Winsonsin-based Oshkosh Corp. beat out two other defense contractor giants in a bid for a major contract to build the vehicle that will eventually replace the acclaimed, but aging fleet of Humvees.
The contract — which could eventually be worth $30 billion or more — is one of the largest awarded by the Army in years.
For the Army — Oshkosh will build nearly 50,000 of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which is considered a significant advancement over the Humvee. The company will also build about 5,500 JLTV’s for the Marine Corps.
The new design is a recognition of the types of wars the Pentagon has been fighting. The vehicles are “delivering major improvements in protected mobility for soldiers,” said Army officials.
Unlike the Humvees, the JLTV would have the protective armor of a tank but the ‘fleet-footed’ mobility of a Jeep. Although the Humvee will be around for years, it is slated to be phased out, according to officials.
As casualties caused by roadside bombs, or IEDs, climbed in Iraq and Afghanistan, “the Pentagon moved quickly to armor the Humvees and procure the more-heavily armored Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, also manufactured by Oshkosh.”
President of Oshkosh Defense said, “Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer.”
Oshkosh beat out Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, and AM General, the manufacturer of the Humvee, for this major military contract.
The initial contract awarded Tuesday is for $6.7 billion for 17,000 vehicles, according to the Washington Post. “Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, and the Army would have its first unit equipped with the vehicles in 2018,” the Post reported.
Many have asked if there could one day be a commercial version of the JLTV. Oshkosh’s chief executive said he would love it if the company could build one, but added, “this one would be a little bit difficult to get into someone’s garage.”