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It's s not just Army and Marine Corps commanders who are amped to replace their beaten-up old Humvees with Oshkosh Corp’s shiny new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle: Both the Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command are reportedly angling to add the multipurpose combat vehicles to their arsenals in in the coming year.
The Air Force is considering the JLTV as a potential successor to the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle as the primary vehicle for the security forces tasked with guarding missile silos and launch facilities, Defense News reported at the beginning of 2017. The branch included $60 million to purchase 140 as part of its fiscal year 2018 budget request that it submitted in May. But according to an Army official, Air Force officials were inching closer to finalizing the exact number and time frame to replace the branch’s aging fleet of Humvees.
“We’ve had some very top level discussions with the Air Force,” joint program manager Army Col. Shane Fullmer told National Defense magazine during a JLTV demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 14. “I don’t think they’ve settled on types or quantities or anything like that. We’ve just had some overarching discussions.”
When reached by Task & Purpose, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews confirmed that the branch is set on purchasing 140 JLTVs not just for use by the security forces, but personnel involved with a variety of missions from explosive ordnance disposal downrange to the Guardian Angels weapons system tasked with personnel recovery.
“The JLTV provides a balance of protection, performance and payload in order to afford Airmen the greatest opportunity to accomplish their mission in a variety of terrains and battle spaces,” McAndrews told Task & Purpose. If fully funded by Congress, the Air Force plans on acquiring 46 utility, 48 general-purpose, and 46 heavy-gun variants of the combat vehicle.
More importantly, a variety of potential JLTV applications outlined by McAndrews fall under the purview of U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command’s special tactics forces, like pararescuemen and the tactical air control forces who embed with Army and Marine units downrange, suggesting that the JLTV might catch the eye of special operations forces.
Speaking at Quantico on June 14, Fuller told National Defense that U.S. Special Operations Command itself has “expressed interest” in picking up the JLTV, although SOCOM officials “have not yet tested” the vehicle despite discussions with the Army’s joint program office. (SOCOM did not immediately respond to request for comment from Task & Purpose.)
The news is a boon for Oshkosh, which beat out both Lockheed Martin and Humvee parent AM General LLC for a $6.7 billion DoD contract to provide 17,000 JLTVs for the Army and Marine Corps. The two branches now plan on purchasing nearly 55,000 JLTVs combined, 49,000 for the Army and 5,500 for a Corps; however, the Corps already looking to expand its fleet to 9,091.
Other branches won't have to wait too long to get their hands on the new combat vehicle. According to Fuller, the JLTV program is ready and waiting to accommodate increased interest among various military leaders. “They might have some unique needs but our contract would accommodate that. … If they came to us and said, ‘I have this other piece of kit that really needs to go on there,’ we could design [one]," he told National Defense. “It wouldn’t be overly complicated. … We can accommodate almost anything.”
The Air Force plans on fielding the JLTV as soon as fiscal year 2019. In the mean time, they'll have to watch and wait while the soldiers of the Army's 10th Mountain Division and Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force get to play around with their new toys.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.