Air Force Modernizes Nuclear Security with Advanced JLTV Vehicle
29 April 2023, By Joseph Coslett Jr., 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, WY (AFNS)

Airmen from the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron depart F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for the first operational Joint Light Tactical Vehicle mission supporting maintenance at a launch facility near Harrisburg, Neb., April 24, 2023. This is the first step in modernizing the security forces vehicle fleet to provide more lethality and security for the nuclear enterprise. (Air Force photo by Joseph Coslett Jr.)

Security Forces Airmen from the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron conducted the first operational mission with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle supporting launch facility maintenance near Harrisburg, Nebraska, April 24.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Daniels and Senior Airman Zion Hill, 90th MSFS maintenance support team, made history by conducting the first real-world JLTV operation for Air Force Global Strike Command.

“It is built like a tank,” Hill said. “When you climb into the Humvee, you are stepping back in time 20 years. The JLTV is like driving the Batmobile into the future to better defend our nation."

The JLTV is a new armored truck that is set to replace the aging Up-Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly known as the Humvee. This is part of AFGSC’s efforts to modernize and enhance defenders’ capabilities and better protect one of the nation’s most critical assets, its nuclear arsenal.

Senior Airman Zion Hill and Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Daniels, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron maintenance support team members, prepare to depart F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for the first operational Joint Light Tactical Vehicle mission supporting maintenance at a launch facility near Harrisburg, Neb., April 24, 2023. This is the first step in modernizing the security forces vehicle fleet to provide more lethality and security for the nuclear enterprise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Coslett Jr.)

“The JLTV is an extremely robust and versatile vehicle, offering improved point of view, responsive suspension systems, increased power and modern safety features,” said Lt. Col. William Brokaw, 90th MSFS commander. “Many of the defenders who will operate the vehicle, were born after the (Humvee) entered service and are anxious to take advantage of all the new capabilities.”

Senior Airman Zion Hill and Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Daniels, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron maintenance support team members, pose in front of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle before providing security for the first operational mission supporting maintenance at a launch facility near Harrisburg, Neb., April 24, 2023. This is the first step in modernizing the security forces vehicle fleet to provide more lethality and security for the nuclear enterprise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Coslett Jr.)

The JLTV is a step forward in terms of safety and protection. However, Brokaw emphasized that the JLTV is a complex vehicle and requires investment in training to ensure operators' safety and skills. Every operator must complete 40 hours of training, both classroom and hands-on familiarization and driving.

Senior Airman Zion Hill, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron maintenance support team member, prepares to provide security before his first operational Joint Light Tactical Vehicle mission supporting maintenance at a launch facility near Harrisburg, Nebraska, April 24, 2023. This is the first step in modernizing the security forces vehicle fleet to provide more lethality and security for the nuclear enterprise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Coslett Jr.)

A large number of Airmen are already trained, and once the truck is released for general use, it’s expected to be moving across the complex within a matter of weeks.

First Lt. Joseph Struzik, 90th Missile Security Operations Squadron officer in charge of logistics and sustainment, shared his first impressions between the Humvee and the JLTV.

“It is a night and day difference. When you climb inside a Humvee you are walking into a historical box,” he said. “You will see old analog gauges, a classic steering wheel, a center console with a radio. Whereas the JLTV gives defenders a better tool to perform their nuclear security duties.”

Humvee drivers adjust to the vehicle, while the JLTV adjusts to the driver, according to Struzik.

As the JLTV is rolled out across the U.S. military, it will help Airmen fit into any joint operations of the future, Brokaw said.

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