On Jan. 26, 2012, just a few hours before the U.S. Secretary of Defense began to reveal a range of procurement cuts and difficult program decisions, the U.S. Army released a request for proposal (RFP) for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program.
Reflective of the lessons learned over the past decade of war, JLTV is viewed as filling the tactical wheeled vehicle capability gap created by evolving tactical mobility and protection requirements that are not satisfied by the Up-Armored HMMWV.
“Both the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps have identified critical capability gaps in their respective light tactical vehicle fleets,” said Program Executive Officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS) Kevin M. Fahey. “JLTV is the most cost-effective program to meet capability gaps for the light tactical vehicles with the most demanding missions.”
JLTV is comprised of two variants, based on a common vehicle automotive platform: a two-seat and a four-seat variant, and a companion trailer (JLTV-T). The two-seat variant has one base vehicle platform, the Utility (JLTV-UTL). The four-seat variant has two base vehicle platforms, the General Purpose (JLTV-GP) and the Close Combat Weapons Carrier (JLTV-CCWC). Each base vehicle platform will also be configured as a mission package configuration through the installation of mission packages designed to maximize commonality while meeting the specific needs of the user.
The program completed its 27-month technology development (TD) phase in spring 2011.
“The technology development (TD) phase for this program did exactly what it was intended to do – provide the basis for the cost-informed trades that resulted in a common Army and Marine Corps requirement,” said Program Executive Officer Land Systems Marine Corps William E. Taylor. “It serves as a model for how the services looking forward should operate in a cost-constrained budget environment.”
As outlined in the RFP, the EMD contracts “will provide for fabrication, assembly, integration, testing and test support, and related requirements in accordance with the contract and the JLTV Purchase Description. Each JLTV Contractor shall deliver 22 prototype vehicles. Additional deliverables include ballistic structures, armor coupons, additional test assets, and contractor furnished kits, trailers and data requirements.”
EMD contract awards are currently planned for June of 2012 and projected to run 27 months for contractors (33 months for program office).
“The refined 27-month acquisition strategy is designed to put a premium on driving down costs, reducing risk and getting vehicles into the hands of Warfighters quicker,” government program representatives note.
The current acquisition strategy for the follow-on production and deployment (PD) phase calls for the initial production contract to be solicited in Fiscal Year 2015, with the government planning to award one firm fixed price contract consisting of a base three year low rate initial production (LRIP) contract with an option of a five year multi-year contract for full rate production (FRP).
Significantly, the “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices” documentation released in conjunction with the defense secretary’s comments points to a “Reasonable Reductions/Responsible Risks” programmatic approach, noting that “In order to sustain the highest priority investments, we made substantial reductions to programs that…are deemed excess to requirements…” One example offered of those programs “deemed excess to requirements” was HMMWVs, with the notation, “terminated upgrades and focused modernization resources on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.”