How Does the Oshkosh JLTV Measure Up to the Humvee?
Whether it’s on the battlefield or at the site of a disaster, the iconic HMMWV has served the United States loyally since 1985, and over those 30 years more than 281,000 “Humvees” have rolled off the AM General production lines. But now there’s a new kid in town. The Oshkosh JLTV has been designed to replace and improve upon the aging Humvee. Two weeks ago, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense announced it was awarded a $6.75 billion contract to produce 17,000 JLTVs for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Here are a few of the advancements that the new rough-and-tumble Oshkosh will offer U.S. servicemen and women. RELATED: Take a Closer Look at the Oshkosh Defense JLTV
MRAP Toughness in a Baja Racer’s Body
While the HMMWV continues to prove itself as a versatile military design, the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts revealed a fatal flaw—insufficient protection from improvised explosive devices.
The new JLTV chassis has been designed from the get-go to provide better survivability from explosives, and Oshkosh has said the light tactical vehicle now delivers MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) levels of protection from underbelly blasts. And it’s a good thing too. Pentagon findings showed that in 2009, U.S. troops in MRAPs were 17 times more likely to survive IED blasts than in Humvees.
The JLTV has also proven to be highly competent and quick off-road, and comes fitted with Oshkosh’s TAK-4i adjustable independent suspension, which can be raised and lowered depending on terrain and features 20 inches of wheel travel. The modular setup also delivers a ride three times smoother than solid axle applications, and when fitted to the JLTV, permits 70 percent faster driving speeds across rough terrain than Oshkosh’s own MRAPs. Further, a pair of Oshkosh prototype vehicles were even entered in the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race in 2010.
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A New Diesel V8 and Hybrid Capability
The HMMWV has long championed a 6.5-liter diesel V8, built by General Engine Products in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms, and backed by a four-speed automatic. The end result is 190 horsepower, 380 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of 70 miles per hour.
The Oshkosh JLTV will reportedly ready a Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 similar to those found in today’s GM pickups, but built to “military spec.” While these number will expectedly change, the current 6.6-liter Duramax summons 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque in the 2015 Silverado 2500HD. Top speed? That’s said to be over 100 mph.
While more power available is certainly a good thing, what’s more interesting is Oshkosh’s optional powertrain—a “ProPulse” diesel-electric hybrid system, in which a diesel engine is used to run an electric generator. The hybrid setup can send upwards of 70kW of power to drive the vehicle’s axles, or that energy can be used to run ancillary devices in the field.
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Admittedly, it’s hard to beat the Humvee for mission capability. The HMMWV comes available in 15 different configurations, from troop carriers to ambulances to anti-tank missile launching vehicles. However, the JLTV is going to try.
The Oshkosh ships in two seating configurations, a two-seat or a four-seat version, and has been built to accept a variety of roof-mounted weapons, including manned and unmanned roof turrets as well as tube-launched missile systems. The vehicles will also pack devices to disrupt electronic sensors and counter IEDs, a range of GPS and radio/satellite communication systems, and computerized battlefield aids like shot detection. Pair that with improved blast protection and occupants ought to ride a bit easier.
The cost of a fully loaded JLTV is understood to be under $399,000. By comparison, armored Humvees were reported to bill for closer to $220,000.
The first JLTVs are expected to roll out to Army units in 2018. Beyond this first limited production run of vehicles, Oshkosh stands to contract an estimated $30 billion total for further JLTV production over the next decade.
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