After years of design, development and testing the U.S. DoD issued the RFP for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in December last year. Conceived as the replacement for the venerable HMMV promising a one-for-one replacement for the approximately 150,000 vehicles now in service with the US Army and Marine Corps, the HMMV numbers have been cut to 50,000 at the top end tactical vehicle with another vehicle being developed to eventually replace other HMMV variants. Meanwhile the HMMV is the subject of a number of life extension opportunities presented by a number of companies in spite of the fact that the HMMV Recap Program was cancelled on 24 January 2012, for funding to be moved to the JLTV. But, given Sequestration and budgetary constraints, the JLTV numbers have dropped to a level, 55,000 for the US Army and Marines, which would still leave a fleet of at least 90,000 HMMVs of various ages and configurations requiring upgrades or replacement.
Background to JLTV Requirement
Released in 2005, JLTV design requirements included the following:
The JLTV will have two armor kits: the A-kit and a B-kit (which adds additional protection to the A-kit). It will also include an extra spall liner to minimize the perforation effects within a vehicle when the vehicle takes hostile fire.
‘The vehicle will be capable of traveling one terrain feature after having endured a single small caliber arms sized perforation to the fuel tank, engine oil reservoir, or coolant system. It will be able to run on two flat tires.’
The following companies and partnerships initially bid for the JLTV contract:
* Boeing, Textron and Millenworks
* General Dynamics and AM General (as ‘General Tactical Vehicles’)
* Force Protection Inc and DRS Technologies (officially rejected on 14 August 2008).
* BAE Systems and Navistar
* Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh Truck and Plasan
* Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems Land & Armaments Global Tactical Systems, Alcoa Defense and JWF Industries.
* Blackwater and Raytheon
On 29 October 2008, the Pentagon narrowed the field of vendors to the Lockheed Martin, General Tactical Vehicles and BAE Systems/Navistar teams to compete for the final version and contract for the JLTV. Each team were awarded contracts worth between $35.9 million and $45 million to begin the second phase of the program, which could ultimately be worth $20 billion or more. The Northrop Grumman/Oshkosh group contested the awards but, their protest was denied by the Government Accountability Office on 17 February 2009.
Australia signed an agreement in February 2009 to fund nine of the first 30 JLTV prototypes. While a final decision has yet to be made, the Australian Government is now pursuing the Hawkei a domestically developed vehicle through Thales-Australia, India became interested in the program in 2009. It is likely that the UK may opt for the US JLTV choice for the lower end of its MRV(P) Programme. There is a Requirement for a larger vehicle for Ambulance and other roles which could be met by Renault, NAVISTAR or Oshkosh. NAVISTAR supply the current US Army MRAP Ambulance.
As part of a cost-cutting measure, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform suggested cancelling the JLTV. Despite this, the program moved forward.
As of 28 March 2012, there were 6 proposals for the JLTV contract:
* BAE Systems Valanx
* General Tactical Vehicles JLTV Eagle
* Lockheed Martin JLTV
* Navistar Saratoga
* Oshkosh L-ATV
* AM General BRV-O
Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase
On 23 August 2012, the Army and Marine Corps selected the Lockheed Martin JLTV, the Oshkosh Defense L-ATV, and the AM General BRV-O as the winners of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the competition. The three companies were awarded a contract to build 22 prototype vehicles in 27 months to be judged by the services. Losing bidder Navistar filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the evaluation criteria on 31 August 2012; the company withdrew the protest on 4 September 2012.
On 26 June 2013, Lockheed Martin completed the last of 22 JLTVs produced for the EMD phase. On 8 August 2013, Oshkosh delivered its first L-ATV JLTV prototype to the Army for government testing following a successful vehicle inspection by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). The four-door multi-purpose variant and two-door utility variant were provided for evaluations. On 14 August 2013, both AM General and Lockheed delivered their 22 vehicles to the Army and Marine Corps to participate in a 14-month government evaluation and testing process.
On 27 August 2013, the Army and Marine Corps announced that full-scale testing of JLTV prototypes would begin the following week, with all three vendors having had 66 vehicles delivered. Each company delivered 22 vehicles and six trailers to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Previous testing had already put the vehicles through more than 400 ballistic and blast tests on armor testing samples, underbody blast testing, and more than 1,000 miles in shakedown testing. Soldiers from the Army Test and Evaluation Command and personnel from the Defense Department’s Office of Test and Evaluation would put the vehicles through realistic and rigorous field testing during 14 months of government performance testing. Testing was to be completed by FY 2015, with a production contract to be awarded to a single vendor for nearly 55,000 vehicles, with each vehicle coming off the assembly line not exceeding $250,000. On 3 September 2013, full-pace, full-scope JLTV testing began at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Yuma, and Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
On 1 October 2013, the Defense Department Inspector General launched a year-long audit of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. It was one of about a dozen acquisition programs outlined in the IG’s FY 2014 ‘audit plan.’ The audit was to determine whether Army and Marine officials were overseeing and managing the program effectively before low-rate production begins. A June 2013 report by the Congressional Research Service estimated the program cost at $23 billion, or $400,000 per vehicle; military leaders contend the unit cost will be $250,000. With fiscal pressures, program efforts are being challenged and focus is being put into oversight. On 5 January 2012, TACOM announced that the program had entered the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase; EMD contracts were awarded on 23 August 2012. Planned orders are now 50,000 vehicles for the U.S. Army and 5,000 for the Marines.
In November 2014 all three competitors’ vehicles completed a crucial series of military tests. All three have also completed a government Production Readiness Review to certify their ability to mass-produce their vehicle.
On December 12th Defense News reported that after releasing several draft requests for proposals for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the US Army released a final version on Friday, clearing the way for contenders AM General, Lockheed Martin and Oshkosh Defense to submit proposals. After a Milestone C decision and award of a firm-fixed-price contract to a single vendor near the end of fiscal 2015, the award period will cover three years of low rate initial production and five years of full rate production, for a total of 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. A production award is expected in late fiscal 2015. The first Army unit is expected to be equipped in fiscal 2018; The Marines anticipate an initial operating capability in fiscal 2018 with its fielding complete in fiscal 2022.
Army procurement will last until approximately 2040 and replace a significant portion of the Army’s legacy light tactical vehicle fleet with 49,099 new vehicles across four configurations: general purpose, heavy gun carrier, close combat weapons carrier and a utility vehicle.
On Dec. 2, the JLTV joint program office posted a third draft RFP, which revised source selection criteria for the production phases and set a value for a company offering the data rights to their offering. The service set a threshold price for the data package of $511 million above which contractors will see no effect on their rating, as described in the last draft and first reported by Inside the Army.
The final RFP had no substantial changes from previous drafts, according to the program office, which billed the final solicitation as, ‘clarifying expectations about the delivery of specific requirements, while still allowing vendors to propose tradable options in some areas.’
“This RFP maintains the program’s longstanding focus on affordability and stable requirements to obtain the best value for the taxpayer and America’s soldiers and marines,” Scott Davis, the Army’s program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, said in the statement.
The solicitation follows Army and Marine Corps limited user testing for prototype vehicles, part of engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contracts, awarded to the three companies in 2012.Each company delivered 22 vehicles and six trailers for the most recent test phase, which included ongoing reliability, armor and blast testing. The ongoing limited user test involved soldier and Marine participation.
The Competitors Vehicles In Detail
The AM General JLTV vehicle offering is the BRV-O (Blast-Resistant Vehicle – Off Road).
AM General’s new Blast-Resistant Vehicle – Off Road (BRV-O) is a highly mobile and versatile platform that meets or exceeds 100 percent of the government’s program evaluation criteria including protection, performance, payload, transportability, reliability and affordability. This AM General design can be readily adapted to future changes in U.S. military missions, enemy threats and new protection technologies as they emerge.
The first trial variant of the BRV-O AM General is equipped with armored glass open top turret which can be armed with 7.62 or 12.7 mm machine or automatic grenade launcher. This turret provides a 360° protection around the gunner position and increase the view on the battlefield without compromising safety.
Design and protection
The general layout of the BRV-O AM General vehicle is standard with the engine at the front, a crew compartment in the centre and a cargo area at the rear. BRV-O features a crew capsule and modular armor already proven effective in government-supervised blast testing. This AM General design can be readily adapted to future changes in U.S. military missions, enemy threats and new protection technologies as they emerge. The crew compartment is equipped at the front with two large bullet-proof window. There are two doors to each side of the hull with one small bullet-proof window on the upper part. To increase the protection of the BRV-O, it can be fitted with modular armour solutions. The BRV-O has a payload of 1,590 kg (3,500 pounds) to carry C4ISR and weapon systems, soldiers, and their gear without sacrificing performance or transportability.
The BRV-O AM General also features a lightweight, fuel efficient, high performance engine and a self-levelling suspension system. Powerpack and suspension of BRV-O AM General provide high performance for off-road-mobility. The BRV-O is motorized with a lightweight Optimizer 3200 diesel engine coupled to a six-speed transmission.
The BRV-O AM General is equipped with a C4ISR backbone with open-standard networked architecture and clustered super-computing power, and other advanced components. The BRV-O is readily deployable by air, land and sea with 3,500- pound (1,600 kg) payload.
As the ‘new boy on the block’ with no established light vehicle expertise of any substance in 2006, Lockheed’s progression to the final three in the JLTV Competition has been nothing more than remarkable. In January 2006 Lockheed announced the purchase of HMT vehicles the designer of the Supacat Jackal vehicle, thus acquiring the IP for the drive train and suspension which it licensed to Supacat. This purchase formed the engineering basis of Lockheed’s entry into the light tactical vehicle market. This announcement was a major scoop for BATTLESPACE!
Lockheed’s JLTV Team, part of Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business, has been ably guided by Kathryn Hasse for many years. Quietly unassuming but with a keen attention to details and highly approachable, Kathryn deserves huge credit for the management of the JLTV bid from fruition to the final RFP in December 2014.
“The Lockheed Martin JLTV Team received the Request for Proposal (RFP) in December, and is actively working on our final response, which is due February 10,” said Kathryn Hasse, director – JLTV at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our goal is to return a proposal to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps that conclusively proves that our JLTV Team will deliver the most capable, best value vehicle at the right price. We are very pleased with the performance of our JLTVs during EMD testing, and are confident that our vehicle will be selected to restore protected mobility to our Soldiers and Marines.”
Designed from the ground up to be a combat vehicle and supplement or replace the existing fleet of Army and Marine Corps Humvees, the Lockheed Martin JLTV offers outstanding overall capability while remaining affordable.
Formed in 2005, the Lockheed Martin JLTV team draws from more than three decades of experience in vehicle concept design, development, production and sustainment across a range of products, from manned to unmanned ground systems. Lockheed Martin’s vehicles are the bridge between rugged and high-tech, offering proven and intelligent capabilities for the end user.
The vehicle’s capabilities include:
* Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and design agent, providing systems engineering, platform integration, design expertise, and program and supply chain management.
* BAE Systems brings its expertise in advanced armor solutions and high-volume manufacturing, along with years of experience delivering battle-proven systems.
* Tier 1 Suppliers include Allison Transmission, Cummins Engine, L-3 Combat Propulsion Systems, Meritor Defense, Robert Bosch LLC and Vehma International of America.
The Technology and Development (TD) phase helped the U.S. military to identify possible risks and establish a set of requirements prior to entering the Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase of the JLTV program. After the TD phase, the Lockheed Martin team optimized its design for EMD, creating a lighter, stronger and more efficient vehicle system through the use of digital engineering analysis, virtual design builds, component tests and physical stress testing. Team member BAE systems also brought their expertise in high-volume assembly to help develop the production process verified by the virtual design build.
Through rigorous testing and ongoing improvement, Lockheed Martin is delivering the best JLTV solution to protect the men and women who go into harm’s way to defend our freedom.
The vehicle’s capabilities include:
* Crew Protection: Government tests in the program’s Technology Demonstration phase showed the Lockheed Martin JLTV exceeds threshold requirements for force protection in blast tests, and provides protection levels similar to much heavier and less mobile Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
* Best Value: The JLTV provides the most capability while staying within the program’s target cost with room for sufficient margin. Superior fuel efficiency, high reliability, and low logistical support costs reduce the total lifecycle cost of the vehicle.
* Fuel Efficiency: A proven power train comprising a Cummins turbodiesel engine and Allison transmission contribute to tremendous improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced operating costs compared to existing general-purpose vehicles.
* Transportability: With a focus on remaining light, the Lockheed Martin team removed more than 40 percent of its original weight. The JLTV is light enough for CH-47 and CH-53 lift.
* Power Generation: The Lockheed Martin team’s JLTV power is scalable to ~75kW, which significantly exceeds the Government’s required minimum power generation of 10 kilowatts.
* Ride Quality: The JLTV covers more ground faster, and with less road shock and vibration for greatly improved crew comfort, protection of vital electronics systems, and high speed driving in off-road conditions.
* Suspension System: The Meritor ProTecTM adjustable air suspension underpinning the Lockheed Martin JLTV provides significant enhancements to handling and ride quality, decreasing fatigue and increasing the crew’s combat effectiveness, and enabling multiple transport options.
“Oshkosh Defense is ready for JLTV production,” said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. “Based on my work with the Department of Defense, it’s clear that there is no substitute for experience when it comes to designing, testing, manufacturing and sustaining new military equipment. Lack of experience equates to risk for the program and the troops who depend on the equipment. We are very confident about producing high quality JLTVs on-schedule and on-budget because no other OEM has launched more successful tactical wheeled vehicle production programs than Oshkosh.”
As demonstrated at the PRR and past Government contract reviews for the JLTV program, Oshkosh is ready to produce world class JLTVs on its established production line. In 2013, the company produced its JLTV EMD prototypes on an active and proven production line, right alongside its MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV), Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) and other platforms. Using lean processes, flexible assembly lines, an experienced workforce and rigorous quality checks, Oshkosh has successfully delivered a full range of military vehicles for decades.
The Oshkosh L-ATV’s lightweight, compact design leverages 10 years of research and development, as well as lessons from decades of field operating experience. L-ATV merges key design elements of highly survivable combat vehicles and off-road tactical vehicles to operate in a range of threat levels and terrains including:
* The Oshkosh TAK-4i™ intelligent independent suspension system is the next generation of the world’s most advanced, combat-proven suspension system, TAK-4®. The TAK-4i system provides Warfighters with unprecedented maneuverability and a smoother ride to reduce fatigue after traveling the world’s toughest terrains.
* The Oshkosh Core1080™ crew protection system is a multi-faceted, fully-integrated survivability system that applies advanced components and materials to save lives. The Core1080 approach has been proven on multiple vehicle platforms and credited for saving thousands of troops’ lives over the past decade during missions outside-the-wire.
* Whether traveling over hazardous terrain or unpaved roads, the L-ATV’s digitally-controlled engine maintains steady, fuel-efficient power without sacrificing the acceleration and cruising speed that Soldiers and Marines need in high-threat environments. The vehicle’s power-to-weight ratio is optimized to provide superior acceleration, mobility and speed on grade capability.
* L-ATV’s Net Ready systems integration brings critical network and computing capabilities to a broader range of ground missions. L-ATV’s advantage is based on a unique combination of vehicle OEM expertise and extensive in-house C4 and systems capabilities at Oshkosh. L-ATV was designed from day one as a ‘tactical vehicle system’ that optimizes the user experience and ergonomics while maximizing overall system performance.
The advent of the IED war in Iraq and Afghanistan changed the shape of the light vehicle fleet for ever. World Armies had relied on soft skinned Land Rovers, HMMVs and other marques such as the Toyota Hi-Lux for years without suffering large loss of life,
That all changed with the IED war and soft skinned vehicles were phased out from the battlefield to be replaced by heavily armoured variants or, in the case of the Land Rover, phased out entirely due to the loss of life in the Land Rover SNATCH vehicles, originally designed for anti-terrorist use in Northern Ireland.
The US started a huge multi-billion Mine Resistant Ambush protected (MRAP) Programme which resulted in the purchase of a fleet of vehicles including the Oshkosh M-ATV, the NAVISTAR MAXPRO, the BAE Systems Caiman and RG34, the Force Protection Cougar and Buffalo and the General Dynamics RG31, together with armour upgrade to the whole fleet of trucks. Latterly these vehicles were upgraded for the more arduous Afghan terrain and the L-ATV conceived by Oshkosh as a sister vehicle for the M-ATV. The UK embarked on similar upgrade Programmes.
The IED threat had obvious weight ramifications for the JLTV Program with the requirement for increased under body blast protection which would require strengthen suspension and more cost. As we said above, on 1 October 2013, the Defense Department Inspector General the GAO looked at the JLTV Program which was spiralling out of control at an unaffordable $400,000 per vehicle and put a ceiling of $250,000 per vehicle with certain trade-offs being made to keep the program alive.
Now, with the winner take all expected to be announced at the end of Fiscal 2015, the whole light vehicle market will change in the US and this change will reverberate around the whole world.
If Lockheed wins, it will create a whole new world contender or light vehicles, using its purchasing power and world reach, Lockheed will quickly establish itself in the world market with countries such as the UK being first on the shopping list. If Oshkosh wins it will reinforce the Company’s expertise in MRAP vehicles with the M-ATV already selling across the world. If AM General wins it will enable a seamless transition of existing HMMV users to the new JLTV. If AM General loses it will have to rely on existing HMMV sales and future upgrades as will Oshkosh for the M-ATV.
The JLTV selection will not be the end of the story as there are still huge legacy fleets of HMMVs and Land Rovers and other light vehicles across the world. Land Rover Defender production ends this year with the possibility of a plant being established somewhere else in the world.
So, await news of the next competition for replacement of the soft skinned fleets of vehicles around the world and the development of the ‘fast and furious’ lighter armoured fleets of vehicles for rapid reaction use already under consideration in the Netherlands, UK, USA and Australia.
(Sources: Defense News, Wikipedia)