The US Army has started testing joint light tactical vehicles (JLTVs) with a chassis that offers underbelly protection to soldiers.
Oshkosh Defense delivered the first seven JLTVs in September for testing at different locations.
More than 100 JLTVs will be delivered to the US Army and Marine Corps for testing over the next year at a rate of about ten per month, the army said in a statement.
Manoeuvrability and automotive testing on the vehicles will be carried out at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, and the Cold Regions Test Center in Fort Greely, Alaska.
These vehicles will also undergo testing for cyber integration of command, control, communications and intelligence at the Electronics Proving Ground on Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
The JLTV has numerous variants, including a general-purpose truck, a close-combat weapons or heavy guns carrier, and a two-door utility pickup vehicle.
The group of trucks delivered last week included all versions except the close-combat weapons carrier, which should be included in the next delivery in a few weeks, according to an Oshkosh spokesman.
The army expects to shorten its original fielding schedule by five years after the JLTV programme enters its full production phase in 2019.
The schedule reduction is expected to save $6bn from previous estimates, according to the army's combat service support programme executive officer Scott Davis.
Image: An Oshkosh Defense prototype of the joint light tactical vehicle negotiates an off-road demonstration course. Photo: courtesy of Oshkosh Defense.