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LOCKHEED EXPECTED TO WIN USMC LIGHTWEIGHT PRIME MOVER

LOCKHEED MARTIN EXPECTED TO WIN USMC LIGHTWEIGHT PRIME MOVER CONTEST

04 Oct O5. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Wheeled Vehicle offering has been selected for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Lightweight Prime Mover requirement. The USMC is believed to be ordering 167 of the vehicles for an undisclosed price.

Originally contested by three contenders the Lockheed Martin TWV, (based on the HMT vehicle for which Lockheed purchased a licence in 2003), the Stewart & Stevenson Automotive Technik Pinzgauer and the Krauss-Maffei Mungo, an early casualty. BATTLESPACE understood that the LM vehicle had initial problems with travelling cross-country at speed during the trials. Unconfirmed reports suggested that one of the vehicles may have turned over due to oscillations with the advanced air suspension, Lockheed spokesperson Kathryn Hasse denied such reports. The Pinzgauer was believed to be the cheaper option but one advantage offered by the LM TWV was its power given by the Cummins engine across country negating the use for a driver-engaged diff-lock system; the Pinzgauer uses a Euro 3 VW 5 cylinder engine. A price of $360,000 per copy rumoured seems a huge price but no confirmation was given as to the actual price; this is based on the initial offerings of £250k per vehicle in the U.K.

One of the key roles for the vehicle is the ability to tow the lightweight M777 howitzer, also under consideration by the UK. Other roles envisaged are close weapon support carriers, general cargo and specialist applications. The vehicle needs to be be light enough at less than 10,000lbs (TWV claims 9000lbs) to fit in the V-22.

During a briefing at AUSA, Kathryn Hasse said that Lockheed Martin had purchased three vehicles from HMT, built by Supacat, two trials vehicles for the USMC and one for LM’s own use.

“We have re-engineered key elements of the original HMT design to improve stability and cross-country performance, “ Hasse told BATTLESPACE, “We have made changes in the top hamper, cap design and added additional features such as 60” fording capability, central tyre inflation (CTIF), frame modification for angle of approach and weight reduction. The LRIP numbers will be assembled by LM at its Owego plant using US components.”

“We have also been selected for the US Army’s Modelling and Simulation Program for the US Army’s UV requirement for the FTTS Program. Other developments we are looking at include Hybrid Drive, on-board power generation, better fuel efficiency and survivability to Level 3. In addition airportability is required for C-130, CH-47 and CH-55 aircraft,” she continued

Hasse would not be drawn on unconfirmed reports that the company had already supplied some 6×6 vehicles for specialist usage.

In the U.S. the next vehicle scheduled to replace the ageing HMMV vehicles of which there are currently 75000 in service is currently being evaluated between 2003 and 2009.

Denny Dillinger, CEO of Stewart & Stevenson, gave BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold a brief on the outcome of the FTTS initial projects. S&S was chosen for all programs, the MSV (13 tonnes with an 11 tonnes threshold) with Oshkosh, UV (3 tonnes threshold) with its ‘G’ Wagen offering against, AM General, International, and Lockheed Martin with a derivative of the HMT vehicle.

A Critical Design Review will took place in June after the submission of the simulations and a decision will be made 2 weeks later when 3-7 prototypes will be requested from the winners. S&S confirmed their selection for the Medium Tactical Vehicle requirement of the contest. There will be a trials ‘Rodeo’ in May of 06 to decide whether to downselect to one contractor or continue with three. On top of this there will be an annual rode taking place in January during which existing trucks such as Heavy A3, FMTV A2 and light vehicles will be trialed as well as the FTTS prototypes and other submissions from out side companies not selected under the

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