The 'jeep of the future' is expected to be safer for troops and more fuel efficient.
Andy Nelson – staff/file
The military is on the hunt for a new jeep to replace its cold war-inspired Humvee.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, will have all the latest gadgets that one might expect in a new military vehicle, including a "collision avoidance system." But military officials and outside analysts know that it's not just a new truck replacing an old one. Seven years of unconventional or counterinsurgency warfare is forcing the American military to recognize that the threat it's up against isn't an aberration and that the "jeep of the future" must navigate this dangerous new world.
"Buying a new light truck might not seem like a big deal, but the message of Iraq and Afghanistan is that trucks might be more important than tanks in future war fighting," says Loren Thompson, a senior analyst with the Lexington Institute, a policy research group in Arlington, Va.
Next month, the Army and Marine Corps are expected to pick three preliminary designs for the new vehicle, and the winning one could be picked by 2011. Roughly 200,000 vehicles could be produced under the plan, but they won't be in the hands of the military until probably 2013, officials say.