The U.S. Marine Corps have received the initial four Lightweight Prime Mover (LWPM) vehicles from Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] Tactical Wheeled Vehicle (TWV) program. The LWPM will tow the new M777 lightweight 155-mm artillery howitzer. After undergoing a production qualification test at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, the LWPM will undergo an operational field user’s evaluation. Under the current contract, the Marine Corps has the option for full-rate production of 120 LWPM vehicles.
The LWPM rides on a height-adjustable chassis and central tire inflation system that automatically adjusts air pressure to enhance all-terrain mobility. Future production vehicles will accept appliqué armor. The vehicle is designed for improved rollover protection.
The vehicle is based on the LM4x4 truck, built on the proven High Mobility Transport design which excells with its unique weight-to-payload ratio, enabling the less than 10,000-pound vehicle to easily tow the 10,000-pound M777 howitzer. The LM4x4 is air-transportable inside the C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft. The vehicle also can be externally carried by the CH-53E helicopter and the MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
In addition to the LWPM contract, Lockheed Martin also delivered a technology demonstration utility vehicle to the U.S. Army for its Future Tactical Truck System Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program. The vehicle will be used to help refine the requirements for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.