Defense Media Network

Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement

USMC PEO Land Systems Programs 2011-2012

In service since 2001, the six-wheel, 7-ton, all-terrain Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) truck is a popular Marine Corps workhorse. The multipurpose vehicle has replaced the service’s aging 5-ton trucks.

The MTVR hauls fuel, water, food, and supplies, as well as Marines, and also tows the M777 Lightweight 155 mm Howitzer. Built by Oshkosh Corporation, the remarkable MTVR can traverse terrain previously regarded as impassable by military trucks.

Thomas Miller, the MTVR/LVSR (Logistics Vehicle Systems Replacement) program manager within the Program Executive Office for Land Systems, noted, “The MTVR was designed as a logistics vehicle, but it is often used in Afghanistan to transport Marines because of its off-road capability.”

There are four MTVR models, each carrying a crew of three Marines in its cab: a cargo variant, a dump truck, a wrecker, and a tractor. In addition, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket system (HIMARS) also includes an MTVR ammunition Resupply Vehicle (RSV) and trailer. There is a high level of commonality across the family of vehicles.

The predominant standard cargo variant is 26 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 12 feet high. It can haul up to 15 tons of payload on paved primary or secondary roads to a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour, or can carry 7.1 tons cross country. The MTVR can traverse a 60 percent gradient and a 30 percent side slope with its maximum cross-country load, and can ford 5 feet of water. It has an on-road cruising range of 300 miles.


A Marine drives an MTVR onto the beach during roll-on/roll-off discharge facility operations as part of exercise Pacific Horizon 2011. During the exercise, Marine and Navy units established command and control, constructed an 850-person camp, executed maritime pre-positioning force operations, and retrograded and redeployed allocated forces. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Niegel

The vehicle features Oshkosh’s high-performance TAK-4 independent suspension, which provides superior mobility and off-road maneuverability. It allows each wheel to move up and down separately in response to uneven surfaces, reducing the stress on the axle and keeping the vehicle more level on rough terrain. The MTVR also features a 425-horsepower Caterpillar engine, an Allison 7-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with automatic traction control, a central tire inflation system, an aluminum cab, and special corrosion protection. The MTVR wrecker variant is equipped with mechanical rear-steer technology, which aids in tight turns for vehicle recovery missions.

More than 8,900 MTVRs are in service with the Marine Corps. The service’s Ground Combat Tactical Vehicle (GCTV) Strategy reduced the MTVR Approved Acquisition Objective (AAO) to 8,750 vehicles, Miller said. The Navy SeaBees also possess more than 1,800 MTVRs that are used in riverine and combat engineering missions. More than 800 USMC MTVRs have been in service in Afghanistan. Miller noted that the MTVR wrecker variant has been in high demand in Iraq and Afghanistan to recover heavy Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

There are four MTVR models, each carrying a crew of three Marines in its cab: a cargo variant, a dump truck, a wrecker, and a tractor. In addition, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket system (HIMARS) also includes an MTVR ammunition Resupply Vehicle (RSV) and trailer. There is a high level of commonality across the family of vehicles.

To improve the vehicle’s level of protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the MTVR Armor System (MAS) was designed as a permanent modification to the vehicle. It provides complete 360-degree protection as well as overhead and underbody protection for the cab occupants.

The armor kit was developed by the MTVR Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Oshkosh Corporation, and Israel’s Plasan Sasa. Installation of MAS on MTVR cargo variants deployed overseas began in late 2004-early 2005.  The kit’s effectiveness had been proven in combat by late 2005. The dump truck and tractor MAS variants began fielding in December 2006.

MAS includes integrated, permanently mounted cab armor, as well as an upgraded front suspension and an air-conditioning system. On selected armored vehicles, the Marine Corps Transparent Armor Gun Shield (MCTAGS), which provides a protective “turret” for the vehicle gunner, and a removable armored personnel carrier for the vehicle’s cargo bay, nicknamed “the Armadillo,” are added. The latter is a capsule with armored sides, ballistic glass windows, bench seats, and a tarp-covered open top.

Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR)

Marines and sailors from Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, work together to load QUADCONS containing relief supplies onto a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) before heading to a local village of the simulated country “Blue” on Camp Pendleton, Calif to conduct humanitarian assistance operation training April 19, 2011. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Gabriel Velasquez

The Marine Corps has continued to improve the MAS in response to Urgent Universal Need Statements from the field, including adding increased underbody blast protection and fuel tank fire-protection kits. The newest configuration of MAS is a “reducible height” version that includes a removable cab roof to facilitate storing the MTVR trucks on Maritime Prepositioning Ships. The Marine Corps completed installations of MAS in all of its MTVR variants in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the dump truck and tractor models, in December 2008. MAS installations for vehicles in the continental United States, as well as those on Maritime Prepositioning Ships and at III MEF locations in Japan and Hawaii, have been ongoing since 2008 (III Marine Expeditionary Force) and will continue through 2012. The Marine Corps’ Deputy Commandant for Combat Development & Integration (CD&I) is still determining how many of the MTVRs in the stateside Marine Expeditionary Forces need to be armored, Miller said.

The Corps has aimed to install MAS on about half of its MTVR fleet, but could scale back that number, he said. “MAS adds a lot of weight and reduces fuel economy.” Even though the armor was added to the MTVR after it was designed, the vehicle fortunately had the capability to carry the added weight without severely affecting its performance, he noted. “We’ve had to modify the suspension somewhat, but it was not just because of the added weight of the armor, but also because of all the government-furnished equipment that’s going on the vehicle, such as an IED jammer and the Blue Force Tracking digital map system,” Miller said.

The Marine Corps’ MTVR and its new LVSR, also built by Oshkosh, form a formidable logistical tandem (see separate LVSR article). They also share many common parts and similar maintenance, which streamlines service and support while reducing downtime.

An MTVR will be used in the Marine Corps’ planned Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system to tow the trailer on which the large radar antenna array is carried (see separate G/ATOR article).

This article first appeared in Marine Corps Outlook: 2011-2012 Edition.



Glenn Goodman, senior editor of the Journal of Electronic Defense, is also a frequent contributor...