The US State Department approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to North Macedonia on 8 March 2024, for the provision of additional Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and associated logistical and program support, with an estimated cost of $111m (MKD6.2bn), according to a release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA).

The primary contractors for the sale are Oshkosh Defense, AM General, Leonardo DRS, and L3Harris. The proposal does not include any offset agreements.

The JLTV was developed to replace the US Army and Marine Corps fleet of High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV/Humvee). Oshkosh delivered its first prototype in August 2013, and was awarded a $6.7bn eight-year production contract for the development of JLTVs in August 2015, covering 17,000 light tactical vehicles to the Army and Marine Corps. 

North Macedonia intends to purchase an additional 18 M1278A1/A2 JLTV Heavy Gun Carriers and seven M1280A1/A2 JLTV General Purpose vehicles. 

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This new request complements a prior sale that was valued at $78.54m that included 71 JLTVs among other equipment. The current request, if approved, would bring North Macedonia’s total to 66 M1278A1/A2 JLTV Heavy Gun Carriers, 24 M1280A1/A2 JLTV General Purpose vehicles, and six M1281A1/A2 JLTV Close Combat Weapons Carriers.

The package also includes various types of support equipment such as Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS), machine guns, high frequency radios, GPS receivers, spare and repair parts, as well as logistical and training services.

This sale aims to support US foreign policy and national security objectives, according to the DCSA release, by enhancing the defence capabilities of Nato Ally, North Macedonia. 

The enhancement of North Macedonia’s military capacity is seen as a move to deter potential adversaries, contribute to Nato operations, and promote regional stability in Europe. The addition of these tactical vehicles is expected to improve North Macedonia’s national and territorial defence, as well as its interoperability with US and Nato forces, without altering the military balance in the region.

Implementation of the sale would require the temporary deployment of three to five US Government representatives to North Macedonia for up to five years, along with contractor support for equipment fielding and training. The sale is not expected to impact US defence readiness negatively. The final value of the sale will depend on the specific requirements, available budget, and eventual sales agreements.