LONDON — The British Army is preparing to buy the Oshkosh-built Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) but must first seek approval from the US government to move the deal forward.
"We are working through the Foreign Military Sales process. A letter of request has been sent to our American colleagues, and we expect a response in the next few months," according to Maj. Gen. Robert Talbot Rice, the director of land equipment at the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The MoD confirmed last June that it had held early discussions about purchasing the vehicle, but this is the first acknowledgement that an official request has been lodged with the United States.
Talbot Rice told an audience of industry executives and military personnel at the International Armoured Vehicles conference in London on Tuesday that the Army had opted for the single-source purchase due to its ability to meet UK requirements and its value for money.
"The price point the Pentagon had achieved for a (US) production run of up to 55,000 was not going to be matched by other contenders. On the basis of the assessment on price and value for money, we made the case to go the FMS route," he said.
Subject to final approval of the deal from both sides of the Atlantic, a sale will mark the first export success for the Oshkosh Defense-designed vehicle destined to replace the Humvee in US Army and US Marine Corps service starting in 2019.
The British purchase is part of the Multi-Role Vehicle-Protected (MRV-P) program. JTLV will meet a requirement for troop-carrying and other light duties.
The second part of the MRV-P requirement
— a larger troop carrier and a battlefield ambulance variant — is being competed by the British.
Talbot Rice declined to discuss possible delivery timings for the JLTV beyond saying they would be "slightly behind" first US deliveries.
The JLTV is currently in low-rate production for the US military. A full-rate production decision by the Pentagon is expected in 2018.
In total, the US military expects to buy around 55,000 JLTVs.
Speaking at the conference, Col. Shane Fullmer, the manager of the US Army's JLTV Joint Program Office, said the British had been tracking the program for almost four years but that the interest had intensified in the last 12 months or so.
Other foreign armies are also showing an interest, including European nations, said Fullmer.
Last year, Oshkosh officials said they could accommodate export production requirements even when US deliveries were at their peak.
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.