This might not be the updated up-armored version but is in the J8 lineup as well. HMMWV replacement to run along with the M-ATV?
Not an up-armoured version, if anything it'll be less-armoured. Not something to replace front-line HMMWVs and work with MRAPs, something more like a larger replacement/compliment to the old Desert Patrol Vehicle
. The competitor is something called the Flyer, which looks like an oversized side-by-side mated with a DPV.
SOF Looking For A New Vehicle
They're not looking for a combat vehicle, rather a lightweight vehicle for overland travel from and to an operation-the kind of thing they can drive across the desert, ditch a KM away if need be, and have enough speed and armament in case they need to GTFO in a hurry.
Besides, the HMMWV is supposed to be completely phased out of frontline combat operations, and replaced with various MRAPs. It's the same trend that Canada and the UK have been into (You think HMMWVs go to hell in a city full of IEDs? Check out what happens when a Mercedes G-Wagen or a Land Rover Defender gets hit...
. But they're already pretty much replaced for frontline combat.)
Today, SOF units in Afghanistan are now moving back towards lighter combat loads and unarmored, but highly mobile, tactical vehicles.
Currently, Army Special Operations is seeking to identify a new Ground Mobility Vehicle to replace the Humvee. USASOC put out the word some time ago that it was looking for a SOF specific all-terrain vehicle that seated four troops to include the turret gunner.
The J8 is the favorite because it has more mounting capabilty, better ingress/egress and a much simpler engine and drivetrain, one that they can repair easily both in the field and in a base (The Flyer would have to be shipped back to the US for repairs).
I doubt the next-gen Wrangler will get a factory Hemi option (Sadly), but more because of the upcoming EPA regs and the general political incorrectness of it.
Plus, Hemi conversion kits are what keeps AEV in business, and we don't want them to go away.