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Very few major programs ever proceed as fast as originally planned. The US Army may be buying fewer Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV), but the important thing, according to breakingdefense.com, is that the service hasn’t officially changed its plan to acquire almost 50,000 JLTVs over the life of the program, which will run into the 2030s.
Soldiers will test out the new modifications to the joint light tactical vehicle, and after they evaluate the changes, the vehicles will go for official testing.
“We see a slight slowing of the Army buy across the FYDP [the 2020-2024 Future Year Defense Plan],” said Oshkosh Defense’s president John Bryant. “It’s not an unusual thing in defense acquisition.”
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is designed for speed, power and protected mobility. It features systems such as the TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension system as well as scalable levels of protection and complete plug and play C4ISR capability.
Built with the capability to serve as a highly mobile and protected command center, the JLTV hosts a complete C4ISR network solution while maintaining its payload, performance, protection and off-road mobility, according to the website of Oshkosh Defense, the prime contractor on the JLTV.
George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of joint programs, told nationaldefensemagazine.org that the company was hoping the soldier feedback will encourage Army acquisition officials to move forward with the program. “We feel that right after that evaluation will be another decision point for full-rate production,” he noted.
The service previously planned to make a full-rate production decision in December of last year, but it was delayed until later this year. The imminent evaluation of the modified JLTV follows the January release of the Pentagon’s 2018 annual report, which identified shortcomings with the platform. The document identified the vehicle as “not operationally suitable because of deficiencies in reliability, maintainability, training, manuals, crew situational awareness and safety.”
Following the document’s release, the company said the vehicle “meets or exceeds all contractual requirements for protection, mobility, reliability, availability, and maintainability and fuel economy.” However, Mansfield said the company made three major modifications to the JLTV. These include increasing the size of the rear-door windows on the four-door variant of the vehicle; adding a front forward-facing camera to provide drivers with better visibility as they roll over hills and obstacles; and a muffler to reduce the exterior noise of the vehicle.
Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said the service was “slowing the buy” of the JLTV, but the acquisition objective of 49,000 platforms remains the same. The service’s plans for fiscal years 2020 to 2024 include cutting JLTV procurement by $800 million, he noted. The funding decrease could result in 1,500 to 1,900 fewer vehicles purchased, McCarthy said. The cut is part of an Army initiative to reduce, delay or cancel some of its current programs to put more money towards its top modernization priorities.
Meanwhile, the company is still so confident in its armored 4×4 that it has rolled out a new JLTV ambulance the company developed at its own expense. The L-ATV ambulance utilizes the JLTV design. “We used the JLTV utility vehicle … and we took off the back — the flatbed on the back — and we put on an ambulance module,” Mansfield said. “It has the same drive line, the same suspension as what a JLTV has.”