GRAND PRAIRIE With a sleek presentation, Lockheed Martin is rolling out what could be the replacement for the U.S. military's Humvee.

Scott Greene, Lockheed's vice president of ground vehicles, describes the new design as "one of the most advanced vehicles on four wheels."

The defense contractor promises that like the Humvee, its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, designed in Grand Prairie, is easily transportable and is able to navigate through most any obstacle.

But they also boast that it offers extraordinary protection from bomb blasts protection which the Humvee lacked.

"The venerable Humvee, the workhorse of the light tactical vehicle fleet ... given the change of warfare ... was no longer optimal for the missions we were asking it to do," explained Col. John Cavedo, project manager at the Joint Program JLTV.

After the Hummer s fatal flaw was exploited time and again in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army and Marine Corps asked for a successor vehicle that offered improve shielding.

"Its protection system will be a quantum leap of crew protection and survivability, Greene promised.

There s a lot riding on those four wheels for Lockheed Martin, too. It is one of three contractors competing to produce the vehicle.

In Grand Prairie on Wednesday, the company signed over 22 of the prototype vehicles to the military, which will extensively test them for more than a year before awarding the contract to produce as many as 55,000 of the trucks.

The deal could ultimately be worth many billions of dollars, and would secure and even add to Lockheed Martin s local workforce of 2,700 employees.


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