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JLTV RfP: U.S. Lowers Cost, Shortens Development

Discussion in 'Modern Warfare' started by Manmohan Yadav, Oct 6, 2011.

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  1. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    U.S. Army and Marine Corps officials set a lower than expected cost ceiling and ambitious development schedule for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program in the draft request for proposals issued by the Army on Oct. 3.

    Acquisition leaders from both services have touted the JLTV effort's recent strides in hopes of salvaging a program the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended for termination last month.

    The draft RfP sets per-vehicle cost goals between $230,000 and $270,000 - much lower than the $350,000 officials had previously said they expected for the Humvee replacement. An additional armor kit called the b-kit should cost no more than $65,000, according to the draft RfP.

    Three competitors will receive contracts for the engineering and manufacturing development phase to be awarded in May. A cost ceiling of $52 million was set for the EMD phase per contractor. The production phase contract is not expected until 2015.

    Service officials cut 16 months from the EMD phase, which now will last 32 months. Col. David Bassett, Army program manager for Tactical Vehicles, said in September that he expected JLTV could be delivered sooner than expected because the Army and Marine Corps closed a sizeable gap in respect to a common set of requirements.

    Defense analysts still have doubts about the program, especially after the Senate Appropriations Committee cut $243 million from it Sept. 15 and shifted $20 million to Humvee recapitalization. The committee chair justified the cuts while also recommending that the JLTV, which is in its fifth year, be terminated because of "excessive cost growth and constantly changing requirements."

    Three defense teams have already built JLTV prototypes and a fourth, Oskosh Defense, has said it also will submit a bid for the EMD phase. The AM General-General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin-BAE Armor Holdings and Navistar Defense-Northrop Grumman teams are considered the front-runners.

    Six variants with companion trailers will make up the JLTV family, which will include a four-seat close combat weapons carrier, a two-seat utility carrier and shelter, a four-seat general purpose vehicle, a special-purpose vehicle, a heavy guns carrier, and a command-and-control-on-the-move vehicle.

    The Army released the JLTV draft RfP just weeks after issuing a draft RfP for the Humvee recapitalization program - two programs service officials expect to work together to upgrade its tactical wheeled fleet. When it started, Army and Marine Corps officials hoped the JLTV would replace their entire fleets. Shrinking defense budgets have forced those officials to lean more on upgrades to the Humvee and a smaller JLTV buy.

    Defense analysts like Jim Carafano with the Heritage Foundation question whether the Army can buy both.

    The Marine Corps remains committed to the JLTV, and continues to watch the costs to upgrade the Humvee. However, Christopher Yunker, Mobility Branch section head at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said it doesn't make sense to recapitalize Humvees if it's going to cost more than 60 percent of what it costs for a new vehicle.

    In the draft RfP for the Humvee recap, Army officials set the per-vehicle price ceiling at $180,000, which is 66 percent of the price ceiling set for JLTV.

    "What we're seeing is, to get the capability you're looking for in the JLTV, your most effective move for the taxpayer is to go ahead and buy a new vehicle that will give you a 20-year service life as opposed to recapping an old vehicle that will give you seven or eight years," Yunker said.
     
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