Why Would the Recent Developments of the JLTV Program Be Applicable to the DIV?
Full-rate production for the JLTV was pushed from an original schedule of December 2018 out to May this year due to a number of changes to the Humvee replacement. The Army decided to make a series of alterations as the result of soldier feedback, including a larger back window and the addition of a muffler. The approach was designed to minimize the cost and quantity of the vehicles that would need to be retrofitted, the vehicle’s program office told Defense News at the time. The decision to delay the full-rate production did not stop the service from beginning to field 300 of the new vehicles to the Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, making it the first unit equipped with the vehicle in April 2019.
The Pentagon’s joint light tactical vehicle program is viewed as a potential model for future acquisition efforts, as interest in the truck grows at home and abroad. The platform, known as the JLTV, is an Army-Marine Corps effort to replace a major portion of the services’ Humvee fleets. It was designed to offer troops greater protection than legacy trucks while providing more mobility than the up-armored Humvees and mine resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that were widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan. “JLTV better balances those requirements so that the joint force commander can make decisions based on where he needs to maneuver people — not based on the limitations of his wheeled vehicle fleet,” Army Col. Shane Fullmer, joint project manager for JLTV, said in June during a media day at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Affordability has been a key driver, he said. “You can achieve a lot of good performance at a very high cost. But the cost has to be affordable so that both the Marine Corps and the Army can afford a sufficient number of vehicles.” The services plan to buy about 55,000 of them. The trucks, which are being built by Oshkosh Defense, will not exceed the original cost target of $250,000 per unit in fiscal year 2011 dollars, Fullmer said. More than 200 trucks have already been delivered. The president’s fiscal year 2018 budget requested $1.14 billion to procure 2,777 more. A full-rate production decision is slated for early fiscal year 2019, and initial operating capability is expected in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, according to the JLTV joint program office. The previously planned IOC date was pushed back several months. But this was primarily due to program disruption resulting from a contract award protest, according to a Congressional Research Service report published in May titled, “Joint Light Tactical Vehicle: Background and Issues for Congress.” The JLTV program is widely seen as a major acquisition success story.
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 (CRS Insight IN11281). The Army planned to select a single vendor by 2015, with the first Army brigade being equipped with JLTVs by 2018.
All things considered, in this case, prototypes were built in the R&D phase, which allowed highrisk items to be tested and technology readiness levels evaluated. This eventually led to realistic requirements for the JLTV and ultimately a successful acquisition program. In addition, the collaborative relationship between the technology, requirements and acquisition community allowed the differing objectives of each group to be navigated along the way.
Charlie Gao, “Is the U.S. Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in Trouble?” The National Interest, February 15, 2020.
CRS Report R46216, The Army’s Modernization Strategy: Congressional Oversight Considerations, by Andrew Feickert and Brendan W. McGarry.
CRS Insight IN11281, New U.S. Marine Corps Force Design Initiatives, by Andrew Feickert