The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have selected three vehicles for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, with the announcement coming Wednesday evening.
The awards were somewhat surprising, since two of the three went to companies that submitted their designs in March, as opposed to bidders who had been working on the program since its inception in 2005.
The awards went to AM General, ($64.5 million); Lockheed Martin ($66.3 million); and Oshkosh Corporation, ($56.4 million). AM General and Oshkosh are the new bidders.
In a notice posted to a government contracting website, the Army said that the firm-fixed price contracts cover the 27-month EMD effort, and that “approximately $99.5Mwas obligated for the three contractors by this action, with initial funding of approximately $28M to $36M for each contractor. The balance of the funding, up to full base contract amount, will be provided in FY 13 and FY 14.”
The Army says that it plans to purchase 50,000 vehicles, while the Marine Corps is looking to buy 5,000.
The three industry teams who won technology development contracts in October 2008 included BAE Systems and Navistar; General Tactical Vehicles (General Dynamics and AM General); and Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
But on March 28, Navistar left the BAE-led team to offer the Saratoga Light Tactical Vehicle, and AM General and Oshkosh both announced they were also striking out on their own to submit independent bids.
The announcement today — barring a protest — shuts out original TD winners BAE Systems and General Dynamics, as well as newcomer Navistar.
John Bryant, vice president and general manager of Marine Corps programs at Oshkosh, told Defense News that the company had upgraded its TAK 4 suspension system found on its 8,800 M-ATV platforms serving in Afghanistan for its JLTV offering, and that the vehicle “leverages directly the lessons learned from the M-ATV” in combat to provide crew protection. He added that the company’s JLTV design can reach off-road speeds up to 70 percent higher than the M-ATV.
In a statement, AM General president and CEO Charles M. Hall said that “as the most experienced tactical wheeled vehicle provider in the United States, AM General is uniquely focused on meeting the needs of the U.S. armed forces and our team is prepared to move forward.” The company’s mobility technology has “accumulated more than 300,000 operational test miles and demonstrated high reliability and maintainability,” the statement said.
On the other side of the ledger, BAE Systems emailed a statement saying that the company “look[s] forward to a full debriefing from the government as we evaluate our next steps.”
Archie Massicotte, president of Navistar Defense also said in a statement that “we still feel strongly about the capabilities of our Saratoga JLTV vehicle, which is designed to be delivered to market quickly with less investment than traditional defense programs, and we believe it is appealing to nations facing uncertain futures and limited budgets.” He added that “down the road, there may be an opportunity for Navistar to bid for a JLTV production contract after the EMD phase is complete. We will seriously consider that option.”