Oshkosh Lands $780 Million Contract to Refurbish Heavy Trucks

By Allyson Versprille

The Army on June 19 tapped Oshkosh Defense to refurbish its fleet of battle-worn heavy tactical wheeled vehicles.

The $780 million contract calls for Oshkosh to teardown and recapitalize roughly 1,800 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT), and to manufacture 1,000 new trailers for the Army’s palletized load system through 2019.

This is an important contract for Oshkosh Defense, which had to lay off workers following sequestration of the defense budget, said Dean Lockwood senior weapons system analyst at Forecast International, a market research and analysis firm specializing in defense industries. There isn't a civilian market for the Oskkosh-produced heavy trucks, so follow-up contracts such as this are vital for the company, said Lockwood.

For any armed or logistical vehicle, the military tends to return to the original contractor, said Lockwood. The major costs associated with military vehicles don’t lie with the purchasing of the equipment, but rather maintaining and rebuilding the platform, he said. It’s “easier and cheaper” to use the original contractor, because they already have the skilled labor, part pipelines and production lines in place, Lockwood said.

John Bryant, senior vice president of defense programs for Oshkosh Defense, in a statement said, “As the [original equipment manufacturer], we will recapitalize the U.S. Army’s heavy vehicles to like-new condition in order to achieve the required levels of operational readiness.” 

The HEMTT will be upgraded to Oshkosh’s latest model, the HEMTT A4. The refurbished trucks will include the latest safety features and improved reliability and mobility. Upgrades will include improvements in power, the electrical system, and anti-lock brakes, the press release said. They will be delivered back to the Army with new bumper-to-bumper warranties.

They will be stripped down to the frame and assembled on the same production line as new vehicles. They will also receive the same performance tests and inspections as new vehicles, the press release said.

Bryant in an email to National Defense said the company has recalled 400 laid off workers since the beginning of the year, and it expects to hire 100 more as the HEMTT contract ramps up.

“Because the heavy fleet is the logistics backbone for a spectrum of operations, Oshkosh has worked with the Army to restore more than 12,000 heavy vehicles since 1995 — providing soldiers with the latest safety features and improved reliability for in-theater operations,” said Bryant. The HEMTT can carry 13 tons.

Oshkosh Defense is also in the running for the hotly contested Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract to replace the Humvee made by AM General. The Army and the Marine Corps have pledged to purchase 55,000 JLTV’s.

Topics: Land Forces

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