Spurning the incumbent provider, on 9 February 2023 the US Army awarded AM General a five-year contract (plus five-year option) worth USD 8.66 Bn to produce up to 20,682 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and up to 9,883 JLTV Trailers for the US armed forces and Foreign Military Sales customers.

The contract, awarded under what is known as the JLTV A2 Program, came as something of a surprise because the provider of JLTVs to the US military since 2015 has been Oshkosh Defense, which in August of that year was chosen as the winner of the initial JLTV contest with a vehicle solution based on its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV). The company was at the time awarded a contract worth up to USD6.75 Bn, which covered two years of low-rate initial production and five years of full-rate production, and has since delivered more than 19,000 JLTVs and 3,500 of their associated trailers.

However, soon after the initial JLTV contract was awarded on 25 August 2015, the US government purchased the data rights to the JLTV Technical Data Package from Oshkosh in early 2016. In a press release on 9 February 2023,  the US Army stated, “This competitive follow-on production contract has been part of the JLTV acquisition strategy from the beginning and focused on a best value determination that includes retaining the capability of the JLTV today, while ensuring that it can be upgraded in the future with the latest technologies.”

Responding to its contract win, AM General cited its “proven transformative commercial manufacturing initiatives” and JLTV technological enhancements that include “enhanced corrosion protection and improved fuel efficiency in addition to continuous developments for an updated next-generation vehicle architecture”.

AM General noted that the JLTVs are to be produced at a dedicated military production facility at its Mishawaka Manufacturing Campus in Indiana, which includes an onsite test track to trial JLTVs in a dynamic operating environment. The company cited its “readiness to execute a smooth transition for JLTV production” and said JLTV deliveries would begin 17 months after the contract award.

In a 9 February statement in response to the follow-on award, Oshkosh remarked, “We were disappointed to learn the government’s decision. As the incumbent manufacturer, only Oshkosh’s JLTV proposal leveraged substantial JLTV experience and established infrastructure, while providing best-in-class upgrades to the JLTV platform.”

On whether it would protest the decision, Oshkosh stated, “We are pursuing a debriefing from the government on the basis of the source selection decision in the very near future and cannot comment further at this time.”

AM General noted that the JLTVs are to be produced at a dedicated military production facility at its Mishawaka Manufacturing Campus in Indiana. (Photo: Oshkosh)

Oshkosh had, in fact, recently won more JLTV business just prior to the A2 award. On 6 February 2023 the company announced it had received a USD84.9 M JLTV order from the army that was the third such order in two months, with those contracts having a combined value of USD 730 M and covering more than 2,000 JLTVs.

The US Army stated of the A2 award, “The JLTV follow-on contract request for proposals, in accordance with the Army Climate Strategy, sought to incentivize offerors to propose fuel efficiency technologies that targeted on-the-move fuel economy improvements and anti-idle capability in support of optimizing combat effectiveness. The JLTV A2 design is the first tactical wheeled vehicle with baseline architecture utilizing lithium-ion batteries, which is a key enabler for anti-idle capability.

“Effective competition is the critical element for controlling cost and maximizing buying power for the government,” the army statement noted. “The JLTV engagement strategy with industry has been very successful in establishing executable timelines, adding mature technology insertions, and providing transparency throughout the process to allow contractors to make individual business decisions.”

As AM General and Oshkosh Defense set to work in addressing these requirements for the follow-on JLTV programme, both companies actually went further and have in recent years been developing hybrid electric drive (HED) solutions for light tactical vehicles; AM General has been working with QinetiQ to produce a HED-powered version of its High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee: the vehicle the JLTV is replacing), while Oshkosh has produced a HED-powered ‘eJLTV’. However, the US Army did not stipulate a HED-powered JLTV as part of the A2 recompete.

Peter Felstead