BREAKING: Army Sets Timeline for JLTV Recompete Contract
Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Debralee Best
AUSTIN, Texas — The Army is looking to issue a new contract to manufacture the joint light tactical vehicle in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022, the service’s project manager in charge of the program said March 4.
Congress mandated the joint program recompete the effort in order to drive down costs. The current manufacturer, Oshkosh Defense, sold the technical data rights to the Army in 2016 paving the way for the program to find another contractor who could perhaps offer a lower manufacturing price.
A draft request for proposals is scheduled to be released this month, Michael Sprang, the joint JLTV program office's program manager, said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference in Austin, Texas.
The JPO has already held an industry day in February with a second to be held possibly in March 2021, he said. The office has also hosted one-on-one meetings with prime contractors. The office will issue a final request for proposals in the second quarter of 2022 with the winner being chosen by the end of that fiscal year.
“We love the JLTV — the design of it right now. We love the capability it provides,” Sprang said, but competition has always been built into the program.
The JPO is looking to leverage new automotive technologies and incorporate them into the next version of the JLTV. “We actually see the competition mechanism as a great way of doing that. And so we are not just doing a pure build-to-print design.”
The office has its own wishlist of new capabilities but is asking industry over the next 45 days to send the Army its ideas on what improvements can be incorporated, he said. The ideas gleaned will be run through Army Materiel Command, the Marine Corps, added to the Army’s own list and consolidated into a document that can be shared with industry in December.
Some of these desired items include how to increase situational awareness, how to reduce the platform's noise signature and a lower profile for the kits that provide extra seating, he said.
One subsystem certain to change is the engine. Oshkosh chose the commercially available GM Duramax engine for the JLTV, but that is at risk of becoming obsolete. It saved a lot of development money, but GM may ultimately modify or discontinue the engine based on its commercial customers’ needs, Sprang explained.
“That becomes a friction point with the government. How many different iterations of that engine do we want to complete? Is that the right engine for the long term?” he asked. The Army is currently working on the answers to those questions with the solution being incorporated into the recompete manufacturing contract, he said.
Meanwhile, the program office is moving faster than expected to field JLTV specific trailers. The original plan was to use legacy Humvee trailers for the first few years. Sprang said during operational tests they were deemed to be unsafe.
“It became a safety issue both for the soldiers and also to the equipment because the soldiers wanted to drive the JLTV the way it is meant to be driven,” he said. That resulted in damage to the trailers and the equipment they were hauling. The decision was made to field them as a system. Manufacturing will begin on the new trailers by the end of the calendar year, he added.
Gene Morin, product manager for the JLTV at the Marine Corps, said the service has received 500 of the new vehicles to date and they are all being deployed. So far, corrosion in the maritime environment has been one of the big issues that needs to be solved. Most of the Corps’ JLTVs are aboard ships or being used near sea spray, he added.
Signature management on the JLTV is also becoming a big deal for the service. “ I have never heard Marines talk so much about signature management both in the [radio frequency], noise and light,” Morin said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the JLTV's final request for proposals date.