Three companies compete to develop replacement Humvee

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The three companies who won the contract to develop prototype replacements for the Humvee each made their respective cases as to why their designs ultimately should prevail, during the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Oshkosh Defense, and AM General Corp. each proudly displayed their respective prototype variants of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) on the exhibition floors, while providing narratives of how they are ready to meet the Army’s and Marine Corps’ performance, cost, and production requirements.

On Aug. 22, the three companies prevailed in an open competition to move on to the engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) phase, carrying a price tag of $190 million.

Under the contract, each company must produce 22 vehicles in various configurations.

The first 20 are due next August – one year after the date the contracts were awarded.

The remaining vehicles are due next October.

Lockheed Martin’s version is being built in collaboration with BAE Systems, at BAE’s Sealy, Texas vehicle production plant.

"Ours is complementary to the Humvee, and can achieve the force protection of some of the smaller MRAP [mine-resistant, ambush-protected] vehicles now in use at 40 percent of the weight," said Kathryn Hasse, the JLTV project program manager at Lockheed Martin.

The Lockheed Martin prototype’s power train includes a Cummins engine and an Allison transmission.

Jeff Adams, a communications director with AM General, spoke of their vehicle as the best choice in terms of affordability, and survival capability, and efficient production.

The AM General design centers upon a crew-capsule protection approach, which prevailed in testing.

The design had been pitted against a blast-chimney design, intended to minimize the harmful effects of improvised explosive devices. It is powered by a high-performance, six-cylinder engine, which weighs 550 pounds and can deliver up to 300 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque.

Since AM General manufactures its own engines and transmissions for the vehicle, the company believes production would not be hindered by work interruptions at subcontractors’ or partners’ plants.

The vehicle will be assembled at AM General’s Mishawaka, Ind., facility.

Dave Dierson, the former Marine who now is director of Oshkosh Defense’s JLTV program, said his company’s vehicle successfully completed the NATO 400-hour test and proved its capability in the process.

"This vehicle is truly a system engineered for protected mobility," Dierson said.

Adding, "It is a solution that meets all the transportability requirements."

The Oshkosh Defense vehicle offers a patented Tak-4 Independent suspension, which further increases reliability, durability, and ride quality, Dierson said.

"We have easily achieved the government-stated cost requirements with a highly capable, high-performing vehicle," Dierson added.