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Serving as the backbone of the Corps' tactical vehicle fleet for two decades, the MTVR (Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement) is the Marine Corps' primary heavy tactical vehicle used for transporting troops, supplies, and equipment in a variety of terrain and environmental conditions. Designed to increase the warfighter’s lethality on the battlefield, the MTVR has proven to be a highly reliable, versatile, and durable vehicle that can operate in extreme conditions and has been used in a wide range of missions, including logistics support, disaster relief, and combat operations.

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Shifting Gears: How the Marine Corps is Reinventing its Tactical Vehicle Fleet

6 Apr 2023 | Johannes Schmidt, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication Marine Corps Systems Command

For the past two decades, the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, or MTVR, and the Logistics Vehicle System Replacement, or LVSR, have served as the foundation of the Marine Corps' tactical vehicle fleet, transporting Marines and critical equipment to the frontlines with speed and safety. In response to the evolving needs of the modern warfighter, Marine Corps Systems Command has received high-level requirements for the fielding of an innovative and cutting-edge Medium Tactical Truck.

As stated by Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, the present security environment – defined by rapidly changing conditions and emerging threats – “demands that we move rapidly to adapt to the circumstances of a new era.” Consequently, the development of a highly adaptable and versatile tactical vehicle that can navigate various terrains while ensuring the efficient transportation of personnel and vital equipment is of note.

“Moving personnel and equipment is always a critical aspect of any conflict, and the Marine Corps' MTVR and LVSR are essential in this regard,” said Lorrie Owens, program manager for Medium and Heavy Tactical Vehicles. “Additionally, in line with Force Design 2030, the MTVR plays a pivotal role and is an integral part of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS,  and the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMESIS. As the primary resupply vehicle and trailer for HIMARS and NMESIS within the medium and heavy tactical vehicle portfolio, the MTVR is a vital component of modern warfare strategy.”

Ongoing events in Eastern Europe further emphasize the importance of a robust acquisitions program in achieving victory on the modern battlefield. As war continues to rage, the Ukrainian military's ability to rapidly adapt to the asymmetric Russian threat underscores the significance of agile and forward-thinking modernization efforts. 

Since the Kremlin’s invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, Kyiv's demonstrated ability to effectively counter and repel enemy forces, while addressing the evolving challenges of modern warfare, has served as a compelling testament to the importance of embracing modernization principles similar to those outlined in Force Design 2030 -- the Marine Corps' strategic blueprint for the future.

One of the most lethal and widely discussed weapons in Ukraine's arsenal is the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. Without the tactical vehicles provided by Washington to transport and deploy them, however, they would quickly be rendered ineffective on the battlefield.

But change is necessarily on the horizon and the Corps is looking to replace the MTVR – an aging platform whose life cycle has been extended through 2042. Although there are no current plans to modernize the MTVR, Marines can look forward to the debut of the MTT prototype in Spring 2024.

While the design of the future Medium Tactical Truck is not yet finalized, certain requirements have already been established, such as the incorporation of an onboard power generator, the ability to operate independently of the combustion engine, and the implementation of scalable export power systems.

"Our focus is on incorporating new advancements in technology, such as hybridization, to extend the operational capability of the new vehicle,” said Nate Parady, team lead for the MTT. “We aim to retain the attributes and features of the current MTVR that the Marines love while pushing the boundaries to make the new vehicle even more capable."

"Fuel efficiency is a hot-ticket item and that’s kind of the buzzword of the day,” said Owens. “We're also partnering with [Defense Innovation Unit] to explore anti-idle technology and hope to learn more about industry advancements in electrification technologies through the RFI. From fuel efficiency modifications to better fuel consumption all the way up to hybrid technology, we're looking to industry to shape our future vehicle designs."

Altogether, the new technologies being pursued by MARCORSYSCOM serve to extend the range of Marine Corps vehicles, reduce their dependency on petroleum fuels, trim logistics requirements, and increase combat readiness.

In the meantime, Owens and her team are focused on sustaining the MTVR as best as possible until the new truck is ready and divesting the rest.

"We're divesting our MTVR and LVSR and have found success with equipment exchange programs in partnership with our industry partners. They prepare the vehicles for sale – often demilitarizing them – and then after everything is said and done, we get a portion of the profit,” Owens said.

Ultimately, this benefits both the Corps and the taxpayer as it allows the Marine Corps to phase out aging vehicle platforms while recouping some of the costs through the sale of the vehicles. Additionally, by divesting the fleet, the Corps can free up resources and space for the new vehicles when they are ready to be fielded.

But Parady believes the lessons learned by his team could be beneficial to others throughout the acquisitions community. 

“Our experience has shown us the vital importance of identifying key stakeholders and communicating with them effectively, both within and outside our program office,” said Parady. “As acquisition professionals, we know the necessity of planning ahead due to the typical delays that come with our work. While some may consider certain milestones distant in the future, we recognize that time moves quickly in acquisition. With this focused approach, we're confident in our ability to achieve our acquisition goals and ensure readiness for what lies ahead.”

Ultimately, the Marine Corps' tactical vehicle fleet plays a crucial role in modern warfare, and the upcoming Medium Tactical Truck is poised to further enhance their capabilities. The new technologies being pursued by the Marine Corps have the potential to greatly enhance logistics, combat readiness, and reduce their dependency on petroleum fuels. With a focus on incorporating cutting-edge technology, MARCORSYSCOM is striving to make the new vehicle even more capable while retaining the features that Marines love.