Oshkosh for ACR: Verified Platform instead of Trial-and-Error
In addition to the need for new 4x4 off-road vehicles for the ACR, which should replace the already obsolete vehicles UAZ 469 and LR Defender, let's also take a look at the possible replacement of light armoured vehicles Iveco LMV. This category of vehicles is frequently talked about in context of the approaching tender.
Criticism can be heard directly from soldiers on more than a hundred of armoured IVECO vehicles serving in our army, mainly concerning their lengthy service, unreliability of the vehicles and poor availability of spare parts, making part of the vehicles immobile. This may be due to the fact that there is only one authorized chassis and repair supplier in the Czech Republic, which determines prices and deadlines. The category of light multi-purpose armoured vehicles deserves to be rejuvenated, so let’s think about what vehicle could really replace the present Iveco vehicles. The soldiers expect the possible new platform to bring not only more modern design, better performance and better protection of the crew, but also better logistics. I do not take into account phantasmagoric ideas or vehicles from Russia. The practice up until now has shown that this is not the way.
The Iveco LMV has a four-door cab that in standard design can accommodate a total of five people, including the driver, with a cargo space in the back of the vehicle. In front of the circular hatch with a cover in the roof of the cab, there can be placed a tower with optical instruments connected to an electronic system with a screen located inside the vehicle. The tower is also equipped with a machine gun or a grenade launcher. The entire tower set can be controlled safely via the computer with a joystick, so the shooter in a combat does not risk and stand at in the hatch close to the gun. The dimensions are LxWxH 4790x2200x2050mm at 7 tons. The car is powered by a factory-produced common-rail Euro 3 engine with 140kW output, which is not much considering the vehicle's weight. The vehicle has a range of about 500 kilometres. There are 120 of them in various configurations in the Czech Armed Forces. The first delivery took place in 2009, so they are already somewhat “bearded” cars more than 10 years old. Iveco vehicles are mainly used in Europe, and they are also available to our neighbours in Slovakia, where there is a tender for new J-LTV vehicles currently taking place.
If we were to consider a possible replacement or replenishment of the ACR fleet, the front-runner in the context of the existing purchases from the USA would be the American Oshkosh JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). It is Oshkosh that in the US Army partially replaces HMMWV vehicles (Humvee) and comes with a brand new platform which has got to the top of the market. It is a new vehicle that came out of a tender dated 25 August 2015, where a number of renowned brand competitors have failed compared to Oshkosh. The fact that the clear winner of the tender was the company Oshkosh with the armoured vehicle L-ATV (Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle), which in terms of reliability and durability beat vehicles AM General and Lockheed Martin, really means a lot.
The vehicle offers a variety of configurations, the possibility of installing many weapon systems including anti-tank missile controls. Oshkosh is definitely not an obstacle in traffic, it has a powerful engine Gale Banks Engineering 866T, i.e. army modification of the 6.6 liters General Motors L5P Duramax. It has about 254kW output, which is transferred to all four wheels by the Allison 2500SP six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle with an operating weight of about 4600 kg reaches a maximum speed of 110 km/h and the fuel tank is sufficient for 480 km of driving. Compared to Iveco, it is a relatively large vehicle. The overall length is 6.2 m, L-ATV has 2.5 m in width and 2.6 m in height to the cab ceiling, so it is also much larger than the large "Humvee." The crew is well protected, but if necessary, additional armour can be installed to move the car up to MRAP vehicles level.
The US Army has now ordered tens of thousands of these vehicles, so if we take into account the possibility of buying Oshkosh vehicles directly from the US Government through the Foreign Military Sales program, our army could get the above mentioned cars at the same price as the US Government gets for buying tens of thousands of pieces. What more could a small army with orders of tens or hundreds of pieces wish for than to gain a share in the huge quantity discount for the largest armed forces in the world? In the Czech Republic, Oshkosh Defence Company is represented by STV GROUP, which presented the vehicle to the interested public and soldiers, for example at IDET 2019 in Brno.