Lockheed Martin, AM General and Oshkosh Defense are producing and preparing their Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototypes for the final test, scheduled to begin in August 2013. three competitors will enter the race with 66 vehicles, only one will cross the finish line to win the coveted production order for the US Army and Marine Corps. According to the Army, the goal at the end of the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) Phase is for the Army and Marines to down-select to a single vendor and move into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) by 2015. Current plans then call for three years of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), followed by five years of full rate production resulting in incremental delivery of the JLTV. At present the Army plans to buy about 20,000 vehicles while the Marine Corps will suffice in 850, potentially deferring their first buy to 2020.
Oshkosh Defense has already completed the production of 22 vehicles for the government tests. The company has recently demonstrated the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (LATV) it is proposing for the JLTV at the military’s severe off-road track (SORT). According to Oshkosh, the LATV went through the tough obstacle course without fail. The SORT located at the 395-acre Transportation Demonstration Support Area (TDSA) at Quantico gives the military and industry partners an opportunity to get a quick, informal assessment of real-world, off-road performance. The course includes several obstacles designed to demonstrate vehicle capabilities on the rugged terrain, including hills with steep inclines, a staggered rock climb, log crawl.
The JLTV demonstration was one of the recent events taking place at the Quantico SORT recently. “TDSA is a perfect venue to host the JLTV capability demonstration, due to its proximity to the Pentagon and the nation’s capital,” said Dave Branham, congressional and public affairs officer for Program Executive Office Land Systems. “The site affords the opportunity for both senior Defense Department leadership and congressional members and staff to engage with the competing JLTV prime vendors and view their static displays, and ride in the prototype vehicles to experience some of the capabilities JLTV will provide to the joint warfighter.”
AM General Vice President, Business Development and Program Management, Chris Vanslager said that during the two week JPO event his team successfully demonstrated its game changing improvements in vehicle survivability, affordability, sustainability, transportability, versatility, agility and safety.
Oshkosh said it has completed the manufacturing of 22 prototypes under the JLTV EMD phase. The company announced the vehicles were built on an active manufacturing line by a highly-skilled Oshkosh workforce using Lean processes and a proven quality management system. “It was amazing to see the first JLTV prototype make its way down a warm assembly line, start right up and drive off the line – as if we’ve been making them for years,” said John Bryant, senior vice president of Defense Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “Our truck’s performance at the JLTV demonstration reflects a deep commitment to our troops and a true understanding of the critical role this vehicle will play in protecting them.” These prototypes will be delivered to the government in August 2013. The 22 prototypes include both the 4-door multi-purpose variant and the 2-door utility variant.“Experience has taught us that the very nature of warfare has changed – and the JLTV program is addressing the fact that our troops need a light, protected vehicle that can perform on any number of future battlefields with unpredictable conditions and threats,”
AM General has also been producing its Blast Resistant Vehicle – Off road (BRV-O) JLTV prototypes on an active production line, the company has aligned its Light Tactical Vehicle Assembly Line to produce the BRV-O. The first prototype have already been completed in early June for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) government testing. As the BRV-O JLTVs leave the LTVAL at the Military Assembly Plant, they will receive additional “mission packages” some provided by AM General and others as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), to convert each base vehicle into a specific mission package configuration such as the Heavy Guns Carrier. Then each vehicle undergoes AM General break-in and shake-down testing before delivery to the military.
The assembly line at AM General’s Military Assembly Plant is dedicated to light tactical vehicles and is capable of producing different vehicles, models, configurations and paint schemes at the same time. The company often has done so in manufacturing HMMWVs for U.S. and foreign military customers while earning a record of delivering reliable and versatile vehicles on time and on budget. As one of the three competitors, AM General is building 22 BRV-Os for delivery in August and subsequent government testing in the EMD phase.”A measure of the high quality level of the BRV-O engineering and manufacturing was recently displayed when the weight of the first eight BRV-O vehicles validated the design weight.” AM General Vice President of Business Development and Program Management Chris Vanslager said, “Light tactical vehicles are in our DNA, and it shows in the focus, excitement and pride all along the assembly line.”
The vehicles currently being produced will include a 4-seat variant Combat Tactical Vehicle that supports three different mission package configurations and a 2-seat variant Combat Support Vehicle that supports a utility mission package configuration for different mission roles across the full spectrum of military operations.
The third company selected to develop prototypes for the EMD phase is Lockheed Martin. In December 2012 the company’s designs have passed the government successfully completed a top-to-bottom government design understanding review, in preparation for the production of 22 prototypes currently underway. Through this three-day review the government assessed all the elements the manufacturer planned to use through the production, confirming the overall maturity and requirements compliance. In refining its EMD design, the Lockheed Martin team optimized a JLTV model already proven in government testing. The production-enhanced JLTV maintains the proven force protection, transportability and reliability of the earlier Technology Demonstration model, while significantly reducing weight and cost. “Our JLTV is affordable both to buy and to operate.” Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control said, “It provides proven performance with room to upgrade capabilities as required and is ready for production.”
The JLTV EMD models developed by Lockheed Martin also participated in the event. “During the two-week event, we had the opportunity to receive direct feedback from the customer, which will help us refine our design to meet the specific needs of the Soldiers and Marines whose lives will depend on this vehicle.” a Lockheed martin spokesperson said, “The high levels of dependability that characterized our Technology Demonstration vehicles are now becoming apparent in our EMD vehicles. EMD break-in testing has revealed no significant reliability issues, and our vehicle ran without any maintenance required throughout the two weeks of hard use at Quantico.”