Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Move over Humvees. Wisconsin is building the future of combat transport.

Through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s fleet of Humvees have traversed every rocky hill and sandy street. They became the embodiment of American presence and quick response. To allies, the sight of approaching American Humvees meant safety and protection. To enemies, they served as a not so subtle hint to run far away.

However, after over a decade of service in strenuous war zones, these vehicles have earned their retirement. A new generation of armored, light weight tactical vehicles are advancing American military capabilities in response to ever changing threats, and a recently finalized contract has placed the great responsibility of manufacturing these new vehicles on the workers of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy of Eric Dykstra

Oshkosh Defense recently won a $6.7 billion defense contract to manufacture almost 17,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) to replace the military’s aging fleet of Humvees. These new vehicles are well-armored yet mobile and able to be air-lifted. This puts them in an ideal middle ground between relatively agile Humvees and their much more heavily armored counterparts, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles; JLTVs are also designed to withstand the explosive impact of mines and roadside bombs. This upgrade will improve the safety of our troops but will also provide significant benefits here at home.

In recent years, Oshkosh Defense has had to cut hundreds of jobs. The contract for the JLTVs will allow Oshkosh to not only substantially reverse this trend, but, as the mayor of Oshkosh pointed out, attract new talent to the region as well.

While this project will create ripples of economic development throughout Wisconsin, it is important to note that the effects of this contract will be felt across the country as well. Oshkosh Defense has over 300 suppliers in 31 different states. Just another example of how keeping it Made in America benefits us all.

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