JUNE 22, 2022 – The Marine Corps’ latest Force Design 2030-driven change comes in the form of a trailer and brings to mind the wise words of World War II U.S. Army General Omar Bradley, “Amateurs talk strategy, professionals discuss logistics.”
Marine Corps Systems Command will soon field the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle-Trailer in support of Force Design’s light fleet modernization efforts.
The JLTV-Trailer is a multipurpose platform configured to support general purpose cargo and tactical generator mobility missions. The trailer is built to operate with the Closed Combat Weapons Carrier, the General Purpose, Heavy Guns Carrier and Utility JLTV variants over the same mission profile of those vehicles. The JLTV-T’s independent suspension system enables it to carry more weight and offers improved off-road mobility over the existing fleet of legacy light tactical trailers. In addition, MCSC’s JLTV team made adjustments to the trailer using feedback they received from the Fleet.
New trailer, new features
“The new trailer provides significantly increased payload,” said Maj. Elena Vallely, team lead for JLTV Systems, which is part of the Logistics Combat Element Systems portfolio at MCSC. “There will be im-proved trafficability, improved durability, and improved payload that provides an increased capability in line with light fleet modernization of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle fleet.”
Not your typical hauling trailer, the JLTV-T comes with features allowing Marines greater flexibility to transport equipment with ease across long distances and difficult terrain. Conditions which need to be considered in vast austere settings such as Littoral Operations in Contested Environments and other concepts outlined in the Commandant’s Planning Guidance and Force Design 2030 initiatives.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger’s 2019 Planning Guidance laid out plans for the Marine Corps to experiment with changes in organizational structure and tactics, techniques and procedures in order to combat peer adversaries in distributed maritime terrain. The document details the Corps’ use of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, and concepts like LOCE, in order to support the Joint Force. EABO would use small teams of Marines to deploy on islands — often within an enemy’s weapons engagement zone — allowing for both area sensor awareness and fires capabilities. Logistical up-grades and enhancements like the JLTV trailer will allow Marines to carry out EABO with greater ease and mobility.
Vallely said all future trucks and trailers will arrive painted green from the factory instead of the tan that has been present for the past two decades.
“The new trucks and the new trailers we’ll be procuring and fielding will be green,” she said. “Over the course of the next year we’ll be seeing a transition of the vehicle fleet to a green truck with green trailer configuration.”
The return to a green paint scheme helps shift the vehicle fleet from desert warfare to the more tropical environments where EABO concepts and tactics will most likely be employed.
Configured for EABO
The JLTV-Trailer’s bed provides users with 147 cubic feet of storage space, said JLTV production lead Christopher Lewis. The front of the trailer has a built-in storage compartment to store braces and re-movable side rails. The trailer also features a step assist built onto the back, increasing accessibility and enabling Marines of differing heights to climb into the back with ease.
Lewis said the new trailer also features wedge-activated drum air brakes with an anti-locking breaking system, along with a hand crank in the forward area to raise and lower the trailer in order to connect to the truck’s towing hitch. The trailer will also have a single axle system with a weight rating of just over 9,000 pounds.
Maintainability and sustainability are critical factors in EABO. The trailer uses the same type of tires as JLTVs, making it easier for Marines to source and replace trailer tires when needed. This built-in sustainability feature leverages the organic supply system used across the JLTV family of vehicle operations. Additionally, the forward-area of the trailer is outfitted with a 12-volt electrical connection point, making the trailer compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in future operations.
Fielding this summer
MCSC’s JLTV program team will conduct total package fielding activities and provide limited technical inspections to units receiving the new trailer. When fielding the trailer, the team will also ensure Marines have the onsite support of field service representatives from the trailer’s manufacturer. In addition, the program team will provide Marines with new equipment training to instructors and key personnel, prior to and during fielding of the trailer.
Lewis added, “Fielding priorities continue to mature between Combat Development & Integration along with other stakeholders. We will consider the fielding timelines of the JLTV vehicle when fielding the trailer in order to ensure proper employment of the trailer capability both with the JLTV vehicle and other integrated programs in the fleet.”
According to Vallely, the Marine Corps currently plans to procure and field up to 4,000 trailers. Fielding is set to begin this summer to all three active duty Marine infantry divisions and Marine Expeditionary Units.
Story by 1st Lt. Isaac Lamberth
Marine Corps Systems Command