles like this Bullet-Proof Armored Tundra we wrote about a couple of years ago.

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  1. toyota should remake the late 70’s / early 80’s Hi Lux Pickup and armor plate it. It would not be big enough but you can’t kill them. THAT would be an interesting military vehicle

  2. Mickey says:

    This truck has a strange look of a Nissan and Mitzubishi offspring.

  3. rich says:

    The passenger in the video flinched big time after the first round hit the glass. They asked if the guys in the truck were scared and they answered no because it was armored….yea right. Those vest they wore would do little to help against an AK-47 round….its all about the show. The JLTV is a kick butt program and I can’t wait to see the final vehicle!

  4. danny says:

    i think it’s funny that they are even wearing armour. I know it’s for extra safety but it doesnt show much faith in the vehicle’s ability to stop small arms fire.

    KSAT Texas news broadcast, “Bullet Proof TUNDRA”
    You too can have one for 85K plus the cost of the truck.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdyznOApMrA

  5. Mike says:

    You still gotta flinch for something like that. I am in the Honor Guard for my police department, and I still flinch everytime I hear a 21 gun salute, even when I know its coming, the gun isn’t pointed at me and is firing blanks anyway!

  6. Jason says:

    Jeremy – I’m sure that’s what some 3rd world armies use…remember all the hub-bub about the Toyota Hilux being the Taliban’s favorite troop vehicle?
    ##
    Mickey – When I first saw these trucks, I wanted to label them Dodge, GM, and VW, LOL.
    ##
    rich – I would have wet my pants! The video is incredible. I too can’t wait to see what the Army ends up with…and then I want a civilian version!
    ##
    Mike – Word. Flinching is a natural reflex. When I go to the range, I still flinch ever so slightly. It’s definitely something you can focus on with training, but it never goes away entirely.

  7. Jr says:

    I agree with Jeremy, ironic enough, Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear made a joke how all the third world countries use old toyota pick-ups for thier militaries.

    Hell if the US military starts using the hilux, maybe we might finally get a Hilux in the USA, i really do think the hilux looks alot more rugged than the tacoma does.

  8. Jason says:

    Jr – I’m in. Hopefully it will have a diesel too.

  9. larry says:

    A bullet proof Toyota Tundra?

  10. Jr says:

    Jason, what is it that keeps toyota from selling diesel vehicles in the US? Is it just emission standards are too strict? Or is there other factors that keep them from selling them?

  11. Jason says:

    Jr – The main reasons are 1) emissions rules and 2) higher fuel costs. In Europe, where diesels are tremendously popular, the emissions standards are much more realistic for diesel. Also, perhaps because diesel is popular, oil refineries in Europe produce more diesel than gas…which means prices aren’t as likely to skyrocket. In the USA, there’s not a lot of refineries churning out diesel, and the demand in the diesel market is fairly inelastic because of all the big diesel trucks we use. It’s sort of a catch-22 – refineries won’t make more diesel unless they know there will be demand, but manufacturers are reluctant to build diesel trucks because diesel fuel costs tend to climb higher faster than gasoline (at least in North America).

  12. Jr says:

    ahh, thanks to the lovely EPA…i guess dreams of importing an Australian TRD Hilux are now crushed lol.

  13. Michael in NJ says:

    Someone told me that the replacement for the Humvee will be manufactured in India for the US military…an Indian company was awarded the contract. Can this possibly be true?

  14. Jason (Admin) says:

    Michael – As far as I know no contract has been awarded.

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