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US Marine Corps starts fielding cutting-edge ULTV Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle.

| 2023

U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has begun fielding the new Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle, or ULTV, reaching initial operational capability and marking a significant milestone in the Corps’ Force Design 2030 modernization efforts. This state-of-the-art tactical vehicle is set to enhance infantry, reconnaissance, and logistics mobility and sustainability, providing the modern warfighter with an advanced, lightweight solution tailored for operations in an anti-access/area denial environment.
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ULTVs parked at Camp Pendleton (Picture source: Ashley Calingo, U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command)

“Fielding the ULTV serves as a signal that the Corps is keeping in stride with the ambitious roadmap laid out in Force Design 2030,” said Col. John Gutierrez, portfolio manager for Logistics Combat Element Systems. “This new capability will ultimately help forge a more agile and resilient Corps—one which is empowered to overcome the evolving complexities of modern warfare.”

Fielding operations will proceed in conjunction with the First Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, California. The first ULTVs have already arrived at I MEF (Marine Expeditonary Force), with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines receiving the initial vehicle set. An ongoing, structured roll-out will continue throughout the MEF, culminating in August, followed by additional fielding events across the Marine Corps.

The ULTV, a modular, off-road utility vehicle, is currently replacing the Utility Task Vehicle, or UTV, which has reached the end of its lifecycle. With its ability to be rapidly configured, the ULTV supports diverse infantry needs, ranging from logistical support and casualty evacuation to command and control and electronic warfare missions. Furthermore, the ULTV can be internally transported in the MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E/K King Stallion, further facilitating rapid deployment.

“The ULTV is more than just a tactical vehicle; it enhances our capabilities across the board, ensuring the success of our mission and the safety of our Marines,” said Program Manager for Light Tactical Vehicles Jennifer Moore. “The ability to rapidly configure the ULTV to suit diverse mission needs-- from logistical support to electronic warfare-- enhances our capabilities in previously unimagined ways.”

Marine Corps Systems Command serves as the Department of the Navy's systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology system programs in order to equip and sustain Marine forces with full-spectrum capabilities.

ULTV, a military-commercial success story

The Marine Corps joined forces with USSOCOM and embraced the Polaris MRZR (UTV) for their infantry and reconnaissance units. After nearly five years, the UTV fleet is approaching the end of its practical lifespan in terms of cost-effectiveness. As a result, the USMC has now procured the new UltraLight Tactical Vehicle (ULTV) as a replacement, offering enhanced capabilities and serving as a more versatile platform. Through collaboration with SOCOM and the commercial industry, the ULTV has been designed with a modular structure, enabling it to effectively undertake diverse missions in support of the Joint Concept for Contested Logistics and the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.

The utilization of commercially available systems to bridge capability gaps offers several advantages. It allows warfighters to swiftly access cutting-edge technology while minimizing risks and expenses. Under the guidance of a Marine lieutenant colonel, the program office for the Family of Special Operations Vehicles is entrusted with the prompt delivery of specialized equipment to meet the ever-changing demands of the mission environment. Despite limited resources, the program office exhibits remarkable flexibility, facilitating acquisitions at the pace of technological advancements.

Defense News June 2023

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