Thursday, 13 September 2012

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress

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) that have been in service since 1985.

On October 28, 2008, three 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.

Once testing was completed and technology requirements established, a full and open competition was expected to be conducted in the late summer of 2011 for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase; the Department of Defense (DOD) planned to award two contracts for the EMD phase, which was scheduled to last 24 months.

In February 2011, it was announced that the award of the EMD contract would be delayed until January or February 2012 because the Army changed requirements for the JLTV. DOD had planned to award two contracts for the EMD phase, which was scheduled to last 24 months, but instead proposed a 48-month-long EMD. There will be two JLTV variants—a Combat Tactical Vehicle (CTV) that can transport four passengers and carry 3,500 pounds and a Combat Support Vehicle (CSV) that can transport two passengers and carry 5,100 pounds.

On January 26, 2012, the Army issued the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the JLTV’s EMD phase. Up to three EMD contracts may be awarded, and contract award was scheduled for June 2012. The EMD phase will last 27 months, and vendors will be required to provide 22 prototypes for testing 12 months after contract award.

The target cost for the base vehicle is $250,000 excluding add-on armor and other kits. Reports suggest that due to an increased number of JLTV EMD phase competitors—up from three to six—the EMD contract award will be delayed until July 2012.

On August 22, 2012, the Army announced the award of three firm-fixed 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).

Australia is reportedly “not committed” to participating in the EMD phase, and the new RFP has no Australia-specific requirements—such as right-hand drive. Furthermore, the Australian Ministry of Defense (MOD) is said to be looking at a domestic variant of the JLTV, although they stated that they would continue to monitor the JLTV program.

The FY2013 Budget Request for JLTVs is $72.3 million for Army Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) and $44.5 million for Marine Corps RDT&E, for a program total of $116.8 million. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees as well as the House Appropriations Committee have recommended fully funding the Administration’s FY2013 JLTV Budget Request.

Potential issues for Congress include clarification of foreign participation in the JLTV program, given Australia’s apparent non-participation, and how the Army’s upcoming study to revise overall tactical wheeled vehicle requirements might affect the JLTV program. This report will be updated.

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