Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oshkosh Selected to Build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for the Army and Marine Corps

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army awarded the Oshkosh Corp. a firm fixed price production contract for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program. The total contract value, including all options is $6.75 billion.

JLTV is an Army-led, joint acquisition program with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) intended to close an existing gap in each services’ light tactical vehicle fleet.

“I am tremendously proud of the JLTV program team,” said Heidi Shyu, the assistant secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology). ““Working with industry, they are delivering major improvements in protected mobility for Soldiers and have succeeded in executing a program that remains on-budget and on-schedule.”“

The Army selected Oshkosh from three competing firms participating in the program’s engineering and manufacturing development phase, which began in 2012 and concluded earlier this year. Each vendor delivered 22 prototype vehicles as part of JLTV development, which were utilized as part of an intensive, 14-month competitive test.

“With America’s Soldiers and Marines in mind, the program team successfully met both services’ requirements for affordable, achievable capability advancements that will make a true difference,” said Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition). “Today’s award brings us a step closer to delivering a flexible vehicle that balances the payload, performance, and protection critical in the operating environments of today and tomorrow.”

Low-Rate Initial Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. The Army and Marine Corps will procure approximately 17,000 vehicles under this initial contract, with a decision on full rate production by the department expected in fiscal 2018. Procurement of 5,500 USMC vehicles are front-loaded into the JLTV production plan. Initial USMC operating capability is expected in fiscal 2018 with fielding to the Marine Corps complete in fiscal 2022.

The Army anticipates having its first unit equipped in fiscal 2018. Army procurement will last until approximately 2040 and replace a significant portion of the Army’s legacy light tactical vehicle fleet with 49,099 new vehicles.

JLTV manufacturing will be performed in Oshkosh, with deliveries beginning 10 months after award. A full-rate production decision is expected in fiscal 2018. JLTV remains a priority modernization effort for the Army and USMC.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Requirements Integration and the History of MRAPS

The Army procured the MRAP in response to urgent warfighter requests for a highly survivable and mobile multi-mission vehicle, which was needed to counter evolving Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP), underbody mines, and small arms threats.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) family of vehicles is a success story of rapid equipping with which most Soldiers and Army Civilians are familiar. Between 2005 and 2009, the Department of Defense quickly procured and allocated approximately 21,000 MRAPs and Route Clearing/Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) vehicles for the Army in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This rapid acquisition and fielding was in response to urgent warfighter requests for a highly survivable and mobile multi-mission vehicle, which was needed to counter evolving Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP), underbody mines, and small arms threats. What most Soldiers and civilians do not know is how the Army identified the requirements that resulted in the expedited acquisition of these 21,000 trucks.

In a November, 2005 meeting with Maj. Gen. David Fastabend -- a previous deputy director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) – Brig. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, then-Director of ARICIC's Requirements Integration Directorate (RID), and his deputy Mr. Ed Mazzanti, were presented messages from commanders in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Addressed to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Commanding General and Army senior leaders, those messages highlighted that threats to the Army tactical vehicle fleet had increased significantly due to the proliferation of IEDs. Specifically, they noted that the devices were being planted and detonated by the insurgency in highly adaptive ways.

These commanders uniformly stated that the inadequacy of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet had become apparent – even with the addition of up-armor kits. At that time, 63 percent of the fatalities and casualties in Iraq and 41percent in Afghanistan were the result of IED attacks. At the conclusion of the discussion, Maj. Gen. Fastabend directed RID to act as the lead in developing a TRADOC-wide task force to identify capability gaps, as well as isolate and assess ongoing capability solutions to protect U.S. forces from IEDs. He emphasized that this was not a routine development activity, and the timeline was constrained to months, and not years.

Three days after the initial meeting, the TRADOC Commander signed a directive establishing the Comprehensive Force Protection Initiative (CFPI). RID had led the drafting, staffing, and planning for a three-phase effort that included the participation of the Infantry Center; Armor Center; Maneuver Support Center; Combined Arms Support Command; Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM); and the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). Spearheaded by RID's Accelerated Capability Division, the CFPI was directed to "cast the net widely for existing commercial, government, and mature prototype solutions – including off-shore sources." CFPI was a primary duty for all participants and was scheduled to provide Army leadership with recommendations five months later in April 2006.

After analyzing the capability gaps, RID led a follow-on CFPI phase to define the MRAP vulnerability and survivability criteria. Essential to this effort was the request for the physical and physics parameters associated with how mines kill vehicles and their occupants. Isolation of this information turned out to be pivotal. The last phase was a CFPI solution demonstration led by the U.S. Army Armor Center (USAARMC) at Ft. Knox, Kentucky in March 2006. The demonstrations involved 15 commercially manufactured vehicles and prototypes, provided and operated at no cost by the vendors. The analytical results obtained from this multiple task demonstration by industry participants (including candidates from South Africa and Europe) to the Army, TRADOC, and the CFPI helped shape the exact definition of what Soldiers needed. This data informed the Key Performance Parameters and Key System Attributes of the MRAP accelerated acquisition strategy.

Based upon the CFPI insights, successive RID Directors sought every opportunity to press for the Army to pursue a survivable replacement for the up-armored HMMVW. RID leadership drafted the Operational Needs Statement that was used by the U.S. Army Central Command to define the requirement for 17,700 MRAPS. The CFPI results and recommendations were also provided to Army and Marine Corps leadership in the summer of 2006. In August 2006, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) moved forward with the MRAP acquisition, soon followed by the Army decision to partner with the USMC in building and buying the MRAP. RID leadership participated with the Navy Program Manager for MRAP to interject CFPI generated parameters into the Request for Proposals from industry. Mr. Ed Mazzanti, the RID Deputy, was also the Army representative in the 2007 Source Selection Advisory Committee.

Finally, in January 2008, RID provided the senior Army member of the In-Theater Operational Assessment of MRAPS flowing into the Iraq theater. Based on that team's assessment that a more maneuverable variant was required for urban environments and canal zones outside Baghdad, then-RID Director Brig. Gen. Pete Palmer strongly advocated a more tactically mobile MRAP vehicle. RID personnel participated in the development of specifications for the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (MATV), and Ed Mazzanti served as a member of the MATV Source Selection Advisory Committee. Today, MATVs provide Soldiers protected mobility across various types of terrain.

Since 2005, the leadership of the Department of Defense has made the provision of MRAP vehicles- and particularly servicemember survivability -- the most urgent department requirement. Speed of delivery drove the decision to use six MRAP vendors to produce 25 variants. Logistics and sustainment attributes were intentionally traded in order to rush delivery. Rather than take years to develop the optimum vehicle solution using the traditional acquisition model, MRAP capabilities were rapidly developed, fielded, and improved in a spiral approach to respond to evolving threats. The result was innumerable lives saved.

After the conclusion of OIF and the ongoing retrograde strategy for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the U.S. Army is now in the process of analyzing what to retain and divest of the remaining MRAPs. Given projected fiscal constraints, the Army cannot afford to upgrade or sustain approximately 21,000 MRAPs. Thus, the Army plans to retain around 11,500 MRAPs and Route Clearing/EOD vehicles. The decision to retain these MRAPs resulted from a detailed analysis of projected user requirements, vehicle mission roles, vehicle logistics commonality, and sustainment costs, with the goal of balancing risk, capabilities and affordability. In this and earlier related efforts, RID is proud of its participation in the eight-year evolution of the MRAP as an accelerated response to an urgent requirement for the joint force.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

HMMWV Alternatives

The army has purchased a purpose-built armored car, the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle in limited numbers for use by the United States Army Military Police Corps. In 2007, the Marine Corps announced an intention to replace all HMMWVs in Iraq with MRAPs due to high loss rates, and issued contracts for the purchase of several thousand of these vehicles, which include the International MaxxPro, MATV, the BAE OMC RG-31, the BAE RG-33 and Caiman, and the Force Protection Cougar, which have been deployed primarily for mine clearing duties. Heavier models of infantry mobility vehicles (IMV) can also be used for patrol vehicles. The Maxxpro Line has been shown to have the highest rate of vehicle rollover accidents to its very high center of gravity and immense weight. The massive weight of these vehicles combined with their high center of gravity also greatly reduces their utility in off road situations versus the HMMWV which was the primary cause for the push for the M-ATV to be developed quickly. 

Humvee replacement process The Humvee replacement process, now being undertaken by the U. S. military, is focused on interim replacement with MRAPs and long-term replacement with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The HMMWV has evolved several times since its introduction, and is now used in tactical roles for which it was never originally intended. The military is pursuing several initiatives to replace it, both in the short and long terms. The short term replacement efforts utilize commercial off-the-shelf vehicles as part of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) program. These vehicles are procured to replace Humvees in combat theaters. The long term replacement for the Humvee is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle which is designed from the ground up. The Future Tactical Truck Systems (FTTS) program was initiated to make an analysis of potential requirements for a Humvee replacement. Various prototype vehicles such as the Millen Works Light Utility Vehicle, and the ULTRA AP have been constructed as part of these efforts. 

The U. S. Marine Corps issued a request for proposals (RFP) in 2013 for its Humvee sustainment modification initiative to upgrade 6,700 expanded capacity vehicles (ECVs). The Marines plan to field the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, but do not have enough funding to completely replace all Humvees, so they decided to continue sustaining their fleet. Key areas of improvement include the suspension, engine, and transmission. Upgrades to the suspension would reduce the amount of force transferred to the chassis, lowering operation and maintenance costs. Additionally, upgrades to the engine and transmission would help to make the vehicles more fuel efficient, and enhancements to the cooling system will better prevent overheating. The Marine Corps is also looking at incorporating a central tire inflation system to allow for reduced tire pressures during off-road use to improve mobility and ride quality. They are also seeking to increase the underbody survivability. Testing of upgraded Humvees will occur in 2014, with production and installation occurring from 2015 through 2018. 

Older A2 series Humvees make up half the current fleet, and 4,000 are to be disposed of through foreign military sales and transfers. By 2017, the Marines’ light tactical vehicle fleet is to consist of 3,500 A2 series Humvees, 9,500 ECV Humvees, and 5,500 JLTVs, with 18,500 vehicles in total. Humvees in service with the Marine Corps will be upgraded through 2030. Oshkosh Corporation is offering Humvee upgrades to the Marine Corps in addition to its JLTV offering. Oshkosh has developed modular and scalable Humvee upgrade solutions, providing varying levels of capabilities at a range of price points, that can be provided individually or as complete solutions for upgrading all critical vehicle systems. Their approach addresses requirements for engine and powertrain, suspension, driveline, hubs and brakes, frame and hull, electrical, cooling, and auxiliary automotive improvements. The TAK-4 independent suspension system delivers 70 percent off-road profile capability, improved ride quality, and a 40 percent increase in maximum speed. It also gives greater whole vehicle durability, a restored 2,500-pound payload capacity, and a restored ground clearance of 17 inches. Oshkosh also can deliver a modern engine option that's more powerful than the Humvee's stock engine and provides increased fuel efficiency. The U. S. Army and Marine Corps have vowed commitment to buying nearly 55,000 JLTVs even in the face of sequestration cuts. This level of support is given while major acquisition programs like the Ground Combat Vehicle were in danger of cuts (and eventually cancelled), which potentially meant the Army favored replacing Humvees more than the M2 Bradley. How many light vehicles that will need to be reduced are still being determined, but they are hoped to direct the effects to the existing Humvee fleet. 

In October 2014, Northrop Grumman unveiled a new chassis and power train for the Humvee that would combine the mobility and Payload capabilities of original vehicle variants while maintaining the protection levels of up-armored versions. During operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the threat of IEDs and close-range combat prompted the addition of armor to Humvees to increase protection, but it was heavy which decreased fuel economy and mobility and increased stress on the chassis. Lower fuel efficiency increased the need for tanker trucks to supply them, threatening logistics through more traffic on vulnerable roads. The new chassis increases fuel efficiency to 16-18 miles per gallon and allows the vehicle to accelerate to over 60 mph (97 km/h) in 22 seconds. Installation can be done through removing the six attachment bolts and the electrical connections, lifting the body of the Humvee off, rolling the old chassis out, and rolling the new chassis in; the chassis includes a new power train, Transmission, and transfer case. Although the Army has not signed off on the upgrades, the company has installed the new chassis on four Humvees through a cooperative agreement with the Army, two of which have been delivered for trials.


Textron has offered another Humvee upgrade option to rival Northrop Grumman's. Called the Survivable Combat Tactical Vehicle (SCTV), it not only restores mobility but improves survivability over armored Humvee levels. It was developed as a blast protected cab solution with a stronger frame and suspension with underbody armor and the ability to mount additional B-kit armor. It has a 6.7L 275 hp engine system with 2500 SP Allison transmission that can power an increased gross vehicle weight of 18,500 lb (8,400 kg) (verses 13,450 lb (6,100 kg)) with four more inches of ground clearance, one-inch larger brakes, larger wheels and tires, and an improved internal layout with four inches of additional headroom. The battery pack was moved from under the passenger seat to outside under the hood and the 27-gallon plastic fuel tank was changed to a 40-gallon stainless steel container moved from under the transmission tunnel to behind the back wall. 

Available in four-door, two-door ambulance, and nine-seat troop carrier variants. The SCTV costs $200,000 compared to $145,000 for Northrop Grumman's solution, but the company claims It can restore the Humvee for operational use while the JLTV takes time to be introduced; both the Army and Marines have acquired about half a dozen vehicles each for testing.