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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress

Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is being developed by the Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the 11 different versions of the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) that have been in service since 1985. On October 28, 2008, three awards were made for the JLTV Technology Development (TD) Phase, which is scheduled to conclude in the June 2011 timeframe to three industry teams: (1) BAE Systems, (2) the team of Lockheed Martin and General Tactical Vehicle, and (3) AM General and General Dynamics Land Systems. Once testing is completed and technology requirements established, a full and open competition was expected to be conducted in the late summer, 2011 for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase and the Department of Defense (DOD) planned to award two contracts for the EMD phase, which was scheduled to last 24 months.

In February 2011, it was announced that the award of the EMD contract would be delayed until January 2012 because the Army changed requirements for the JLTV. DOD had planned to award two contracts for the EMD phase, which was scheduled to last 24 months, but now plans for a 48- month-long EMD. In addition, the Category B variant was eliminated because it proved to be too heavy to meet the required transportability weight. Now there will be two variants—a Combat Tactical Vehicle (CTV) that can transport four passengers and carry 3,500 pounds and a Combat Support Vehicle (CSV) that can transport two passengers and carry 5,100 pounds.

The Marines have expressed reservations with the JLTV because, at its current estimated weight, it does not lend itself to Marine Corps expeditionary operations. The Marines do not rule out removing themselves from the program and modifying HMMWVs if developers cannot address their specific requirements. The Army is said to be “moving ahead” with the JLTV program, appearing less concerned than the Marines about transportability requirements. Some describe the Army and Marines as “striking out on a separate path” with the Army more concerned with survivability and the Marines concerned that heavier JLTVs could cause weight problems on the Navy’s amphibious ships.

DOD has not publically assigned a definitive cost to the JLTV program, suggesting that it is too early in the development process. Some analysts suggest that the JLTV program will cost well over $10 billion and possibly as much as $30 billion to $70 billion, depending on the final cost of the vehicles and the number procured. Currently, the per unit cost is estimated at about $320,000 per vehicle—a figure that the Marines believe is too high.

The FY2012 Budget Request for JLTVs is $172.1 million for Army Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) and $71.8 million for Marine Corps RDT&E, for a program total of $243.9 million.

Concerns have been expressed that DOD’s Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) All - Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) effort will clash with the JLTV. There are also concerns about overall JLTV program affordability and the Marine’s concerns with its weight and transportability. The Army’s decision to change JLTV survivability requirements has resulted in the delay of awarding EMD contracts and the doubling of the EMD phase to 48 months which could increase the program’s overall cost.

Date of Report: April 5, 2011
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS22942
Price: $29.95

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