The U.S. Army has announced that the first fielding of the newest Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) to an Army Reserve unit began April 25 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The 86th Training Division (TD), 84th Training Command (TC), received 17 JLTVs between April 25 and April 26. The unit will receive their full fielding, a total of 60 vehicles, by May 17.
The fielding is the result of LTG Charles D. Luckey, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, and his push for the Army Reserve to be a more capable, combat-ready and lethal force.
“As General Luckey says, we are the spear that he keeps talking about. We’re trying to get out in front,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Glen R. Merten, property book officer, 86th TD. “We’re actually up there with (the active duty component), being the first to field them. We’re revolutionizing the Reserve component as we go. Everything is new.”
The fielding of these vehicles is also unique in that they boast all the capabilities of the JLTV.
“The Reserve’s fleet of vehicles is probably the top-notch,” said Charlie Bartos, fielding manager, Joint Program Office-Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Fielding Team. “If anyone wants to come see what a tricked-out, full up JLTV would look like, come to the Reserve and you’ve got a good example out there in the parking lot. Its good training value for (the Reserve) overall.”
The 86th TD is also receiving a variety of configurations.
“There’s three versions we’re receiving, the utility, the general purpose, which is a four-door and the heavy gun truck, which is also a four-door, but on the heavy gun truck some of those get turrets,” said Merten. “There is also a fourth one out there, its close-combat, but we’re not getting that one.”
The JLTV supports a two- or four-man crew plus gunner, similar to the Humvee. In addition, it increases the protection for that crew. This protection is similar to that provided by the mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle, however the JLTV is approximately two-thirds the weight, improving mobility and transportability.
Additionally, the JLTV payload capacity can range from 3,500 to 5,100 pounds without losing protection or mobility. It also offers greater speed over terrain, acceleration, reliability and fuel efficiency when compared to the Humvee.
The JLTV also provides connectivity as the first vehicle purpose-built for battlefield networks. It also boasts an integrated Drivers Smart Display Unit and Health Management System. These systems continuously monitor vehicle conditions, predicting and diagnosing faults, improving overall sustainability.
“I love it. It’s an amazing truck, said Mickey Christopher, site lead, Fort McCoy, JPO-Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Fielding Team. “I went through the (operator new equipment training) to learn how to drive it and during that course, you’re not getting licensed, but you’re becoming familiar with how the truck works. You can’t just get in it like a car and drive. You have to learn the capabilities … It can be intimidating because it’s a big vehicle.”
The initial plan includes the 86th TD partnering with the 94th Training Division, who manages the schoolhouse for vehicle training, to conduct driver’s training courses during the first year, rotating through the fleet. This allows Soldiers to train on the vehicles, but also to evaluate the vehicles for any mechanical issues.
“They’ll operate on a rotational basis so that way all the vehicles get exercised. They are brand new and as you drive them you’re going to find little things here and there and there is a (field service representative) that’s on ground for one year,” said Merten. “The more we can circulate and use all of them, then we can find if there’s little glitches in the system or anything like that. Then the FSR can fix them during that one year process.”
Additionally, in a partnership with Operation Cold Steel, the 86th TD will use these vehicles during one of their Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) to provide a demonstration of crew-served gunnery operations.
Moving forward into the following year, the JLTV will be dispersed throughout the 84th TC, including the 78th TD at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey and the 91st TD at Fort Hunter Liggett, California.