Gosh, it’s Oshkosh to replace the HUMVEE

The Pentagon has awarded the contract to manufacture the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) for the US Military War Machine to Oshkosh Defence. The JLTV will replace the slightly aging but very much loved High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicle, also known as the HUMVEE. The little known specialised truck manufacturer that hails from Oshkosh, Wisconsin beat out some heavyweight competitors in the guise of Lockheed Martin and AM General (the manufacturer of the HUMVEE) to land itself a contract worth some US$6.75 billion. The initial contract is for 17,000 Oshkosh JLTV’s to be delivered by 2022, but this number may rise to 55,000 by 2040. In total there are some 280,000 HUMVEE’s currently in service and needs to be replaced, so that means that eventually Oshkosh Defence could benefit from a US$30 billion windfall.

The Oshkosh JLTV, all they need now is to come up with a catchy name.

“Following a rigorous, disciplined JLTV competition, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are giving our nation’s war fighters the world’s most capable light vehicle — the Oshkosh JLTV,” Charles L. Szews, Oshkosh Corporation’s CEO, said in a statement. “Oshkosh is honoured to be selected for the JLTV production contract, which builds upon our 90-year history of producing tactical wheeled vehicles for U.S. military operations at home and abroad. We are fully prepared to build a fleet of exceptional JLTV’s to serve our troops in future missions.”

The outgoing HUMVEE proved to be a somewhat flawed design, particularly on the urban battlefield, a scenario that has played out all too frequently for the US military machines in the past few decades. Unarmoured and with an exposed roof-sited firing position, the HUMVEE often came off second best, particularly when they encountered roadside booby-trap bombs. The new JLTV is reported to “optimize survivability”, according to the company website, giving the occupants the “confidence to complete their mission”. Rousing stuff, eh?

The new truck will get to the battlefield of tomorrow powered by a General Motors-sourced 6.6-litre Duramax V8 diesel that puts out some 70kw of power to the hybrid powertrain, which is enough to power 18 average-sized homes. And yes, it is a hybrid. The current use of the Duramax is in GM’s Silverado and Sierra trucks, where the unit puts out 397 bhp and 765 pound-feet of torque, although it is rumoured that the military version will punch harder than that. The complete vehicle, when fully loaded, will weigh less than 15,000 pounds, so that it can be lifted by a Chinook helicopter. Despite its massive size, it has a turning circle of just 25 feet, less than that of a London Cab.

Despite the unfamiliarity most of us will have with the name Oshkosh, it is not a newcomer to supplying military vehicles to the U.S. fighting forces. The company was originally founded in Oshkosh in 1917 as the Wisconsin Duplex Auto Company, and specialised in the manufacture of severe-duty 4WD trucks, mostly for industry. The company has sites in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France and Romania, and have sales in some 130 countries worldwide. IF you are interested, you can find out more about Oshkosh Defence at http://www.oshkoshcorporation.com/brands/

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