Thursday, October 29, 2015

Defence IQ--Interview: Oshkosh on JLTV victory, capabilities, prospects

Contributor:  Rory Jackson

The U.S. Army’s nearly decade-long search for a new armoured truck ended on August 25 with the selection of the Oshkosh Corporation’s Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV).

The initial contract for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) programme is worth $6.7bn, and calls for low-rate production of 16,901 L-ATVs for the Army and Marines over the next three years. Following this, there will be an option for the armed forces to purchase additional units at full-rate production, with expected totals of 49,100 for the Army and 5,500 for the Marines in operation by 2040. The contract is expected to be worth over $30bn in total.

The JLTV programme was first approved in 2006, as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or Humvee was found lacking in its ability to withstand IED attacks. Rather than deal with the costs and time constraints involved in upgrading the armour of tens of thousands of Humvees, a new vehicle was sought.

Three bidders were selected in August 2012 for JLTV’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase. These were AM General with its Blast- Resistant Vehicle - Off Road (BRV-O), Lockheed Martin’s JLTV, and Oshkosh’s L-ATV, with all three being required to produce 22 prototype vehicles over the following 27 months.

Each L-ATV is costed at $433,539, to be sold at around $559,000 per unit. The vehicle weighs 6,400kg, is fitted with a GM Duramax V8 6.6-litre engine, and has a top road speed of around 112kmph. It also utilises a power-assisted, front wheel steering system and allison automatic transmission, and can be fitted with a selection of light and medium weapons, including anti-tank and automatic grenade weaponry.

The Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corporation was awarded the JLTV contract at the end of August, but rival competitor Lockheed Martin was quick to launch a protest of the selection on September 9.
Oshkosh is unable to carry out any work related to the contract for the duration of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO’s) review period, though Army spokesperson Michael Clow has said that the Army remains confident that Oshkosh’s platform would provide an affordable and substantial capability improvement to marines and soldiers.

With the review period ongoing, Defence Industry Bulletin reached out to Oshkosh Defence’s Senior Vice President of Defence Programs, John Bryant, to glean further information on the selection of the L-ATV, on which the U.S. military has been slow to comment thus far.


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