Mil-Spec Ute: Battle-Ready But Needs a Nickname – Technologue

#hashtags: #SUV #HMMWV #Willie #Joe #Oshkosh L #ATV #JLTV #Humvee #Oshkosh

Our Army and Marine Corps selected a new SUV to (mostly) replace the lovable and by now iconic HMMWV late in August. The great-grandson of Willie and Joe’s original jeep will be the Oshkosh L-ATV (Light All-Terrain Vehicle), aka JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) in U.S. mil-speak. It’s a vastly different animal than the Humvee, and you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for a civilian version. Just as the typical HMMWV weighed more than twice the M151 jeep it replaced, so will the JLTV more than double a base Humvee’s weight to about 7 tons. This is a reflection of the operating theaters in which these trucks will be used. Jeeps and Hummers were intended as tactical support vehicles driven behind the front lines, but these days instead of front lines we have IEDs and  suicide bombers. Armoring Humvees for combat renders them less capable of tackling the extreme off-road tactical missions they were originally designed for. But the JLTV, designed from scratch for modern combat environments, has no such problems. Oshkosh designed the JLTV with a mixed combat and tactical mission in mind. Its focus on occupant protection gives it superior survivability and off-road capability relative to up-armored Humvees and MRAP vehicles. The Oshkosh engineers started with the fragile human occupants and layered protection outward. A blast-deflecting and -absorbing unitized central shell surrounds energy-absorbing seats and floor panels. Subframes attach in such a way as to direct harm away from the occupants. Similarly, the TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension is designed to absorb off-road impacts like a SCORE race truck, providing 20 inches of total travel. The JLTV is said to be able to traverse any course of ruts and bumps 70 percent faster than the Oshkosh Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) ATV, the next most-capable military truck, at equivalent comfort levels. Ride height is adjustable, allowing the JLTV to crouch into low-clearance amphibious transport vehicles. We presume the suspension employs oil and/or air springs, and we understand that central tire inflation is provided (suggesting it may use offset gear-reduction hubs like the Humvee), but further specifics remain under wraps while Lockheed-Martin contests the Pentagon’s 55,000-vehicle contract awarded to Oshkosh. (Another rejected supplier, AM General, is not protesting the decision.) Stay tuned. The JLTV is a vastly different animal than the Humvee. Power will come from a 6.6-liter GM Duramax turbodiesel V-8 optimized for “dirty” JP8 fuel and peak fuel efficiency. Power gets routed through an Allison six-speed automatic to an Oshkosh two-speed transfer case. Top speed on-road is above 70 mph, the vehicle meets all FMVSS regulations for legal operation on public roads, and driving range is said to exceed the 300-mile requirement, but fuel tank size is still classified. Oshkosh also offers a ProPulse diesel-electric setup that supposedly improves fuel economy by 35 percent and allows the vehicle to export 30-70 kW of military-grade power. This frees up the space and weight an extra generator to power a command base would consume. And while we’re on the options list, the ultimate safety device is the one that removes the people from the truck altogether. Oshkosh’s in-house autonomy system TerraMax uses automotive-grade sensors and expertise gleaned from successfully competing in all DARPA Challenge autonomous-driving events to provide platooning autonomy, remote-control operation, and even full self-sensing off-road autonomy. TerraMax and ProPulse are both fully developed and applicable to Oshkosh’s entire lineup of military vehicles. One look at that malevolent face, and you know civilians like the Governator are going to want one. There’s nothing preventing a civilian version, but the JLTV’s 7-ton curb weight (12-ton gross) means said civilian might need a commercial-vehicle license. They’ll also need Rolls/Bentley cash—the military is spending just under $400K each, battle-ready. But what will we nickname it? JellyTelly doesn’t sound menacing enough.