LIGHT VEHICLE FLEETS REORGANISE
By Julian Nettlefold
04 Jul 12. The Halls at Eurosatory and DVD were crammed full of new wheeled vehicles of every type, weight and description from heavily armoured battlefield vehicles to light strike vehicles, armoured, unarmoured or partly armoured and a myriad of utility vehicles.
This is exactly where the market was 30 years ago and gave buyers across the world a huge choice. This has two effects, one is that this choice allows buyers to negotiate on price, one Middle East Requirement has 43 companies bidding for 200 vehicles, and two it will stretch procurements and thus delay In Service dates and cause more costs to the buyer.
This gives sellers with low margins the ability to negotiate lower cost prices but raise these costs for service and support, a policy practiced by one European company. If buyers do not take the ‘Fleet Approach,’ as practiced for years in the civil market then they will have a myriad of different vehicles requiring different servicing and spares, thus increasing Through Life Costs. This effect is already happening in the USA he UK in particular where fleets of UOR vehicles purchased for a specialist in-theatre Requirement are now being brought back into core. This is already causing huge headaches for users with regard to Road Traffic Regulations and the size and weight of the vehicles coming back into core.
How many of these companies will we see at Eurosatory and DVD in 2014 and beyond? There were already some noticeable gaps at DVD such as TMV.
The ‘JLTV impact,’ was discussed by Scot Gourley in our U.S. Truck Update in our June issue.
For both the Army and the Marine Corps, the highest priority wheeled vehicle system remains the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), with fielding of the new system having significant impacts on service TWV fleets.
In the case of the Marine Corps, for example, the service anticipates keeping up-armored HMMWVs in its fleet through 2030, but plans to ‘draw down’ its HMMWV fleet from a current total of approximately 24,600 to approximately 18,500 vehicle platforms, while replacing 5,500 of the vehicles with new JLTV. The challenge in the Marine Corps plan is the stated need to obtain all 5,500 of its JLTVs by FY’22, at which point purchases will need to be scaled back in favor of planned procurement of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
Likewise, Army leaders also continue to stress the criticality of JLTV in future fleet plans.
As these pages go to press, the joint program is preparing to announce the award of “up to three” engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of JLTV. Companies and teams that have acknowledged proposal submissions include: BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman; General Tactical Vehicles (a joint venture between General Dynamics Land Systems and AM General); Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems; Navistar; Oshkosh Defense; and a separate entry from AM General LLC.
In addition to the near term program activities cited by the product managers, service planners are looking out beyond the force of 2020 at a broad range of future challenges, ranging from the projected fielding of approximately 23,000 JLTVs by 2025 to group obsolescence of the entire MRAP fleet beginning in 2028.
“We will not be able to buy entire fleets, we know that,” Tison concluded. “We’re going to have multiple buys. I think you’ll see more of that. We’re going to integrate more. We’re going to look at engineering change proposals, I think, more than ever. And we are going to continue to have to leverage industry to make the best use of our investment; use prototypes; make the RDT&E dollars work as best as they can; and then use the NIE [Network Integration Evaluation] and other processes to leverage the best bang for the buck. Because it is going to get more challenging.”
However it does not end there. The increase in IED use in Iraq and Afghanistan and