The Marine Corps wants as many of the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, the replacement for the Humvee, as it can get its hands on, according to a new in National Defense magazine.
OshKosh won the contract in 2015 to produce the JLTV to replace the Marine Corps and Army’s aging fleets of Humvees. That contract was for $6.7 billion to produce roughly 17,000 initial vehicles. In total, the program could result in as many 50,000 JLTVs.
And while the Marine Corps has committed itself to only 5,500 units, Andrew Rodgers, the Marine Corps’ program manager for light tactical vehicles, said at a recent defense conference that Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller wants a lot more.
“The increases are based on funding available. The Marine Corps enterprise has … [indicated] that they do want to go up to 9,991,” Rodgers said. “They want to go there as quick as possible. Last time I spoke to the commandant of the Marine Corps, he said, ‘Get JLTVs out the door as quick as possible.’”
The Marine Corps’ acquisition priorities were called into question back in March amid billion-dollar aviation programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the new CH-53K King Stallion helicopter. Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas from Massachusetts challenged the Marine Corps spending priorities.
“While the Marine Corps certainly has a need for aircraft of many types, the ratio of spending on aircraft compared to ground equipment is striking,” Tsongas said during the March 10 Marine Corps modernization hearing. Tsongas pointed out that the Marine Corps’ 2017 budget requested three times as much for aviation as it did for ground combat technologies.
“… I have some concerns about this ratio of spending on aircraft versus ground equipment, given the Marine Corps’ mission to be the premiere force in readiness and the historical reliance that the nation has placed on the Marine Corps’ role in ground combat,” she added.
Tsongas’ concerns have merit, as it’s easy to worry the Marine Corps is focusing too much on aviation technologies and not proportionately investing in developing the ground combat element. This news on the JLTV, however, shows the Marine Corps has at least one ground combat technology it is enamored with.