The new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, commonly known as JLTV, has been again deemed “not operationally suitable”, the Government Accountability Office said in its annual survey of Defense Department acquisitions.
The JLTV program is intended to replace the Army and Corp’s legacy fleet of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) for some missions.
The JLTV is expected to provide protection for passengers against current and future battlefield threats, increased payload capacity, and improved automotive performance over the up-armored HMMWV variant, which includes an armor package. It is designed to be transported by air or ship. Two- and four-seat variants are planned with multiple mission configurations.
“The JLTV program has matured its two critical technologies and stabilized the system design. However, the program’s discovery of significant deficiencies during operational testing—and the corrections that those now require—pose risk to maintaining that design stability,” the Government Accounting Office said this week in a report on major weapons systems.
In report noted that during low-rate initial production, Oshkosh significantly reduced the number of defects per manufactured vehicle, from 14.6 in September 2016 to 1.3 in September 2018.
Program officials also stated that Oshkosh has provided on-time deliveries for 6 consecutive months and is now producing vehicles 2 months ahead of schedule at a rate of about 11 per day.
The program is also utilizing statistical process controls to demonstrate ongoing JLTV production readiness.
“The Army and Marine Corps recently concluded operational testing for JLTV and found the vehicles to be survivable for the crew and effective for small combat and transport missions,” the GAO said in its 17th annual survey of defense acquisitions and pointing that: “but not operationally suitable because of their high maintenance needs, low reliability, training and manual deficiencies, and safety shortcomings.”
The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, made the same findings as the Army and Marine Corps. Army operational testers recommended a conditional release to full-rate production for most of the vehicle variants, pending resolution of all suitability related deficiencies.
Marine Corps operational testers, however, found the JLTV could support their mission and advocated for the program’s unconditional transition into full-rate production. However, the Army delayed the full-rate decision from December 2018 to May 2019 to review new potential requirements.