By Staff Sgt. Corinna Baltos, 24th Press Camp HQOctober 20, 2016
RUKLA, Lithuania - For more than 30 years, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle has been the go-to vehicle for U.S. forces wishing to put boots and tires on the ground. Like the Willys Jeep your grandfather used in World War II, the "Humvee" has become a cultural icon.
Now it is about to be replaced by Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). While the vehicle will not be fielded until 2019, paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment "The Rock", 173rd Airborne Brigade, got a chance to see the vehicle up close Tuesday, when one of the vehicles was transported from Michigan to Lithuania for testing.
"We found that in Afghanistan the up-armored HMMWV was too big and heavy, and it lost a lot in performance," said Lt. Col. Rob Barnhill, Product Manager Systems Integration, Joint Program Office.
"We wanted to develop a truck with better underbody protection, and load protection, but one that could still put 3,500 pounds of payload in it," said Col. Shane Fulmer, Product Manager Systems Integration, Joint Program Office. "This vehicle fits the bill."
The JLTV will come in two types, a four-passenger combat vehicle and a two-seat combat support vehicle. It carries a maximum weight of 15,639 pounds, which makes it light enough to be transported by helicopter and more suited for off-road mobility.
In 2010, the JLTV's off-road capability and speed allowed an early development version to become the first military vehicle to compete in the Baja 1000 desert race.
After inspecting the vehicle, the paratroopers were impressed.
"It's really nice," said Pfc. Raymond Bohrer, Able Company. "The computers are not directly in your face, and there is a lot more room. I have long legs and can sit comfortably."
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.