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Lockheed Martin JLTV Proposal Touted as Lighter and Less Costly

JLTV: And then there were SIX?

In response to the government request for proposals released on Jan. 26, 2012, for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, the Lockheed Martin JLTV vehicle  has been made “substantially lighter and more affordable for the next phase of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps competition,” according to the company.

The Lockheed Martin-led JLTV team – which includes the tactical wheeled vehicles team at BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas; Cummins Engine; Allison Transmission; Bosch; Meritor Defense; Lotus Engineering; L3 Combat Propulsion Systems; and Vehma International of America – offered an EMD design that it described as “optimized for production while maintaining the proven force protection, mobility, transportability and reliability of the earlier technology demonstration (TD) model.”

“After seeing what was possible in the TD phase we have made some upgrades and adjustments to our design so we can get prepared for the real production program,” Greene acknowledged. “But for the most part the majority of the vehicle remains basically the same from TD to EMD phase. The enhancements to the vehicle are to get us ready for production as well as some reliability and maintainability enhancements that we also have introduced into the vehicle.”

The core of the team originally formed in 2005 and the current design reflects company lessons learned by the team as one of three recipients of TD contract awards made in late October 2008.

LMCO JLTV 1

A Lockheed Martin JLTV entrant in winter conditions. Lockheed Martin has run its prototypes over more than 160,000 miles of testing. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

“Our [EMD] proposal reflects our proven design that was used in our very successful Technology Demonstration phase,” said Scott Greene, vice president of ground vehicles at Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. In a March 27 briefing to media, Greene offered, “We have a combined 160,000 test miles on our vehicles. Our blast protection is matching current all-terrain mine resistant vehicles that are in theater today. And our vehicle is light enough for helo transport.”

“Basically that says we are giving the mine resistant protection of vehicles in theater today at about 40 percent of the weight of those vehicles,” he continued. “So that’s a phenomenal engineering feat for the team here at Lockheed Martin.”

“We did things like consolidate and standardize on our fasteners. We simplified our brackets. Those types of activities have the advantage of not only taking a significant amount of cost out of our design but to also put us in an excellent position from a producibility standpoint,” she said.

“Some of you also may know that during the TD phase we actually ran some of these vehicles down our ‘hot’ manufacturing line,” he said. “We have gone through some of the production processes already and gotten some of the risk out of the process at the end of TD phase.”

The TD vehicle design was built on partner BAE System’s production line in Sealy, Texas, where that company previously produced thousands of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

LMCO JLTV trailer

A Lockheed Martin JLTV entrant with its accompanying trailer during testing. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

“After seeing what was possible in the TD phase we have made some upgrades and adjustments to our design so we can get prepared for the real production program,” Greene acknowledged. “But for the most part the majority of the vehicle remains basically the same from TD to EMD phase. The enhancements to the vehicle are to get us ready for production as well as some reliability and maintainability enhancements that we also have introduced into the vehicle.”

“We will continue to listen to our customer,” he said, adding, “Because of the attentiveness we have had to the customer our vehicle is lighter and more affordable than ever.”

Kathryn Hasse, JLTV program director at Lockheed Martin, echoed that the design changes reflect “optimization that has been done to ensure that we meet the government’s affordability targets without compromising our performance and without compromising the very significant reliability that we achieved in our TD test program.”

Turning to the cost aspects, Hasse said that a lot of the optimization work “included things such as taking our exotic materials out of the TD vehicle and replacing them with much less expensive and much more common materials.”

“We did things like consolidate and standardize on our fasteners. We simplified our brackets. Those types of activities have the advantage of not only taking a significant amount of cost out of our design but to also put us in an excellent position from a producibility standpoint,” she said.

Hasse emphasized that the design achievements were made while still meeting stringent government weight requirements and without compromising vehicle performance or reliability.

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