US Army: JTLV “not operationally suitable”

The new Joint Tactical Light Vehicle (JLTV) is “not operationally suitable” because of deficiencies in “reliability, maintainability, training, manuals, crew situational awareness, and safety,” according to a new report says. The vehicle is plagued by so many issues that it requires contractors to conduct repairs in the field and is so large and loud that it makes its presence felt before coming into view.

All sorts of problems
The new vehicle comes to replace the High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicle—the Humvee. The Humvee suffered disastrously during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when the bulky vehicle became prey to ambushes and IED attacks. These attacks highlighted the vehicle’s lack of armor protection, particularly against buried explosives.

The Humvee’s replacement, JLTV, is even larger than the Humvee. The JLTV is designed to keep crews safe against direct fire and IED attacks while providing power for onboard systems such as jammers and tracking systems. The JLTV comes in four versions, including unarmed General Purpose and Utility/Shelter Carrier vehicles, Heavy Guns Carrier vehicles armed with Mk.19 or .50 caliber machine guns, and a Close Combat Weapons Carrier equipped with TOW anti-tank missiles.

But the vehicle’s development has been experiencing a host of problems. In an annual report on major weapons systems, the Pentagon’s Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) office seriously criticizes the JLTV, which is currently undergoing evaluation with Army and Marine Corps units. First reported by Stars and Stripes, the OT&E report says all four versions of of the vehicle are not operationally suitable, with a combination of defects, design problems, and inadequate contractor training support.

Like any new product, the JLTV has its share of teething problems. All four vehicle types are encountering mechanical problems during field trials including, “engine wiring problems, flat and damaged tires, and break (sic) system faults.” A “health monitoring system” designed to bring problems to the attention of maintainers is not accurate and “reduces crew and maintainer confidence in the system.” One last mechanical problem: The doors on some vehicles didn’t work.

The list of design flaws goes on. The vehicles are faulted for having a “large visual and loud aural signature, increasing detectability.” The DOT&E also complains that troops riding inside have poor visibility and that the TOW anti-tank missile launcher, capable of destroying tanks to ranges of up to 2.48 miles, is slow and difficult to reload. Furthermore, the vehicles are so large fewer of them can fit on the military’s Maritime Prepositioned Force ships, cargo ships that carry floating arsenals of Army and Marine Corps equipment, ready to link up with ground troops and quickly enter battle.