Editor's Note: After this column was published, Lockheed Martin issued the following statement:
After evaluating the data provided at our debrief, Lockheed Martin has filed a protest of the award decision on the JLTV program. We firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the program. Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s offer.
After years in development and testing by multiple contractors, the US Army and Marine Corps’ Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program is transitioning to production with the award of a $6.7 billion contract to Oshkosh Defense on August 25, 2015.
Designed to provide soldiers and marines with the optimum tactical vehicle balance between payload, performance and protection, the JLTVs are expected to replace approximately one third of each service’s oldest unarmored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs).
The Marine Corps will acquire 5,500 JLTVs while the Army anticipates the acquisition of 49,099 new platforms. This week’s award will provide the first 16,901 vehicles toward those totals.
The JLTV program emerged from a decade and a half of combat experience and a shared vision among services on the need for a new platform to fulfill an armored combat role while operating across the complete range of military operations and physical environments.
Physical manifestation of the JLTV concept began In October 2008 with the award of three JLTV Technology Development (TD) contracts to help further define requirements, reduce technology risk, and shorten the timeframe for subsequent system development. All three teams delivered prototype vehicle designs in May 2010 and testing of those vehicles was completed in June 2011.
Following some program structural adjustments, the government released its request for proposals for the JLTV Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase in late January 2012. After receiving responses from a half dozen contractor teams, the government awarded EMD contracts to three contractors in August of that year: AM General; Lockheed Martin; and Oshkosh Defense.
Each of the three contractor teams delivered 22 “full up” prototype vehicles under the EMD effort with those vehicles utilized as part of an intensive, 14-month competitive test.
Interestingly, Oshkosh Defense had not been one of the earlier TD phase contract recipients but instead focused on several years of independent research and development investments to help mold its JLTV solution.
Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) is slated to begin in the first quarter of FY’16 with Oshkosh beginning to deliver vehicles approximately 10 months later.
A Full Rate Production (FRP) decision is expected in FY’18.
The JLTV production contract awarded to Oshkosh includes a base contract award and eight option years, covering three years of LRIP and five years of FRP.
Initial Marine Corps operating capability is expected in FY’18 with Marine Corps fielding of all of its 5,500 JLTVs to be finished in FY’22. That fielding timeframe is driven in large part by the anticipated fielding of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) “1.2,” which is planned to begin at that time.
The Army anticipates having its first unit equipped in FY’18, with total Army procurement of its 49,099 vehicles slated to last until approximately 2040.