TWENTY-NINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines and Soldiers have started testing the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in eastern California's Mojave Desert at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.
The JLTV is a joint military program that will partially replace the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle with a family of more survivable vehicles with greater payload, according Randall Fincher, test officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
The Army, lead for the JLTV portfolio, plans to purchase some 49,000 JLTVs while the Marine Corps plans to purchase 9,000.
Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment are joining with Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 33rd Reconnaissance Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division to run the JLTV through its paces by conducting real-world missions in an operational environment.
A test team of over 200 military, civilian and contract workers from USAOTC will collect data during the JLTV Multi-Service Operational Test and Evaluation with support from the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Agency.
"Data collected will be used to address operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of the JLTV in its intended environment," said Fincher.
Fincher said the operationally realistic scenarios will allow the test unit Marines and Soldiers to tell the Department of Defense how well the system supports their mission execution.
"Thirty-nine production representative vehicles will amass about 30,000 miles during simulated combat operations," said Fincher.
"One of the most important elements of the test is Marine and Soldier feedback of how the JLTV performs in support of their missions," he added.
"This will likely be the largest single test event conducted by USAOTC, which at one point will involve over 680 personnel," said Jerry Morris, chief of USAOTC's Sustainment Test Division.
"The Marine and Army test units will conduct three multi-day missions that will consist of several force-on-force scenarios in each mission set. They will also conduct live fire and helicopter sling load operations, as well as a Marine Amphibious Landing mission at Camp Pendleton, California," Morris added.
Testing will also include a Real Time Casualty Assessment System coupled with a computer simulation that will provide engagement results, indirect fire effects and depict friendly adjacent forces, which will provide a more robust operational picture, according to Morris.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army's only independent operational tester, USAOTC tests Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical users to provide data on whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. USAOTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer -- the American Soldier.
USAOTC's Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate conducts operational tests of combat engineer, chemical, transportation, military police, quartermaster, ordnance and medical service systems in order to provide Army senior leaders with the necessary information to field the highest quality equipment for the warfighter.