Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps announced that the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is officially ready to deploy, one year ahead of schedule.
Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration said on Monday that the JLTV program had reached "initial operational capability," making the vehicles ready for use worldwide, on Aug. 2.
The four-wheeled vehicle, developed with the U.S. Army, will fully replace the Marines' aging fleet of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. The new transports offer different variants with multiple mission package configurations, including packages for personnel, heavy guns and close combat weapons.
"The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our Marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor," said John Garner of the Marines' Program Executive Office Land Systems division. "I'm proud of what our team, in collaboration with the Army, has accomplished. Their commitment to supporting the warfighter delivered an exceptional vehicle, ahead of schedule, that Marines will use to dominate on the battlefield now and well into the future."
In February, it was announced that technical issues regarding poor visibility, blind spots and maintenance needed to be resolved in the JLTV before IOC status could be given. The Marines intend to have between 250 and 300 JLTVs in use by late September, of over 9,000 it expects to acquire. The U.S. Army plans to purchase over 49,000 of the vehicles.
The U.S. Army awarded Oshkosh Defense $12 million for a revision on the vehicles in November 2018, and later in the month the company received a $1.7 billion Army contract for 6,107 JLTVs and 22,166 kits of associated equipment.