Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blackwater Unveils Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

Blackwater and Raytheon unveiled their much anticipated prototype six-passenger Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at the US Special Operations Industry Conference in Tampa yesterday, Defense News reports.

"Our vehicle will go faster and carry more weight safely than any other JLTV," said Blackwater Vice President Bill Mathews. "With Raytheon being the integrator for so many ground vehicles for C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], our JLTV will have the technological equivalent of an F-18 cockpit."

"The Blackwater-Raytheon partnership," writes Defense News, "aims to combine the fast, off-road vehicle expertise with the systems integration and C4ISR abilities of Raytheon. Made by Ares Systems Group, its appliqué armor uses add-on composite materials designed to provide more protection at lower weight than traditional materials."

"The integral armor packages are exceptional, and the appliqué makes this one really tough, capable vehicle," said Mathews. "We will be providing protection that is on par with MRAPs [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles] in a package that is mobile."

Defense News reports that "in the coming weeks, the Blackwater-Raytheon JLTV prototype will be tested with gunfire, high temperatures and other combat conditions.... The Army plans to award three 27-month JLTV development contracts at the end of June."

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