The commander of the Marine Corps’ top requirements office said Tuesday he’s shifting resources to provide a mix of new vehicles to modernize the force’s ground mobility and refitting the current fleet of 20,000 Humvees with new technologies that protect its crew from roadside bombs without putting on a lot of pounds in armor.
Lt. Gen. George Flynn, head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told reporters at a small gathering in DC that he is keenly interested in outfitting some Corps units with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle — despite calls by the debt commission to 86 the program — but his service can’t afford to replace its Humvee fleet with the high tech new vehicle.
One of the challenges we have is how to balance the ‘Iron Triangle’ of payload, protection and performance… Armoring is an important piece of what we do, but you have to balance that against mobility and equally as important is transportability. Everything has gotten heavier. The question is what technologies are out there to help us balance that issue of weight, mobility and transportability.
Flynn said the Corps was looking at specifically two technologies to add protection without a lot of weight: capsules and chimneys.
The way Flynn explains it, capsules are analogous to race cars which enclose their drivers in cocoons of protection in the event of an accident. If the stock car hits the wall at 210 mph, the car is destroyed but the driver walks away.
We’re testing those vehicles on an existing Humvee-type frame out at Yuma right now to see when you add a capsule to the vehicle what kind of mobility do you have and how does the frame hold up.
The chimney idea is to incorporate vent technology on vehicles to channel the blast waves of an IED detonation out of or away from the crew compartment of a vehicle.
I’m taking a look at an integrated protection solution that includes chimney technology. that allows you to mitigate the blast through an actual chimney that’s integrated into the vehicle.
Flynn added that current Marine Corps plans are to purchase around 5,500 JLTVs and have a fleet of 20,000 Humvees.