Slovakia invests $190 Million in 160 Oshkosh JLTVs to strengthen Armed Forces
On July 12, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of Slovakia officially announced the acquisition of a minimum of 160 Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) 4×4. This procurement, valued at nearly $190 million, is part of the Slovak Republic’s efforts to modernize its Armed Forces and aims to provide them with versatile combat vehicles.
Out of the 160 JLTVs, 110 units will be equipped with the M153 CROWS RWS remotely controlled weapons station, while the remaining 50 vehicles will have a manned turret.
The CROWS RWS, and his CROWS II RWS variant, is a weapon system designed to enhance the capabilities of military vehicles by enabling operators to remotely control and engage targets with mounted weapons from a secure position inside the vehicle. It offers flexibility in operational scenarios and ongoing developments seek to integrate additional features, enhancing soldiers’ situational awareness and operational effectiveness.
Earlier, on May 9, 2023, the Government of Slovakia received approval from the State Department for a potential Foreign Military Sale of 192 M1278A1/A2 Heavy Gun Carriers Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and associated equipment and services, estimated at $250 million.
Through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the United States has offered financial support to Slovakia. The majority of the $200 million allocated funds will be used for the acquisition of 4×4 vehicles, with the remaining amount utilized for procuring small arms and anti-drone systems. The FMF program allows the Slovak Republic to gain new capabilities without incurring direct costs, and the Government of the Slovak Republic has given approval for this procurement procedure.
The offer includes two vehicle variants equipped with machine guns, as well as logistical support, special technical equipment, documentation, training, technical integration, and field service support. Delivery of the vehicles is expected to take place in 2025.
Oshkosh Defense, the manufacturer of the JLTV, will collaborate with Slovak companies to ensure the availability of spare parts and repairs throughout the lifespan of the JLTV 4×4 vehicles.
The Oshkosh JLTV, developed as a replacement for the aging High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or Humvee used by the US military and its allies, is a versatile and highly mobile platform. It incorporates advanced technologies and components to deliver superior off-road capabilities, survivability, and mission readiness. The design includes a scalable armor system, blast-resistant materials, and a robust suspension to withstand ballistic threats and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Compared to its predecessor, the JLTV offers improved speed, maneuverability, and payload capacity.
On June 2, 2023, Oshkosh Defense achieved a significant milestone by producing its 20,000th JLTV, showcasing the vehicle’s success and popularity in various military applications. The JLTV has been adopted by several countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Lithuania, Romania, and the United States. Additionally, Oshkosh Defense has obtained five patents for a hybrid electric version of the JLTV, named eJLTV.
The Zetor Gerlach 4×4, a domestically produced vehicle, emerged as a potential rival to the JLTV. The concept for this vehicle was introduced two years ago by the Czech company Zetor Engineering, in collaboration with its subsidiary, ZETOR Engineering Slovakia. The aim was to meet the Slovak armed forces’ request for a new 4×4 armored vehicle.
The Gerlach has a capacity to accommodate up to six crew members, with a maximum height of 190 cm and a body weight of up to 130 kg (including gear). It also boasts a highly versatile cargo space capable of carrying an additional 1.5 tonnes.
In terms of protection, the Gerlach incorporates a double floor design along with an anti-mine “V” shield, providing a high level of defense against mines and IED blasts. In its standard configuration, it offers mine protection up to Level 2a, but there is an optional configuration available that enhances mine protection to Level 3a/3b. The Gerlach is also compliant with the NATO AEP-55 STANAG 4569 standard, offering ballistic protection at Volume 1, Level 3, and mine protection at Volume 2, Level 3a and 3b.
Currently, the Slovak army utilizes the RG-32M from BAE Systems, the domestically produced Aligator, and the older Soviet-made BRDM-2.