Joint light tactical vehicle top of list in budget request

JLTV competitors and their prototypes, some used during the Technology Development phase. (Wikipedia Commons)

The Army has named the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle as an intricate piece of equipment in its 2016 budget request.

Twelve critical programs were named in the $127 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget, all of which support mission command, joint combined arms maneuver and broad joint mission support.  None were listed in a prioritized order, but all are considered important to the Army mission.

“It shows Congress where we are spending taxpayer dollars. These programs also provide critical capability to soldiers,” said Col. Brian Halloran, Army G-8 force development division chief for plans, strategy and policy. “How we chose these 12 specific programs from the more than 200 we have going on is three-fold: these are programs with high-dollar investment by the nation; and they also provide very increased capability to the soldier and they nest within our broad priorities within the strategy as well.”

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, which is a joint program between the Army and the Marine Corps, makes the list as a contributor to the joint combined arms maneuver mission. Currently, there are three commercial contractors competing to win the JLTV program contract. Those contractors include Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh Defense and AM General.

The Army plans to make a Milestone C decision and award a firm-fixed-price contract to a single vendor this year.  The award period would cover three years of low-rate initial production and five years of full-rate production.

While the Army plans to eventually buy around 50,000 JLTVs, the Marine Corps has plans for 5,500 of the vehicles.

Col. Michel M. Russell Sr., Army G-8 FD division chief for focused logistics said in light tactical vehicles, the Army looks for three primary components: payload, performance and protection. Those three characteristics together, he said, are referred to as “the iron triangle.”

“What JLTV does is it meets the capability gap that allows us to bring all three of those back into balance,” Russell said. “We gain all that back, and it’s deployable in all the different environments.”

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin describes its JLTV as the very best in protected mobility, giving soldiers and Marines the safe ride they deserve.  It boasts a 6-speed transmission and greater displacement than many V6 engines.  The company has been working with the Army and Marine Corps in a joint program since the mid 2000’s.  In 2012, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $65 million contract to participate in the engineering and manufacturing development phase.  Since then, it has delivered 22 JLTVs of all mission role variants.

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Oshkosh Defense

Oshkosh Defense, another contender for the contract, describes its JLTV as an all-terrain vehicle that will deliver next-generation performance.  It is designed to be a trusted solution for troops and is built with 97 years of know-how to keep ground operations moving.  Oshkosh Defense states it outfits its JLTV with the most advance suspension system known, able to tackle tough terrains.  It also boasts an advanced, integrated design proven to increase survivability.

General Dynamics and AM General

The General Dynamics and AM General JLTV team was recently awarded the JLTV Technology Demonstration Contract award at $45 million.  They claim the GTV JLTV will provide the U.S. Army and Marine Corps with a family of more survivable vehicles with greater protection, payload and mobility.  The venture states their JLTV design features a robust light-weight hybrid hull, semi-active suspension system, digital cockpit, and over 95 percent common components across the entire JLTV family of vehicles.

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Once a choice has been made between the three contractors, the first Army unit is not expected to be equipped until fiscal 2018, with fielding complete in fiscal 2022.

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