Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps will soon supply its infantry units with new ultra-light Utility Task Vehicles to support logistics maneuvers on the battlefield.
The Utility Task Vehicle, or UTV, is equipped with minimal armor to allow infantry to carry more ammunition, equipment, provisions or injured personnel. The branch ordered 144 of the units, and is expecting delivery later in February.
Deliveries are set to take place six months after the contract award.
"The Marine's pack is getting heavier, and they are carrying more gear than ever down range," program leader Jessica Turner explained in a press release. "Infantry Marines were looking for a capability that would lessen the load while increasing the area of operation, and the UTV is that solution."
The new vehicle is approximately 12 feet long, and can carry up to four Marines or roughly 1,500 pounds of supplies. It can also fit inside legacy Marine Corps aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey or the CH-53 helicopter.
"We have taken an off-the-shelf capability and leveraged it with other commands to maximize the effort," product manager eugene Morin added. "The continued challenge for the Marine Corps is finding commercial-off-the-shelf items that satisfy the needs of Marines. Through partnerships like this, we can find the solutions we need."
18 UTVs are to be delivered to specific infantry regiments within the branch. Two expeditionary forces will receive the vehicles in February, and a third expects a delivery in April.