North Macedonia has welcomed the first batch of Oshkosh Defense-built Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) as they were unloaded from a ship at the port of Thessaloniki, Greece.
The first six, of a total of 33 vehicles that are expected to be delivered to North Macedonia by the end of the year, were unloaded on July 23.
According to photos shared by defense minister Slavjanka Petrovska, the JLTVs were transported alongside 180 M1117 armored vehicles that have been donated to Greece by the United States.
North Macedonia ordered the first JLTV 4x4s in 2019. Plans are currently in place for the purchase of 99 units, but the country has options to buy a total of 152 of the vehicles by 2024. With the arrival of the first vehicles, Balkan state is joining several other European customers of the JLTVs, including regional neighbors Montenegro and Slovenia.
The vehicles are slated to join the 2nd infantry battalion, which already uses German-built TM-170 Hermelin vehicles, as well as tracked BMP-2, M113, MT-LB and Leonidas and wheeled BTR-70, BTR-80 vehicles of mixed Soviet, Greek, US, and Turkish origins.
The acquisition of the JLTV and the potential purchase of Stryker armored fighting vehicles for an estimated cost of $210 million is part of North Macedonia’s drive to unify its equipment and thereby ease the logistical and maintenance issues.
According to local reports, that drive could be aided by US military donations that would be contingent on the transfers of weapon systems of Soviet origin to Ukraine, which has been defending against the Russian invasion since February this year.
As a successor for the Humvee in the US military, the JLTV is air-transportable (CH-47 and CH-53 helicopters; C-130, C-5, C-17 and A400 Cargo fixed-wing aircraft) and can be delivered in a multitude of versions ranging from general purpose to heavy guns carrier.
The vehicles come with integrated C4ISR capabilities and have a payload of 2,313 kg in the two-door configuration, and 1,587 kg in four-door configuration.
Oshkosh Defense says it has so far built almost 17,000 vehicles and delivered them to over 50 locations worldwide.