The Army’s next truck should be smart, flexible, user-friendly, partially autonomous and affordable. In other words, the automotive equivalent of a gadget from Apple. At a trade conference in Virginia on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Stephen Farmen, the chief of U.S. Army transportation, held up an iPhone. “How do we put the kind of power and technology like this into a wheeled vehicle and hit the right price point?” Farmen asked, according to a report by National Defense.
The “i-Tactical Wheeled Vehicle,” as Farmen called it, is still still years away. The Army just finished buying tens of thousands of medium transport trucks and mine-resistant battlefield transports. The branch’s new Joint Tactical Light Vehicle, a Humvee replacement, is in the final stages of design. A truck with iPhone-like capabilities designed from the wheels up might have to wait for the next round of truck replacements in 15 years or so. It’s possible by then that the Army won’t want or need a truck with smartphone-like qualities. After all, the military does tend to get caught up in the tech trend of the moment. Virtual-reality helmets, anyone?