Army Will Share Oshkosh’s JLTV Designs With Competitors

 In Land, Defense, Threats, Information
Oshkosh photo

The four offi­cial JLTV vari­ants.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: The Army is about to blow the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle pro­gram wide open. In public remarks today by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and a notice to indus­try qui­et­ly updat­ed online, the ser­vice made clear it is reopen­ing two multi-bil­lion-dollar ques­tions that were sup­pos­ed­ly set­tled by the 2015 award of the hotly con­test­ed JLTV con­tract to Oshkosh: How many 4×4 offroad trucks does the Army really need, and who should build them?

Army photo

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy

Originally intend­ed to replace the under­ar­mored Humvee and the lum­ber­ing MRAP with a nimble and well-pro­tect­ed vehi­cle, the JLTV has suf­fered major cuts in the last two bud­gets. At the same time, each budget doc­u­ment also insists the Army hasn’t changed the total number it plans to buy. It’s just spread­ing that buy out over a longer term. But McCarthy made clear today the total number may change.

“When you look at our vehi­cle port­fo­lio, we’ve got about 48, 49 thou­sand Humvees; pro­gram of record for JLTV is about 49,000 JLTVs. And Infantry [Squad] Vehicles, we’re going to have about a thou­sand of those,” McCarthy said at a National Press Club lun­cheon. “That’s a breath­tak­ing amount of vehi­cles, even for an orga­ni­za­tion as big as us. What we’ve asked for is a study of just how many do we need, and what is the appro­pri­ate mix?

“We treat tax­pay­er dol­lars like we treat our ammu­ni­tion,” the sec­re­tary said. “Every bullet counts, and it’s aimed against a target.”

Now the ser­vice has already said this, sort of. Last year, McCarthy – then the under­sec­re­tary – and the four-star chief of Army Futures Command, Gen. Mike Murray, acknowl­edged the total number of JLTVs pro­cured was under review. But this is the first I’ve heard of that review since then, and McCarthy’s lan­guage is much more defin­i­tive this time.

That’s just part of the bad news for Oshkosh. While the com­pa­ny cur­rent­ly has an exclu­sive con­tract to man­u­fac­ture the JLTV, that con­tract also includes an option for the gov­ern­ment to buy what’s called a Technical Data Package. Briefings pro­vid­ed to indus­try say the pro­gram office exer­cised that option in 2016.

“TDP covers all the spec­i­fi­ca­tion and draw­ings nec­es­sary for a new con­trac­tor to build an iden­ti­cal truck,” one slide says. “TDP pro­vides the Government the abil­i­ty to con­duct a full and open re-com­pete for follow-on pro­duc­tion con­tract.”

The 2021 budget request makes clear that the Army is now con­sid­er­ing con­duct­ing such a com­pe­ti­tion, as we report­ed Tuesday. An online notice to indus­try – orig­i­nal­ly posted Jan. 31st but updat­ed last week – makes clear the gov­ern­ment is now active­ly con­ven­ing inter­est­ed com­pa­nies 10 days from now and will pro­vide them the Technical Data Package next month.

“The Government will hold an Industry Day event on 24 and 25 February to pro­vide an under­stand­ing of the JLTV design and pro­vide early insight into the Government’s planned approach to award­ing a best value con­tract for the Follow-On JLTV Family of Vehicles (FoV) pro­duc­tion con­tract,” runs the notice on “After… the Government will make the cur­rent Technical Data Package (TDP) and the first DRAFT RFP avail­able to inter­est­ed prime con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors[;] antic­i­pat­ed release date for these doc­u­ments is March 2020.”

The indus­try “day” – actu­al­ly two days – will con­sist of gov­ern­ment brief­in­gs for the assem­bled com­pa­nies on Feb. 24th and then one-on-one meet­ings with indi­vid­ual com­pa­nies on the 25th. Sometime after­wards, the mil­i­tary will pub­lish a formal Request For Information (RFI) that will include a process for com­pa­nies to lease JLTVs so they can exam­ine and assess them.

In the long term, the doc­u­ment stays, the Army-led Joint Program Office for JLTV “intends to com­pet­i­tive­ly award the follow-on JLTV FoV Production con­tract as a single award five-year require­ments con­tract, with five addi­tion­al one-year options.”

Oshkosh photo

JLTV on the Oshkosh pro­duc­tion line.

Oshkosh Says Bring It On

What does Oshkosh say to all this? In a nut­shell: Bring it on.

“Oshkosh Defense is well posi­tioned to con­tin­ue being the pre­ferred man­u­fac­tur­er for the JLTV plat­form,” VP George Mansfield said in a state­ment to Breaking Defense. “Oshkosh has spent over a decade work­ing close­ly with the Joint Program Office to opti­mize the vehi­cle design, man­u­fac­tur­ing process and supply chain to ensure the high­est level of pro­tec­tion and off-road mobil­i­ty for our Warfighter, and the lowest cost for the tax­pay­er. The pro­gram remains on time and on budget, with nearly 6,000 vehi­cles deliv­ered to the US Army and Marine Corps cus­tomer.  Oshkosh Defense is com­mit­ted to build­ing TWVs [Tactical Wheeled Vehicles] that can pro­tect our Warfighters in both hos­tile insur­gency and near peer threat envi­ron­ments, so that they may com­plete their mis­sions and return them home safely.”

Yes, Oshkosh acknowl­edges that the Army is now taking longer to buy the JLTV. “The changes extend JLTV Full Operational Capability from the mid 2030s to the early 2040s,” Mansfield’s state­ment ran. “While year-to-year fund­ing insta­bil­i­ty hin­ders pro­grams, the JLTV stands out as one of the rel­a­tive­ly few major pro­grams deliv­er­ing on its promise.  It is on sched­ule and under budget. The JLTV is also the only light tac­ti­cal vehi­cle with the pro­tec­tion and extreme off-road mobil­i­ty to maneu­ver with combat for­ma­tions against great power adver­saries.”

In other words? Some mil­i­tary lead­ers – includ­ing former Army Secretary Mark Esper, now Secretary of Defense – have said the JLTV was designed for the last war, opti­mized for sur­viv­ing road­side bombs in a coun­terin­sur­gency cam­paign. But Oshkosh is argu­ing that you’ll need some­thing equal­ly sur­viv­able to deal with, say, Russian artillery-scat­tered mine­fields in a con­ven­tion­al war — and since you can’t put the entire force in heav­i­ly armored tracked vehi­cles, you’d better have some pretty tough trucks.

“We take great pride in work­ing with the US Army and Marines to give the warfight­er a tech­no­log­i­cal edge at the best price,” Mansfield said. “We never forget that our core pur­pose is enabling the brave men and women of the Armed Forces who rely on our prod­ucts and ser­vices to per­form their mis­sions and return home safely — and that will never change.”

Source: Breaking Defense

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