Joint Light Tactical Vehicle
Since 1985, eleven different versions of the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) have been in service. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is being developed by the Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the HMMWV. The Department of Defense (DoD) initiated the JLTV program to replace its aging fleet of the HMMWV. The purpose of this essay is to determine if the high cost of the JLTV should preclude it from replacing the HMMWV as outlined in the 2010 Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy. Because of the cost, an inability to meet joint requirements and the presence of feasible alternatives, the Department of Defense should not continue acquisition of the JLTV. The first problem with the JLTV is the cost.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is being developed by the Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), which has been in service since 1985. On October 28, 2008, awards were made for the JLTV Technology Development (TD) Phase to three industry teams: (1) BAE Systems, (2) the team of Lockheed Martin and General Tactical Vehicle, and (3) AM General and General Dynamics Land Systems. On January 26, 2012, the Army issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the JLTV’s Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The period of performance for EMD contracts was 27 months, and the overall EMD phase was scheduled to last 33 months. Vendors were required to provide 22 JLTV prototypes for testing 12 months after contract award. The target cost for the base vehicle was $250,000, excluding add-on armor and other kits. On August 22, 2012, the Army announced the award of three firm-fixed price JLTV EMD contracts totaling approximately $185 million. The three companies awarded the EMD contracts were AM General, LLC (South Bend, IN); Lockheed Martin Corporation (Grand Prairie, TX); and Oshkosh Corporation (Oshkosh, WI). On September 3, 2013, the Army began JLTV testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; Yuma, AZ; and Redstone Arsenal, AL. The Army planned to select a single vendor by 2015, with the first Army brigade being equipped with JLTVs by 2018. On August 25, 2015, it was announced the Army had awarded Oshkosh a $6.7 billion low rate initial production (LRIP) contract with eight options to procure the initial 16,901 vehicles for the Army and Marines. The JLTV is being produced in Oshkosh, WI.
In the end, in September 2011, the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee voted to cancel the Army and Marine Corps' Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in their version of the fiscal year 2012 defense bill (Munoz, 2011). This measure could have completely shut down efforts to replace a thirty year-old fleet of Humvees, loyal but potentially outmoded tactical wheeled vehicles. The Army's Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle program has been a project set to replace the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) family in the works for years. The project, however, continues to be stymied by budgetary constraints. Per-vehicle costs for the JLTV begin at $250,000 and are likely to climb, as Lockheed-Martin secured a preliminary contract for engineering, design, and development.