The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have taken delivery of all 66 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) prototypes, so that a planned 14 months of full-scale testing can begin as scheduled next week. JLTV testing will take place at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. Oshkosh Defense, AM General, and Lockheed Martin each delivered 22 vehicles and six trailers.
“All three vendors absolutely meet the key requirements, all could close that critical and substantial capability gap in our light tactical wheel portfolio.”
The beginning of full-scale testing marks a significant milestone in the JLTV program, which has already seen some initial testing during the current research and development program. Testing already conducted includes more than 400 ballistic and blast tests on armor testing samples, underbody blast testing, and more than 1,000 miles of shakedown testing. “All three vendors absolutely meet the key requirements, all could close that critical and substantial capability gap in our light tactical wheel portfolio,” said Col. John Cavedo, the joint project manager after the demonstration runs held at Quantico, Va. Full-scale testing will include soldiers from the Army Test and Evaluation Command and personnel from the Defense Department’s Office of Test and Evaluation putting the JLTVs through their paces.
The JLTV is envisioned as filling the capability gap that exists between heavily armored vehicles and lighter vehicles such as the HMMWV family of vehicles. The Army’s Equipment Modernization Strategy makes the case that, “the Army is moving forward with developing the JLTV to fill the capability gaps in the light vehicle fleet by carefully balancing performance, payload and protection. The JLTV provides the same level of protection as the Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV, better network integration than the [Humvee] and better mobility and transportability than the M-ATV.” The Army plans on beginning to field the first of 49,000 JLTVs in fiscal year 2018, with the Marine Corps acquiring 5,500.
With testing scheduled to be completed in fiscal year 2015, the next step will be the award of a production contract to one of the vendors. “The stakes are high because the winner takes all,” said Cavedo. A single vendor will be awarded the contract to build nearly 55,000 vehicles. That will be a tough day for two of the three companies, who will go home empty-handed. Right now, though, all three companies have celebrated their first JLTV delivery and are dreaming of a day when they are delivering many more.
“The stakes are high because the winner takes all.”
Oshkosh Defense held an event in Oshkosh, Wis. on Aug. 7 to mark the delivery of its first JLTV prototype. The ceremony was held after a successful vehicle inspection by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and was attended by representatives from the JLTV Joint Program Office. Echoing the Army’s Equipment Modernization Strategy, John Urias, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president of Oshkosh Defense said, “the JLTV will fill a vital capabilities gap in the military’s light vehicle fleet and protect our men and women in uniform for decades to come.” Urias also talked up Oshkosh’s JLTV offering. “The Oshkosh JLTV solution we are now submitting for government testing transforms the concept of what a light vehicle can be – merging key design aspects of high-performance tactical vehicles and highly survivable combat vehicles,” he said.
AM General held a ceremony at their Engineering and Development Center in Livonia, Mich. to celebrate their delivery, ahead of schedule, of their JLTV offering, dubbed the Blast Resistant Vehicle – Off road™ (BRV-O™). AM General Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John C. Ulrich said that the delivery “reinforces the company’s unmatched expertise in managing its supply chain to drive efficiencies in cost and enhanced reliability for our government customers. We have great confidence that BRV-O is the solution to our warfighters’ future light tactical vehicle needs.”
Lockheed Martin also celebrated their delivery of 22 JLTVs in a ceremony at their Missiles and Fire Control Facility in Dallas, Texas. “Our team has produced a highly capable, reliable and affordable JLTV for our customers,” said Scott Greene, vice president of ground vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. After racking up a combined 160,000 test miles, Lockheed Martin’s JLTV offering is ready for full-scale testing. “These vehicles will meet the toughest demands of our soldiers and Marines. They deserve our best, and that’s precisely what we delivered,” said Greene.
“In the end, the government will pick the very best of best. We’re in a fortunate situation.”
Clearly executives from all three companies feel buoyed and confident after the delivery of their respective prototypes. Cavedo also feels confident about the JLTV offerings. “In the end, the government will pick the very best of best. We’re in a fortunate situation,” said Cavedo.