The Marine Corps is set to use its first Joint Light Tactical Vehicles in the field after the service declared the program had achieved initial operational capability earlier this month.
The program, which will replace Marine and Army legacy Humvees, met the requirements to be certified by the Marine Corps Combat Development Command on Aug. 2, according to a release from the service.
“IOC is more than just saying that the schoolhouses and an infantry battalion all have their trucks,” Eugene Morin, product manager for JLTV at the Program Executive Office for Land Systems, said in the news release.
“All of the tools and parts required to support the system need to be in place, the units must have had received sufficient training and each unit commander needs to declare that he is combat-ready.”
3rd Battalion, 8th Marines was the first unit trained to operate the JLTVs, with more coming to the rest of the force by the end of the fiscal year. I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton and III MEF at Okinawa, Japan, are set to field JLTVs by the end of September, according to the announcement. The Marines plan to buy about 9,000 of the JLTVs, with up 300 entering service this year and up to 1,000 next year, USNI News reported in February. They include a combination of the general purpose, heavy guns carrier, utility and close combat weapons carrier JLTV variants.
“The program office started delivering vehicles to the schoolhouses earlier this year and started delivering vehicles to the infantry battalion last month,” according to the news release.
The IOC declaration comes as both the Army and Marines have been working through refining logistics and maintenance processes that the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation identified as deficient in a report earlier this year.
The report was based on a joint Army-Marine Multiservice Operational Test and Evaluation (MOT&E) that was completed last year. Since the completion of the MOT&E, the Marines have worked to double the length of the training course and taken additional steps to lock down procedures for the new JLTVs separate from the Army effort.
“We are really at the starting line right now. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will see JLTVs in the DOD,” LTV Program Manager Andrew Rodgers said in the news release. “We’ll easily still have these assets somewhere in the DOD in the year 2100. Welcome to the start of many generations of JLTVs.”