WASHINGTON — The acquisition cost estimate of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program has dropped by nearly $6 billion, according to a Pentagon Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) released Thursday.

The program cost is down by over 19 percent from $30.6 billion to $24.7 billion due to "revised estimates" of the unit cost of vehicles and kits, the SAR reads. Breaking that down, the lower cost estimate is based on $3.7 billion in realized savings, $1.3 billion in adjustments due to a stretched out procurement and $550 million due to a changed methodology in estimating technical data package costs, among a few other factors.

Earlier this month at the Association of the US Army's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., the service's program executive officer for combat support and combat service support said anticipated savings within the JLTV program could allow the US Army to field its Humvee replacement earlier and quicker.

Those savings are a result of a smart acquisition strategy. "We believe we are going to save between 10 and 15 percent from our budgeted amount on the acquisition of JLTV," Scott Davis said to a group of reporters at the symposium.

The Army then decided to take "any resources that were available from that and reapply it to the program to help move it forward," he added. "So we expect if that happens that instead of finishing fielding in the early 2040 timeframe, will be in the mid-2030s because we will be able to apply those savings to the vehicle and build them that much faster and it ends up saving about a net of five years," Davis explained.

The JLTV program is finally moving ahead after work stopped on the program for 98 days while Lockheed Martin protested the Army's award to Oshkosh Defense to build the vehicles. Lockheed then filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims because it claimed newly supplied Army information that emerged toward the end of the GAO's protest process was enough to move the protest to court. Oshkosh did not have to stop work while the lawsuit played out in court. Lockheed dropped its lawsuit last month.

The US Army ordered its first lot of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, the company announced Wednesday. The first order includes 657 vehicles along with kits and related support for "more than" $243 million, according to Oshkosh.

The Army expects to field the first vehicle delivery in October. The service is on track to reach a full-rate production decision in 2019.

Oshkosh's vice president for Global Integrated Product Support, Mike Ivy, said the company is delivering its first trucks to the Army in September and is prepared to deliver at any rate the Army requests.

Oshkosh beat out Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed for the $6.7 billion low-rate initial production contract award to build 16,901 vehicles.

Twitter: @JenJudson