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JLTV JPO Highlights JLTV Testing, Milestones, Risks

In the immediate aftermath of the delivery of the JLTV prototype vehicle and trailer platforms from the three contracted engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) vendors, military program representatives verified current program plans while acknowledging the potential future impact of budget decisions.

“It’s not a cost issue that we have,” said U.S. Army Col. John R. Cavedo Jr., Project Manager for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicles Joint Program Office. “We have a budget issue as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.”

“As of yesterday, September 3, we started test at full pace and full scope,” Cavedo said. “We anticipate driving on with our full test schedule and staying on schedule all the way through next summer.”

“We have taken some risks,” he noted. “And we have taken those risks to say that we are not going to slip schedule ‘coming out of the gate.’ We are starting test at full pace.”

The government testing not only involves the 22 vehicle platforms and six trailers provided by each of the three EMD contractors – AM General, Oshkosh Defense, and Lockheed Martin – but also testing of the vehicles with legacy trailers, since compatibility with those trailers had been a requirement.

LMCO JLTV

One of Lockheed Martin’s 22 EMD vehicles being put through its paces during a demonstration at Quantico. Lockheed Martin photo

“As of yesterday, September 3, we started test at full pace and full scope,” Cavedo said. “We anticipate driving on with our full test schedule and staying on schedule all the way through next summer.”

“Next summer we will reach a decision point,” he said. “And by next summer there are a couple different decision points that we might encounter. That decision point could be, as Ms. [Heidi] Shyu [Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology] has testified to, and some of the other senior leadership [has said], that we could wind up having to slow the program down next summer as a result of sequestration, or the budget control act.”

Cavedo said that the program is currently “working several mitigation strategies right now to reduce those risks and to do everything that we can to keep the program on schedule and on track,” adding, “Because we understand that if we don’t, that the cost associated with stretching the program out could be significantly more than the decrement that we took from the Budget Control Act. So it is imperative for both us – the program office – and for industry to do everything that we can to keep this on track and to mitigate that slowing in the summer of [2014] and to mitigate the possibility of that 3-4 month slip, as was testified to a couple months ago.”

Another of the “risks” acknowledged by Cavedo involves logistics, with the program manager noting that the majority of logistics development had been deferred to the LRIP phase.

If the JLTV schedule does not slip, Cavedo said that the current target is to “have a Source Selection Evaluation Board that would start sometime in January/February of 2015 and conclude sometime in the July 2015 timeframe, have a decision to a single vendor that would move on into LRIP [low rate initial production].”

He said that the movement into LRIP “would signify the end of the EMD phase as we move into the production and demonstration phase. July 2015 is the current schedule. All of our planning and all of our resourcing is all targeted toward July 2015.”

BRV-O JLTV

AM General’s BRV-O vehicle shown during off-road testing. The company’s vehicles now move into full-scale testing. AM General photo

He noted that current plans call for approximately 2,000 vehicles to be produced during the LRIP phase, “principally focused on being able to demonstrate producibility; manufacturability; vehicles that we need to do for full up system level testing; vehicles that we need to take into our operational test event. That’s what LRIP is focused on.”

Cavedo said that the decision to move from LRIP into the full rate production phase “is scheduled for the 2018 timeframe.”

Another of the “risks” acknowledged by Cavedo involves logistics, with the program manager noting that the majority of logistics development had been deferred to the LRIP phase.

“That is a risk that we have assumed early on,” he said. “But we think it’s a very manageable risk as we move forward. Interim contractor logistics support is required until organic support is going to be established. And as I speak right now we are developing a product support business case analysis, which is going to look and give us a fact-based assessment of where we should be and where we should move as we start full rate production in FY 18. Will that be a 75 percent /25 percent split between organic and Contractor Based Logistics? Will it be a 50/50? Will we be ready to move into 100 percent organic at that time or will we still need to be at 100 percent contractor based logistics? But we will know that before going into our Milestone C decision, which is currently scheduled for the third quarter of FY 15.”

Elaborating on the logistics support issue later in the briefing, Cavedo emphasized, “2018 is really where we see the potential for the change from interim contractor logistics support. We know that from 2015 to 2018 we’re going to be in interim contractor logistics support, and then beyond that we just don’t know yet. We will know the answer prior to [LRIP] award in 2015, because that is part of the package that we’ve got to take to the milestone decision authority – Mr. Kendall [DoD Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics] – what will that logistics support look like from LRIP all the way through the entire production phase? So the answer to that question for 2018 and beyond will be known in late 2014 or early 2015.”

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...