The race to replace the iconic Humvee has entered its final stretch. Today, the Army gave competing contractors AM General, Oshkosh, and Lockheed Martin the final Request For Proposal for production of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The competitors have until February 5 to ask the government questions and must submit their proposals by Feb. 10.
After that? “We continue to look forward to a Milestone C decision [to enter production] and the award of a firm-fixed-price contract to a single vendor near the end of Fiscal Year 2015 [i.e. before October 1st],” said Scott Davis, the Army’s Program Executive Officer (PEO) for support systems, in a statement.
At stake for industry: an eight-year award for 17,000 JLTVs — and a de facto lock on what’s expected to be a 50,000-vehicle program with a quarter-century of production and untold decades of sustainment afterwards. At stake for the Army and Marines: a new truck that combines the offroad mobility of the original, dangerously fragile unarmored Humvee with the life-saving protection of the lumbering MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) bought for Afghanistan and Iraq. With more ambitious programs like the Army Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and the Marine Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) respectively in ruins or greatly scaled back, JLTV is the biggest ground vehicle modernization program going — assuming sequestration doesn’t kill it first.
Here’s more detail from the official Army statement: “The RFP outlines an award period covering three years of low rate initial production and five years of full rate production, procuring approximately 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. Based on the anticipated award, we expect to have the first Army unit equipped in FY18. The Marine Corps’ purchases of 5,500 vehicles are front-loaded into the plan, and we anticipate an initial USMC operating capability in FY18 with their fielding complete in FY22. 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.”
We also have comment from all three competitors. Highlights:
“The Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Team has received the government’s Request for Proposal (RFP) and is already drafting its response, which is due 10 February. [We already] completed several detailed reviews of our customers’ draft RFPs over the past weeks.”
“AM General received the JLTV RFP earlier today. Our BRV-O JLTV team is fully engaged in providing our customer a very compelling and comprehensive response.”
“Oshkosh received portions of the JLTV Final RFP earlier today, and we expect the balance of the RFP to be posted later today.” (We’re asking whether they’ve gotten the whole shebang since this statement was drafted. Oshkosh is normally by far the fastest-moving, most aggressive of the three competitors in its press operations, and not coincidentally the only one to rely on an outside agency, Edelman — the other companies simply use in-house press relations staff — but in this case coordinating between Oshkosh and Edelman may have slowed them down). [UPDATED: Oshkosh just confirmed they’ve received the whole RFP].
We’ll update with additional comment and analysis as appropriate.