Nearly six months after Marines first got their hands on the Pentagon's next battlewagon, the Corps says its brand new tactical vehicle is ready for a fight.
The service's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, has hit initial operational capacity, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on Monday, declaring the vehicle ready to deploy and "support missions of the naval expeditionary force-in-readiness" around the world.
"IOC is more than just saying that the schoolhouses and an infantry battalion all have their trucks," said Eugene Morin, product manager for JLTV at PEO Land Systems, said the MARCORSYSCOM release. "All of the tools and parts required to support the system need to be in place, the units must have had received sufficient training and each unit commander needs to declare that he is combat-ready."
A Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in action
(U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Timothy R. Smithers)
Developed in collaboration with the Army as a long-term replacement for the much-maligned Humvee, the service's first JTLVs arrived at the School of Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton this past February.
But that initial fielding was a bittersweet one: the previous month, the latest assessment of JLTV the Pentagon's operational testing and evaluation arm stated that the vehicles "are not operationally suitable because of deficiencies in reliability, maintainability, training, manuals, crew situational awareness, and safety."
Despite these issues, service officials claim to have worked out many of the vehicles kinks in the intervening months, as PEO Land Systems executive officer John Garner stated in the MARCORSYSCOM release: "The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our Marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor."
"I'm proud of what our team, in collaboration with the Army, has accomplished," Garner added. "Their commitment to supporting the warfighter delivered an exceptional vehicle, ahead of schedule, that Marines will use to dominate on the battlefield now and well into the future."
Marine officials said in February the the Corps plans on fielding between 250 and 300 JLTVs to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune after Memorial Day and the I MEF and III MEF sometime in September.