In Lean Market, Lockheed Martin Eager for Combat Vehicle Contracts

By Valerie Insinna
Opportunities to sell combat vehicles to the military are thin on the ground, but Lockheed Martin continues to push its offerings for two remaining programs: the Army and Marine Corps’ joint light tactical vehicle and the newly revived amphibious combat vehicle, also to be operated by the Marines.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos in April announced the resurrection of the ACV, which had been stalled amid fiscal concerns. Instead of its ambitious plan to field a long-range, high-speed vehicle capable of moving from ship to shore, the service would press on with a less expensive, scaled-back “ACV 1.1” version more in line with vehicles demonstrated under the canceled Marine personnel carrier program.
Lockheed Martin will propose its Havoc 8x8 vehicle, which the company had offered for the MPC program, said Scott Greene, vice president of ground vehicles. The Havoc is based on the armored modular vehicle produced by Finland-based Patria.
“The basis of this design is off the shelf,” he said June 9 during a Lockheed Martin media day. It “gives the Marines what they need, real time, without bringing a lot of risk into the equation."
“We've made some significant modifications because the Marines have some unique requirements,” especially in the realm of survivability, he said.
Lockheed is looking into expanding the Havoc, which in its current configuration, can hold nine Marines plus a three-person crew, Greene said.
The Marine Corps has yet to release requirements detailing how extensive the ACV’s amphibious capabilities should be, Greene said.
Marine Corps officials have said the ACV 1.1 may not be required to move from ship to shore on its own, as the current amphibious assault vehicle can. The service is still evaluating to what extent it will use “connectors” to help shepherd the vehicle closer to land.
Lockheed’s vehicle can travel at speeds of about 5 knots and operate in sea state 2 — waves ranging from 4 inches to over one and a half feet high, Greene said.
In 2013, the Havoc completed amphibious and blast testing during the technology demonstration phase of the MPC program. General Dynamics, SAIC and BAE Systems also participated in technology demonstrations and could offer vehicles for the ACV 1.1 program.
Greene said that the engineering, manufacturing and development phase will kick off “in the not-too-distant future.” The Marine Corps will ultimately buy about 700 vehicles, he added.
Lockheed is in the midst of the EMD phase for the joint light tactical vehicle, a Humvee replacement built for the Army and Marine Corps. The company has delivered 22 JLTVs to the services for evaluations, Greene said. The vehicle has completed more than 200,000 miles of testing, half of that in government tests.
“The Humvee is a great vehicle, was a great vehicle. It just was not built for the asymmetric type of warfare that you see out there today, so as a result, we’ve had to put a lot of armor on the vehicle that it was never designed to hold,” he said.
With the JLTV, the Army and Marine Corps hope to have a survivable and mobile light vehicle that allows them to go off road if needed to avoid roadside bombs. Lockheed’s JLTV design has the same survivability as the M-ATV at 40 percent of the weight, Greene said. During testing, it could travel 11 miles per gallon over rugged terrain — a 30 percent increase from the M-ATV.
“The vehicle today is doing very, very well today from a survivability standpoint. It meets the blast protection standard of mine resistant vehicles,” he said. “We’re light enough for a CH-47 and a CH-53 lift, which is really important, especially to the Marines, who from an expeditionary standpoint, like to move around quite a bit.”
The Army plans on buying about 48,000 JLTVs, while the Marine Corps will purchase 5,500 vehicles. Full rate production is scheduled for 2018 after a downselect to a single vendor in 2015.
Also competing in the JLTV program are Oshkosh Defense’s light combat tactical all-terrain vehicle and AM General’s blast resistant vehicle-off road, commonly known as the L-ATV and BRV-O, respectively.
Greene said that Lockheed Martin is trying to save money by maximizing commonality of parts between its four variants. The general purpose vehicle, heavy gun carrier and close combat weapons carrier — the three versions that will make up 70 percent of JLTVs purchased — share the same chassis. The chassis of the remaining variant, called the utility vehicle, is 95 percent common with the other three versions.
Lockheed designed the vehicle so that it would be easy to upgrade, Greene said. The vehicle currently has a four-cylinder engine, but could easily accommodate a six-cylinder engine.
The vehicle also contains a starter generator that can create 15 kilowatts of power to be used to charge electronic devices. “With some minor modifications, we could go up to 75 [kilowatts] of off-board power,” he said.
Credit: Havoc 8x8 vehicle (Lockheed Martin photo)

Topics: Combat Vehicles

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