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Army awards development contracts for JLTV

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2008) -- The Army announced today the awarding of three contracts for technology development on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

Together, the three contracts are worth a combined total of approximately $166 million. They have been awarded to: BAE Systems Land & Armament Systems -- Ground Systems Division, Santa Clara, Calif.; General Tactical Vehicles (A Joint Venture of General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. and AM General, LLC), Sterling Heights, Mich.; and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration -- Owego; Owego, N.Y.

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The JLTV is a joint program between the Army, the Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command, where the Army has been designated as the lead agency.

The JTLV family of vehicles will provide the Joint Services with a balance between three key factors: performance, payload and protection, said Col. John Myers, Project Manager for the Army's Joint Combat Support Services.

At the same time, the JLTV must remain transportable and provide expeditionary mobility, said Lt. Col. Wolfgang Petermann, JLTV product manager for the Army, located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. He explained that the JLTV will replace a portion of the Humvee fleet, but it is not meant to serve as a direct replacement for that vehicle.

The technology development phase specified by the contracts will last 27 months, during which time contractors must each develop seven prototype vehicles to represent the three payload categories required by the JLTV program.. Contractors must also develop companion prototype trailers that meet many of the same requirements as the JLTV in terms of mobility, transportability and payload.

The three JLTV payload categories include sub-configurations to, among other things, carry infantry, perform reconnaissance, act as command and control vehicles carry heavy guns and serve as an ambulance.

During the TD phase, vehicle armor, ballistic hulls, vehicles and trailers will undergo performance and reliability testing, including assessments from joint warfighters, added Lt. Col. Ben Garza, JLTV Program Manager for the Marine Corps located at Quantico, Va.

With their prototypes, contractors must demonstrate a "family of vehicles" approach across the three payload categories. The vehicles must share a commonality of components, and demonstrate technical maturity, requirements achievability and integration capabilities.

"We are confident that we will successfully achieve JLTV requirements, and we are eagerly looking forward to demonstrating the technical capabilities during the TD phase," Petermann said.

While the winners of the contracts will ultimately produce refined prototypes of the JLTV and its companion trailers at the end of the TD phase, Myers said the Army's current intention is to hold another full and open competition for the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase which will allow all interested parties to compete.

Right now, the Army, Marine Corps and SOC are refining their respective tactical vehicle strategies, therefore a final planned quantity has not yet been determined, Petermann said. However, for production cost-estimating and other analyses, the request for proposals included a projected production quantity of approximately 60,000 systems to be delivered over an eight-year span.

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