U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers are in the final phases of airdrop testing five configurations of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The JLTV Family of Vehicles is a joint military program that will partially replace the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) once fielded. During the test, Soldiers from A Company, 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, rigged, airdropped, and recovered the JLTVs on the drop zone along with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s (OTC) Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).
The test team is conducting 15 low-velocity airdrops of the vehicle, three drops per configuration. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) air drop testing began with Soldiers taking operators and new equipment training by trainers from Oshkosh, the vehicle manufacturer. During the JLTV operator’s training, paratroopers were trained in vehicle operation, employment, troubleshooting, and maintenance. New equipment training ensures paratroopers are adequately trained to operate the vehicle under test. Once testing begins, the paratroopers are capable of acting as both operators and maintainers of the vehicle.
The U.S. Army is now looking for contractors to develop a new airdrop system that would allow delivery of up to four JLTVs on a single aircraft. The current C-17 aircraft capability enables delivery of up to eight HMMWVs on a single aircraft, but due to the larger size and weight of the JLTV, it is currently limited to two vehicles per C-17 using the conventional Low Velocity Airdrop System (LVADS) capability which comprises parachute extracted airdrop from the airdrop rail/lock system using a standard, 24-foot, Type V airdrop platform. JLTV C-17 Gravity Airdrop System (GADS) capability will enable airdrop of four JLTVs per C-17 transport plane.
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s (OTC) uses typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) works with test units to incorporate the system under test into their actual missions and training requirements. Its Maneuver Sustainment and Support Test Directorate, a combined 58,000 JLTVs will be purchased by the Army and Marine Corps once all stages of testing are completed and the vehicle is approved for production and fielding. To provide airdrop certification of all airborne and airdropped equipment, ABNSOTD executes and reports on its operational tests and field experiments, which impacts doctrine, training, organization and materiel.