WASHINGTON — The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle won't reach initial operational capability on time, officials from both the US Army and Marine Corps are saying.
The delays are due mainly to the disruption in executing the program when Lockheed Martin filed a protest of the Army's decision to award Oshkosh Defense a contract to build the Humvee replacement. 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.
The JLTV program was finally able to move ahead in December after work stopped on the program for 98 days during the protest period. 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 in February.
The Army is anticipating a six-month delay in reaching initial operational capability. The service originally expected to reach IOC in mid 2019 but expects to now reach that milestone in late 2019, Army spokesman Michael Clow told Defense News.
The Marine Corps IOC will be delayed by a year, Thomas Dee, the deputy assistant secretary of Naval Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management, said Wednesday at a Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee hearing. The original Marine Corps IOC was expected in the fourth quarter for fiscal 2018 and is now expected in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
Both delays are significantly longer than the length of a protest period, but the Marine Corps and the Army explained that due to those delays testing schedules also had to be shifted.
"A 90-day delay grew into about six- or an eight-month delay just because of the difficulty of rescheduling a test phase that we were going to do, which then impacts the decision date for the full-rate production decision; which, in turn, puts our funding out of phase for the JLTV program ... which then allowed us to take a look at the time difference between the completion of testing and that whole rate production decision, and it ended up stretching out IOC about a year," Dee explained.
"The program's schedule is carefully sequenced to accomplish necessary testing and logistics development activities prior to conducting Multi-Service Operational Testing and Evaluation (MOT&E)," Clow said. The MOT&E itself was originally scheduled in July 2017 and was moved to February 2018 because Marines and ranges would not be available in the November timeframe due to holidays and leave periods.
The new schedule allows time for the Marine Corps to conduct its fielding decision review; allows for the retrofit of low-rate initial production vehicles to reflect changes resulting from operational test events; and allows for fielding activities that include "swap and installation" of government furnished equipment from fielded units, Manny Pacheco, service spokesman for the program executive office land systems, said.
Despite the delay in IOC, the Army "remains on a remarkable path to deliver all of its anticipated vehicles to Soldiers and Marines roughly five years earlier than previously anticipated and at a significantly reduced cost than previously planned," Clow noted.
Scott Davis, the program executive officer for CS&CSS, broke it down for reporters at the Association of the US Army's Global Force Symposium last month.
Anticipated savings within the JLTV program could allow the Army to field it earlier and quicker, he explained. Those savings are a result of a savvy acquisition strategy.
"We believe we are going to save between 10 and 15 percent from our budgeted amount on the acquisition of JLTV," Davis said.
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 acquisition cost estimate of the JLTVprogram has dropped by nearly $6 billion, according to a Pentagon Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) released last month.
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.
Jeff Schogol, Marine Corps Times staff writer, contributed to this report.