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Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement

In service since 2001, the six-wheel, 7-ton, all-terrain Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) truck is a popular Marine Corps workhorse. The multi-purpose 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.

Tom Miller, the MTVR/LVSR 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.

MTVR

Two U.S. Marines of Combat Service Support Element, Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Service Support Group 22 (MSSG 22), 22nd MEU (SOC), pull security detail atop their Mk. 23 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) 7-ton cargo truck during a brief convoy halt outside the governor’s compound in the Tirin Kot district, Oruzgan province, Afghanistan (AFG), while conducting an overt vehicular reconnaissance patrol throughout the Kandahar and Oruzgan provinces of Afghanistan during Operation Ulysses II, which was the first combat operation undertaken by the 22nd MEU (SOC) during Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Marine Corps photo

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.

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 8,800 MTVRs are in service with the Marine Corps. The Approved Acquisition Objective (AAO) for the program is 9,924 vehicles. A fiscal year 2012 budget initiative includes funding to increase the MTVR’s AAO to 10,139, Miller said. The Navy SeaBees also possess over 1,800 MTVRs that are used in riverine and combat engineering missions.

More than 2,000 MTVRs have been in service in Iraq and 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.

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 Israel’s Plasan Sasa.

Installation of MAS on MTVR cargo variants deployed overseas began in late 2004-early 2005, and 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 an upgraded front suspension and cab rebuild. It also includes an air-conditioning system, the Marine Corps Transparent Armor Gun Shield (MCTAGS) for the vehicle’s machine gun turret, and a removable personnel carrier for the vehicle’s cargo bay, nicknamed “the Armadillo.” The latter is a capsule with armored sides, ballistic glass windows, bench seats, and a tarp-covered open top.

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 MAS also now includes a “reducible height” configuration 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 have begun in the continental United States on vehicles carried on the Maritime Prepositioning Ships. Marine Corps Combat Development Command is 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 change out the springs a few times, 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 Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR), also built by Oshkosh, form a formidable logistical tandem (see separate LVSR article). They also share 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).

Oshkosh, working with the Office of Naval Research, successfully developed an On-Board Vehicle Power (OBVP) variant of the MTVR. On July 22, Marine Corps Systems Command selected Oshkosh to supply MTVR-mounted OBVP kits for government evaluation and testing, expected to begin in early 2012.

The kit can power a small airport or entire city block from a single MTVR, Oshkosh says. In the case of the Marine Corps, the exportable power could support command centers, mobile radar systems, counter-IED jammers, and many other applications, reducing the need to tow a multitude of trailer-mounted generators in the field. The MTVR with OBVP can provide 120 kilowatts of exportable military-grade power while stationary and 21 kilowatts of power while on the move. The system would use the vehicle’s engine and a generator to produce the exportable power while retaining MTVR performance.

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