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USMC plans to buy high-power ULTV variant

A marine programs a counter-unmanned aircraft system on a Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS) during a predeployment training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. (US Marine Corps)

The Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle (ULTV) programme – a US Marine Corps (USMC) replacement for the ageing Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) – will now include a variant with more exportable power, according to Janes analysis of budget documents.

The fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request is the first time the ULTV-High Power (ULTV-HP) has funding for procurement, adding up to roughly USD5.99 million for 40 vehicles in that year. USMC justification documents indicate that it “provides exportable electrical power generation in support of the requirements for [the] kill web integrating system”.

While limited information is provided in the 2025 budgets, other documents shed more light on ULTV-HP's potential mission. Currently available mobile power sources are large and heavy, especially those that support power-hungry direct energy weapons, according to a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) notification published in 2021. For example, the generator used on the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS) is 15 lb more than the maximum gross vehicle weight of the ULTV, according to the SBIR document.

An Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) document from 2022 notes an effort to develop a ULTV-towable mobile hybrid power source that is able to be transported by V-22 Osprey, CH-53 helicopter, or C-130 aircraft.

The new vehicle may be responsive to the goal of powering an increasingly mobile Marine Corps, particularly the three planned Marine Littoral Regiments (MLRs). The USMC plans to have MLRs be highly mobile and forward deployed.

For more information on ULTVs, please seeUltra light tactical vehicle begins fielding with US marines.

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