MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division in New York and Marines with the II Marine Expeditionary Force in North Carolina will be among the first to receive the military's new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Officials with the programs developing the JLTV on Wednesday revealed which Army and Marine units will receive the vehicles first.
The first Army unit to receive the JLTV will be an infantry brigade combat team in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. The unit will see all but a handful of its 500 Humvees replaced with JLTVs by early 2019, said Col. Shane Fullmer, the Army's program manager for the JLTV.
After fielding to the brigade in the 10th Mountain Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy, and then a brigade in Hawaii — likely with the 25th Infantry Division — will receive their new JLTVs, he said.
In the Marine Corps, a yet-to-be-identified infantry battalion within II MEF at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will receive 69 JLTVs to replace the same number of Humvees in July 2019, said Andrew Rodgers, the program manager over light tactical vehicles for the Marines.
Within 90 days, a similar unit with I MEF on the West Coast will see its vehicles replaced; and within another nine months, a unit with III MEF in Japan will be in the driver seats, Rodgers said.
The JLTV has been designed to replace the Humvee across nearly all the defense ground light tactical vehicles. It is currently in low-rate production for the U.S. military, with full-rate production expected to start in 2019.
In total, the military expects to buy about 55,000 JLTVs.
The vehicle has ballistic protection equal to the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, but is one-third lighter and 70 percent faster off road than the MRAP, officials said.
The JLTV comes in two- and four-door variants. The two-door variants are utility vehicles mostly used for transporting equipment and hauling trailers. The four-door option can be configured into three options: General Purpose, Close Combat Weapons Carrier and Heavy Gun Carrier.
The remaining configuration not yet resolved is an ambulance version.
For now, the Army and Marines will continue to use Humvees for ambulance work, officials said.
The officials spoke Wednesday during a media day at Quantico. During the event, members of the press were invited to ride in the JLTV over a driving obstacle course.
Drivers with Oshkosh Defense, the company that produces the JLTV, took the helmeted reporters, strapped in five-point restraints, up and down 60-degree grades, through 30-degree turns, and over alternating three-foot dirt slaloms at between 12 and 35 miles per hour.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.