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Navistar ‘Saratoga’ Variant Is Company’s Independent Bid for JLTV EMD

JLTV: And then there were SIX?

Navistar Defense, LLC announced recently that it has submitted a bid to compete for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program. The company will bid with a variant of its International® Saratoga™ light tactical vehicle, which Navistar launched in October after conducting its own automotive and blast testing.

Navistar was previously teamed with BAE Systems in the earlier Technology Development (TD) phase of the JLTV program.

Navistar Saratoga 1

Navistar’s International Saratoga was previously targeted for the gap between HMMWV and JLTV, but can be adapted to fulfill the JLTV requirement, and can do so quickly, the company says. Photo courtesy of Navistar

According to company overviews, Saratoga’s design “channels Navistar’s commercial background,” and was “originally designed to target a gap in the light tactical vehicle market. Its flexible platform is derived from an integration strategy that allows the company to rapidly develop new vehicle variants to meet different customer needs while keeping investment costs low.”

In unveiling Saratoga at the October 2011 Association of the United States Army annual meeting, Navistar Defense Director of Army Programs Sam Homsy characterized the vehicle’s development as, “anticipating a requirement and being ready to put into production a truck that is needed – a truck that is wanted – in the field before any of the other light tactical vehicles that could be put in the field by the Army or any other partner under traditional processes.”

He added that major areas addressed in the truck’s design included survivability, affordability, and transportability.

Navistar Defense President Archie Massicotte expanded on those themes five months later. Acknowledging Saratoga’s submission as the company’s JLTV EMD candidate, he said, “We made a significant investment in developing the Saratoga on our own nickel because that’s what we do commercially – it is part of our DNA. The Saratoga is a solid design and now that we have seen the requirements of the JLTV migrate toward our vehicle capabilities, we are in a position to modify the Saratoga to fit those requirements.”

Company descriptions add that the Saratoga light tactical vehicle “has a high degree of commonality with fielded vehicles and incorporates Navistar’s automotive and manufacturing expertise. The company has also designed and tested its own proprietary survivability solution for the vehicle, which considers material mix, vehicle structure and hull shape.”

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