Oshkosh won the Pentagon’s $30 billion sweepstakes to replace the U.S. Army’s Humvee with up to 55,000 new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, or JLTVs, over the next 25 years, service officials said.
The Army awarded a $6.7 billion contract Tuesday to Oshkosh for an initial batch of 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. Production will begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, according to an Army release, with a later decision on the full scale of production to come in 2018, the year the vehicles are expected to be ready for battle.
“The…contract award moves an important capability closer to our soldiers and Marines and represents an important success for the acquisition community,” said Scott Davis, the Army program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, at the Pentagon shortly after the announcement.
The Wisconsin-based defense firm’s victory follows 14 months of trials of prototypes from Oshkosh and losing bidders AM General and Lockheed Martin. Years of difficult combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, full of harsh terrain and roadside bombs, compelled the Army to seek an armored vehicle to replace the Humvee. They sought a truck that was tougher and better-armored in critical spots, but also agile and capable of off-road maneuvering.
The JLTV is meant to recover the vehicle performance lost when the Army and Marine Corps had to up-armor Humvees to protect troops from an abundance of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Col. John Cavedo, the former project manager, during Tuesday’s Pentagon briefing.
The armor’s extra weight prevented the Army from using them in battle as planned, Cavedo said. “This is going to allow us to operate the way we had envisioned our light tactical vehicles being able to operate with greater flexibility and … gaining back an expeditionary capability that we lost” when ground forces bought large and heavy MRAPs.
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