In modern military history, “one shot, one kill” was once a creed only for the highly-trained sniper, the hidden assassin who sows fear among enemy ranks from afar. Not anymore: The Army wants to build a rifle scope and optics system that will never miss — and will turn every infantry soldier into an expert rifleman no matter how much they actually suck as a marksman.
The Army has been racing to equip soldiers with lighter, more durable body armor and helmets for years, a requirement that Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reiterated during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington on Oct. 11. And defense contractors like Gentex, the corporation behind the Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), flooded AUSA’s tech expo to showcase the latest updates in soldier protection.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is meant to be everything the Humvee is not: It’s designed by Oshkosh Defense to withstand the ground-based IED attacks early on in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that had forced Humvees to armor up, reducing payloads and performance, and slowing brigades to a crawl. With a modular design to accommodate armor plating fit for an MRAP, Oshkosh hopes the first 600 JLTVs, set for fielding by the Army and Marine Corps in early 2019, will represent a quantum leap forward for the Department of Defense’s light truck fleet.
The Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington is less of a service branch confab than it is a show-and-tell for the global defense industry: an exposition of gear and vehicles, gun and tanks, that are shaping the future of land warfare. But while Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor prototype and a wildly rotating THAAD-style missile launcher dominated the convention center space on Oct. 9, one class of vehicle stood out as the most exciting among rank-and-file soldiers: General Dynamics Land Systems’ brand new Stryker armored fighting vehicles.