Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh tactical vehicle passes armor testing

A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototype from Northrop Grumman successfully passes armor testing as the U.S. Department of Defense nears its selection of competing JLTV teams..

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family of vehicles offered by Northrop Grumman Corp. (Reston, Va.) and Oshkosh Defense (Oshkosh, Wis.) has undergone successful armor testing as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)nears its selection of competing JLTV teams.

Oshkosh and Plasan USA (Bennington, Vt.), which was selected to design and engineer the vehicle's armor, conducted ballistic and mine-blast testing on the team's JLTV prototype. After the first round of testing, they found the armor passed all threshold capability and achieved several objective-level force-protection requirements. Plasan is using an advanced composite-technology armor system that maximizes protection while minimizing weight impact.

"Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh have designed a vehicle of unique performance and protection that can provide value to the warfighter today yet is flexible enough to meet the combat requirements of tomorrow," says Joe Gray Taylor, VP of Ground Combat Systems at Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "We particularly took on the challenge of armor volume, applying some of our most innovative thinking to the balance of performance, protection and payload. The results of the armor testing validate our design and prove we are ready to move smartly to the next stage of the development process."

One advantage, says Northrop Grumman, is the incorporation of a diesel-electric drive system, which eliminates the need for a transmission and conventional drivetrain. This allows for the creation of improved blast protection for the crew.

"The innovative use of a diesel-electric system reduces the number of vehicle components and frees up space to allow for increased survivability for the soldiers in these vehicles," said John Stoddart, Oshkosh executive VP and president of defense. "Our work with Plasan will provide, as it has in the past, the best crew protection possible."

The armor testing was conducted at a testing facility in the U.S., used U.S. Army research-laboratory standards and was based on government specifications for the JLTV.

The DoD is expected to decide soon which industry competitors will continue into the 27-month Technology Development phase for this $40 billion (USD) program.