Skip to main content

Warfighting units have to adapt to some wild and crazy battlefield conditions, many requiring specific trucks and tactical vehicles. Everyone has seen the Humvees and helicopters made famous by films, but you may not have seen some of the coolest military vehicles. With little notice, U.S. Marines and these little light tactical vehicles could be just about anywhere in the world. 

What is a light tactical vehicle? 

A light tactical vehicle is exactly what it sounds like: a lightweight military vehicle capable of transporting warfighters and gear. The utility of a small, easy-to-transport tactical vehicle is unmistakable. Ask most infantry or special operations warfighters, and they’ll say the same thing: it beats walking. 

The Growler is one of the coolest military vehicles you didn't know about.
The Growler was a great weapons platform |

Why does the military use these light tactical vehicles? 

I was excited when 1st Battalion 5th Marines got orders to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. My unit was designated the Helicopter Raid company, which meant new missions, and some of the coolest military vehicles available. Our entire purpose was to use helicopters like the CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-53 Super Stallion, and MV-22 Osprey to conduct fast actions, by moving on foot, fast-roping in, or driving in from helicopter landing zones (LZs). 

I know what you’re thinking: driving from a helicopter? Yes, we would roll an M1161 Growler, or Internally Transportable Light Strike Vehicle (ITV-LSV), off the rear of a Super Stallion helicopter and do our jobs. 

How are these light tactical vehicles some of the coolest military vehicles? 

As soon as we landed, we would roll the vehicle off and bring the upper structure into place. That structure allowed the light tactical vehicles to support a crew-served weapon system, like a machine gun. As soon as we set that structure up, we had a vehicle capable of supporting a machine gun team with ammunition and other supplies. 

The Growler light tactical vehicle could be transported in a helicopter.
The Growler can be transported in a helicopter |

However, the ITV-LSVs could be used for any task the expeditionary unit needed it to accomplish. Warfighters could use it to conduct a raid, make a blocking position, extract a high-value target, or support an attack with machine guns. That modularity and flexibility makes these little trucks one of the coolest military vehicles out there.

Why should the United States Marine Corps and other warfighting organizations use these lightweight vehicles? 

Although the Growler that I used in the Marines is more of a museum piece than what the current generation is operating, the application remains the same. The ability to put warfighters in a lightweight, small vehicle right out of the back of a helicopter is valuable. 

What is next for light tactical vehicles and the next generation of the coolest military vehicles? 

The next generation light tactical vehicles will definitely be one of the coolest military vehicles.
A light tactical vehicle is a must for fast-moving military forces. |

The next generation of light tactical vehicles will likely incorporate better suspension, more modularity, and maybe even hybrid or electric drivetrains. A whisper-quiet electric vehicle is an interesting prospect as long as mission parameters allow. However, given how flexible service members have to be, an EV might not be conducive to combat operations just yet. 

Can you buy one of these cool military vehicles?

If you dream of owning a Humvee (I can’t recommend it) or a Growler, you can go to the government auction website and find one for yourself! They often don’t cost much, but you have to remember how hard a military service life is on these vehicles. 

If you want to read more about cool cars, scroll down to the following article!

RELATED: Volvo XC40 x Boston Fire Department: Better Ways to Work With EVs


Buying a USPS Mail Truck May Not Be as Simple as You Think