Moving Forward With Tactical Vehicles

Moving Forward With Tactical Vehicles

Moving Forward With Tactical Vehicles

Published in the May 2012 issue of Defense Technology International.

After years of debate over a replacement for the High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, it appears that the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is finally moving toward a prototype and testing phase that could result in production orders from the U.S. Army and Marine Corps for more than 55,000 vehicles.

A final requirements document, issued in January, states that two variants will be built. The Combat Tactical Vehicle (CTV) will seat four and carry 3,500 lb., while the Combat Support Vehicle (CSV) will carry two troops and transport 5,100 lb. There will be two armor configurations: the basic protection package as well as an add-on kit; and one for multiple missions. A third variant that would have been a six-seat infantry carrier with a mid-weight payload has been scrapped.

Six bids for the JLTV were submitted at the end of March for the 27-month engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase contract. The Army is expected to issue three awards in June, each worth up to $65 million. Contractors will have 12 months to build and deliver 20 prototypes for government testing, which will last another 15 months. The decision to begin full-scale production is expected in the second quarter of fiscal 2015, with actual production to start in 2016.

In an era of declining defense budgets, it’s no surprise that the competition for one of the last remaining major vehicle modernization contracts is fierce. The JLTV program is expected to cost well over $10 billion, though some put that figure as high as $70 billion, depending on per-unit cost and the number of vehicles ordered.

A joint venture between the Army and Marine Corps, the JLTV is expected to provide better protection for passengers and better payload capacity than the Humvee, while retaining mobility and reducing overall weight. The Army intends to purchase at least 50,000, while the Marine Corps is expected to acquire 5,500 vehicles, though final numbers will depend on cost.

The Humvee was done in by the effectiveness of improvised explosive devices (IED) and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though it has been the primary tactical vehicle for the Army and Marine Corps for 25 years, it was unable to withstand these threats.

At a March 27 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Lennox, Army deputy chief of staff, explained that the vehicle can no longer be used off-base. “The Humvee . . . is incapable of going off the forward operating base,” he said. “It doesn’t provide protection for soldiers today.”

Read more at Defense Technology International.