July 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps has announced a program to use parts from the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle for the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, including the Gunner's Protection Kit.
The program to scavenge parts is expected to save $100 million on the expensive JLTV, according to the Marine Corps. The JLTV is designed to be a far more survivable vehicle then the HMMWV, which has been derided as being far too vulnerable to improvised explosive devices and other weapons.
The program will use existing Gunner's Protection Kits, among other parts. The kits are top-mounted turrets that can carry heavy weapons and provide shielding for the gunner.
"The harvesting strategy was developed by the JLTV Joint Program Office in 2012 as part of our efforts to meet affordability metrics for the program," Andy Rodgers, program manager for Light Tactical Vehicles in Program Executive Officer Land Systems, said in a Marine Corps press release. "Our collaboration with [Marine Corps Systems Command's] Program Manager Infantry Weapons is key to that strategy."
The Marine Corps is considering the purchase of more than 9,000 JLTVs to replace part of its 17,000 HMMWV fleet. The first purchases will include $607 million for 1,642 JLTVs in 2019. The Marine Corps plans to keep operating at least some of their HMMWVs until 2030 or longer.
The GPK is a stop-gap measure for current purposes. Marine Corps Systems Command plans to procure a new system called the Reducible Height Gunner Protection Kits, which would lower the profile of the gunner, make the vehicle more transportable and provide better protection.
"To improve the GPK's and associated tactical vehicle fleets' transportability, there is an emerging requirement for a RHGPK that would enable GPK-equipped vehicles to enter restricted height deck spaces aboard naval ships without removing the GPK," the Marine Corps said in a Request for Information issued in May.
The JLTV is planned to be the primary frontline utility vehicle for at least the U.S. Army and Marines, replacing the famous but venerable HMMWV in most combat roles.
The JLTV will be produced in a number of variants ranging from conventional troop transport, anti-tank platforms, light cargo, air defense and command and control. It has an advanced power plant that lets it function as a generator for other systems.