FORT LEE, Va. – The Ordnance School has validated instruction for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the multi-purpose wheeled system the Army began rolling out to operational units three years ago with the intention of replacing a significant portion of the service’s aging light tactical wheeled vehicle fleet.
The first JLTVs arrived here in 2019 and a pilot maintenance-training program began shortly afterward. Now validated, it has been permanently integrated into the program of instruction for the 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic Course taught by the Ord. School’s Wheel Maintenance Training Department.
The first advanced individual training Soldiers taking part in the expanded maintenance program began instruction in February and will graduate May 23, according to Roy Melton, chief of WMTD’s Basic Wheel Division.
The JLTV is the Army and Marine Corps’ modernized replacement for older Humvees. It is a “better protected vehicle than its counterpart,” read an online description of the vehicle. “It can weigh up to 22,000 pounds fully equipped, while remaining more capable, agile and versatile.”
“From my perspective, the Humvee is a great vehicle, but it is limited on what it can do because of its suspension and frame type,” observed Sgt. 1st Class Cory Riddle, a WMTD instructor who was here when the seven initial JLTV’s arrived. “The JLTV is well-thought-out. It’s designed to be a modular system so it can be adapted to any mission.”
Melton, who has been BWD’s chief since June 2020, said 91B Soldiers have received some level of JLTV instruction since 2020. Instructor certification, pilot programming, COVID-19 and other factors kept it from receiving the official stamp of approval until recently.
“The biggest challenge has been resources,” Melton said. “For one, we did not receive simulator vehicles (used for training) so we took the initiative to convert live vehicles – by removing the doors, introducing faults, etc. – and made them into training aides.”
Another major factor in adapting the course for JLTV instruction was standing up a Diagnostic and Troubleshooting Trainer lab. Melton and his staff oversaw the addition of two DTT labs accommodating 42 Soldier workstations with software capable of creating a virtual JLTV training environment. The results show much promise, Melton confirmed.
“I think it will enhance training because Soldiers can practice tasks and see all the precautions and everything else with the software,” he said. “To jack up a JLTV, for example, it can take up to an hour. DTT labs save time and money by giving Soldiers time to become familiar with the JLTV and perform maintenance tasks in a virtual environment before they are performed on the vehicle.”
Time is a precious commodity in the already information-crammed 91B10 AIT Course. JLTV integration added 60 hours of training time, increasing the course length from 12 to 14 weeks. The addition challenged the school to integrate this new training requirement while fulfilling the demands of its normal training load.
The 91B10 AIT course is attended by more than 5,000 Soldiers annually and has a daily training load of 1,300 individuals every day and night, according to Melton.
“The pace and scheduling is a big challenge because we’re getting 126 Soldiers every week,” he said. “They’re in school for 14 weeks, and it’s a constant balancing act to get them through our nine training modules (in the course) that are conducted day and night. It’s a challenge. It takes a lot to schedule these classes.”
The Army has fielded over 8,000 JLTV’s to units around the world. By comparison, there are approximately 100,000 Humvees still in the inventory. There is a good possibility that troops receiving this new training will show up at units where the JLTV is not yet available. With approximately 3,000 additional fieldings per year against a total procurement requirement of 49,099, these Soldiers will be ready to engage once the JLTVs are received.