The Army yesterday issued the long-awaited request for proposals (RFP) for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, as the Defense Department released its budget priorities and choices, supporting the program.

Industry teams that took part in the earlier Technology Demonstration phase are looking the solicitation over to determine if they will submit proposals and move forward.

The Army intends to award up to three contracts during the summer for the EMD phase for the delivery of 22 prototype vehicles per contract.

DoD’s budget White Paper released yesterday said the fiscal year 2013 president’s budget "terminated upgrades and focused modernization resources" on JLTV. DoD can’t afford to spend resources on programs deemed in excess to requirements, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a Pentagon briefing. Specific program figures await the February budget release.

JLTV has critics in Congress over its cost, now expected to be somewhere south of $300,000 per vehicle. Some members felt it was more cost-effective to modernize the large fleet of Humvees than buy a new vehicle.

The JLTV is part of the Army’s Tactical Wheeled Vehicle strategy as the next generation light tactical vehicle fleet to fill the capability gap between the Humvee and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles (Defense Daily, Jan 28).  

Earlier this week, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno said the JLTV was the service’s third modernization priority.  Wheeled vehicle fleet modernization must be done because “we cannot just continue to keep adding on to the (Humvee).” Based on combat lessons learned the JLTV will must provide protection, while allowing more maneuverability. JLTV is also integral to the Army network, as the vehicle will have a built in integrated network backbone, making it “our first tactical wheeled vehicle Network-ready.”

The JLTV family is expected to replace part of the Army and Marine Corps’ Humvee fleets with a next generation wheeled vehicle, that is to balance critical weight and transportability constraints within performance, protection, and payload requirements. It also is to be an affordable solution for the Army and Marines. The Army and Marines worked out differences to arrive at common requirements.

"Both the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps have identified critical capability gaps in their respective light tactical vehicle fleets." said Kevin Fahey, Program Executive Officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS). “JLTV is the most cost-effective program to meet capability gaps for the light tactical vehicles with the most demanding missions.”

Three industry teams took part in the previous JLTV Technology Demonstration phase: General Tactical Vehicles (GTV), a team comprised of General Dynamics [GD] and AM General; a Lockheed Martin [LMT]-BAE Systems team; and a BAE SystemsNavistar International Corp. [NAVZ].

At this point, GTV has received the JLTV EMD solicitation and the team is currently “performing a detailed review of the document,” a spokesman said.

Lockheed Martin also is evaluating the RFP. “Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the JLTV program,” a company statement said. “We are encouraged by the actions the Army, Marines and Congress have taken to secure JLTV funding. Our proposal team is active, having completed several detailed reviews of the customer’s requirements, and we are evaluating the final RFP.”

The BAE team does plan to submit a bid. “We look forward to the competition, confident that our solution will meet requirements for both capability and cost,” a company spokeswoman said. 

JLTV is a major Army-Marine Corps acquisition program for a new generation wheeled vehicle that will replace a portion of the services’ High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet. The program’s aim is to develop a new multi-mission light vehicle family with superior crew protection and performance compared to the HMMWVs.

William Taylor, Program Executive Officer Land Systems Marine Corps, said: "The Technology Development (TD) phase for this program did exactly what it was intended to do-provide the basis for the cost-informed trades that resulted in a common Army and Marine Corps requirement. It serves as a model for how the services looking forward should operate in a cost-constrained budget environment."

In the spring of 2011, JLTV successfully completed a 27-month TD phase–satisfying its intended purpose of demonstrating the integration of mature technologies as a complete system and providing the Army and Marines with an assessment of the technical, performance cost and schedule risks relevant to entering the EMD Phase.

Col. David Bassett, project manager for Tactical Vehicles, said: "The TD phase gave the Army and USMC exactly the kind of information we needed concur on a common base requirement, a streamlined acquisition schedule and a competitive process to ensure JLTV remains affordable."

Following submission of proposals, the government will convene a source selection evaluation board, comprised of subject matter experts from across the Department of Defense, to review the industry proposals.

Additional deliverables include ballistic structures, armor coupons, additional test assets, contractor furnished kits, trailers and data requirements.

The refined 27-month acquisition strategy is designed to put a premium on driving down costs, reducing risk and getting vehicles into the hands of Warfighters quicker.

The JLTV EMD contract period of performance for contractors is 27-months. The full EMD phase will last for 33-months as the program offices ensures JLTV moves successfully from Milestone B to Milestone C.

The RFP can be viewed at: http://contracting.tacom.army.mil/majorsys/jltv_emd/jltv_emd.htm.