Despite more than a year of delays in awarding contracts for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, JLTV program leaders insist that up to three 27-month EMD contracts will be awarded “later this summer,” said Col. David Bassett, project manager for U.S. Army Tactical Vehicles.
Originally scheduled for last October, the EMD downselect has been pushed back numerous times, from the summer of 2011 to early winter 2012, to talk that it would come in June, which then turned into July.
Industry sources now say they have been told it should come in late August or early September.
In an emailed statement, Bassett said, “the period given to industry to respond to the solicitation was extended briefly to encourage the broadest possible response.”
The three industry teams that won the original technology development contracts in October 2008 were BAE Systems and Navistar; General Tactical Vehicles (General Dynamics and AM General); and Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
All of that changed in February 2011, when the Army and Marine Corps said the EMD contract would be delayed until early 2012 due to major requirements changes to cut costs and reconfigure the vehicle’s armor and weight requirements.
The changes were made following industry complaints of unrealistic requirements, congressional dissatisfaction with the program and the emerging threat posed by proposed Humvee upgrades, which were thought to be less expensive. At the time, some estimates were putting the cost as high as $450,000 per vehicle.
On Jan. 26, the JLTV team finally released a request for proposals for the EMD phase, which called for a 33-month evaluation. The Army and U.S. Marine Corps said they would award up to three $65 million contracts for the delivery of 22 prototype vehicles per contract, with an average unit manufacturing cost target of $250,000, excluding B-kit armor and other add-on kits.
On March 28, the already contentious program, a replacement for the Humvee, was blown open yet again when three new industry teams submitted bids on the last day of the EMD proposal window. Navistar broke away from the BAE team to offer the Saratoga Light Tactical Vehicle, and AM General and Oshkosh both announced they were submitting independent bids.
AM General said it would continue to work with General Dynamics on their joint project while pursuing its own Blast Resistant Vehicle-Off Road. Oshkosh, which had been shut out of the program in 2008, submitted its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle.
These entries are the reason the EMD downselect date has remained squishy. Bassett said that while his team continues to work through the bids, “this brief extension in the RfP [request for proposal] period, along with the large number of proposal submissions, may cause some delay, however.”
He added that “the JLTV team’s intent continues to remain focused on awarding up to three contracts for the EMD phase later this summer.”