The Hummer's Three High-Tech ReplacementsS

The US Military's much-loved HMMWV ("Humvee") is soon to be put out to pasture, having outlived its use. Vying for its place are three contenders sporting better armor, smarter electronics and simpler mechanics. Here's a first look.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (J-LTV) program seeks to find a replacement for the Hummer by looking to change the way armed fighters are transported. In a future with more urban conflict and improvised explosive devices, the most important need is for stronger, more lightweight armor. That means V-shaped blast hulls, fully-enclosed armor cabins and blast-resistant glass. Three offerings from Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and General Tactical Vehicles were recently put to the test at the Army's Aberdeen Test Center. Here's a look at each vehicle:

Lockheed Martin JLTV

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Killer Feature: High level protection at a lighter weight.
Company: Lockheed Martin is a do-it all arms builder better known for their aircraft, such as the super cool Joint Strike Fighter.

General Tactical Vehicles JLTV

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Killer Feature: A digital cockpit and semi-active suspension, common parts.
Company: GTV is a consortium made up of General Dynamics Land Systems and Humvee builder AM General, both of which know a thing or two about building overland war vehicles.

BAE Systems JLTV

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Killer Feature: Modular body systems and scalable, modular armor.
Company: BAE is another do-everything company, they build everything from tanks to RG33 heavy duty trucks.

At this point military planners will review the products and the bids offered up from each company to decide which will win the contract for the United States' next-generation of war wagon. No matter who wins, we hope the victor will live up to the legend of the Jeep GP with some kickass feats of mechanical heroism.

[Defense Tech]