Battlespace Tech

Oshkosh grabs huge armored vehicle contract

Army Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

The Army and Marines Corps' new armored vehicle.

The HMMWV replaced the Jeep. Soon the "Humvee" will be replaced by the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), following the award of a $6.7 billion Army contract—that could eventually grow to $30 billion—to Oshkosh Defense.

The unit of Oshkosh Corp., the conglomerate once known as Oshkosh Truck, said it expects to initially deliver about 17,000 vehicles under the deal, announced Wednesday (Aug. 26) by the Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command.

Responding to the huge number of roadside attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq and the initial shortage of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles—which have proved to be much more effective against IEDs that Humvees—the Army moved to integrate MRAP capabilities into it new light vehicle. The company claims its version offers "the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer."

The Wisconsin manufacturer said it expects to begin delivering the new vehicles to the Army and Marine Corps beginning in the middle of 2016.

The production contract includes a base award and eight option years covering three years of low-rate production and five years of full-rate production.

Oshkosh Defense said it leveraged its experience building more than 150,000 heavy and medium MRAP vehicles during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the number of roadside bombings grew in Iraq, the Army was forced to rush more MRAP vehicles to the battlefield.

The new vehicle is said to be lighter and more mobile than the MRAP. The Army and Marine Corps could eventually replace about 55,000 combat vehicles over the next several decades, reportedly driving the value of the Oshkosh Defense contract as high as $30 billion.

The JLTV is based on Oshkosh Defense's Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV), which has been in development since 2007. The 14,000-pound vehicle will be capable of carrying light- and medium-caliber weapons along with smoke grenade launchers. It is capable of reaching road speeds of up to 70 miles per hour using a diesel-electric powertrain.

The contractor said the L-ATV offers blast protection greater than up-armored Humvees and comparable to MRAP vehicles. The unit cost for each vehicle is listed at $250,000 each.

In addition to its versatility and blast protection, JLTVs will serve as key mobile nodes on the Army’s evolving tactical network. Increment 2 of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical currently is integrated into MRAPs, Humvees and Stryker vehicles.

The JLTV program is expected to be among the largest military contracts during a period of Army downsizing.

About the Author

George Leopold is a contributing editor for Defense Systems and author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom."Connect with him on Twitter at @gleopold1.

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