MARINE CORPS NEWS
Marine Corps Releases More Details on Utility Vehicle Phase Out
Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo
The Marine Corps is slated to replace its utility task vehicle with a new ultra light tactical platform in the next two years, according to an official.
The first generation of the small, all-terrain trucks will be phased out in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 as they come to the end of their five-year service lives, said Jennifer Moore, program manager for light tactical vehicles at Marine Corps Systems Command’s logistics combat element systems office.
The Marines have 248 utility task vehicles — which are manufactured by Polaris Government and Defense of Medina, Minnesota. They are mostly intended to help lighten troops’ loads, but are also used for reconnaissance missions, she said.
However, the UTV is completely maintained by contractors, which is not ideal for the expeditionary environments that Marines operate in, she said during a tactical wheeled vehicles webinar hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.
Polaris will deliver more than 500 of the new ultra light tactical vehicles, which feature better maintainability between fiscal years 2022 to 2025, according to the service.
“The Marines need to be able to take care of their own vehicle where they are,” Moore said. They will travel with all the spare parts needed, she added.
The move to a more sustainable supply chain will allow Marines to maintain their vehicles is in support of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 — a strategy for the service to prepare for amphibious operations and potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific region that was released last March, Moore noted.
Officials are also looking for options to alleviate the impact of corrosion from salt water and sea spray on the vehicles, she added.
“We’re interested in learning more about scalable armor solutions … as well as winterization packages and features that [industry] may have to offer,” she said.
Additionally, the Marine Corps is in the middle of a study examining its inventory of tactical wheeled vehicles, said Lorrie Owens, program manager for medium and heavy tactical vehicles. The study will help inform the service’s ground combat tactical vehicle strategy.
The Marine Corps is also working with the Army to study the possibility of integrating autonomous capabilities into new vehicles, she noted. The platforms would use leader-follower technology that allows several robotic vehicles to follow a manned system. A demonstration for the effort is slated to take place in 2021.
The US Marines divesting in their M1A1 Abrams tanks for faster and lighter vehicles such as the wheeled JLTV and ACV can solve problems to a certain degree, but the lack of a tank's 120mm cannon means a lack of high-power explosive punch that comes in around 40 120mm shells and 12,000 bullets per tank---that is a LOT of firepower per ONE M1A1. Now the MEU(SOC) had FOUR M1A1s...do the "number of rounds math" for four tanks.Cenebar at 11:54 AM
USMC MRZRs and JLTVs should be equipped with the Arnold Fletcher APKWS 2.75-inch laser-guided rocket pod. JQL/JAGMs should also be implemented onto JLTVs, MTVRs, and MRZRs. The Carmor MANTIS armored APC should be purchased and fielded as the 6x6 version can seat 13 Marines total. SPIKE NLOS launchers should substituted for most Javelin ATGMs as SPIKE flies farther and is lighter to carry.
The US Marines bias in that all new armored vehicles need to swim for INDO-PACOM is leaving the Marines vulnerable in their other missions such as Embassy security, civilian evacuations, QRF, crisis response, reinforcements, LAW vehicles, and airborne assault. A LAW beaching itself to unload just HMMWVs, JLTVs, ACVs, MTVRs, and MRZRs isn't much of a ground vehicle force as half of those vehicles lack basic mine, IED, and shrapnel armor protection. The US Marines should acquire the Army's MPF 105mm light tank and as many RiWP triple to quadruple RWS turrets as possible for the JLTVs.
In a smoke-filled, jammed, sensor-degraded, and obscured battlefield environment, an unguided tank shell doesn't need sophisticated and expensive nosecone sensors to fire, fly, and hit something compared to smart missiles. At the very least, the USMC should consider wheeled mortars, tank destroyers, and light tanks as "Bunker busters" and mobile armored firepower besides the 30mm autocannon.