The Army will protect the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program from sequestration-related budget cuts, service Secretary John McHugh said Wednesday.

“It’s our intent to protect that,” McHugh told a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington. “We think it is an absolutely essential platform.”

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is a major Army and Marine Corps  program. Photo: Lockheed Martin
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is a major Army and Marine Corps program. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Sequestration caps the Defense Department budget at $523 billion for fiscal year 2016. DoD requested $534 billion for fiscal year 2016, which doesn’t include $51 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding exempt from sequestration. The Army wants $147 billion for FY ’16, down from the $149 billion enacted last fiscal year.

McHugh also said the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) is another program the Army is “particularly focused” on protecting. The AMPV is a track-wheeled vehicle to replace the Army’s M113 vehicles. The Army in December awarded BAE Systems a contract worth up to $1.2 billion for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) and low-rate initial production (LRIP) phases of the program. The initial award for the EMD phase is worth approximately $383 million and covers 29 vehicles across five variants: general purpose, mission command, mortar carrier, medical evacuation and medical treatment vehicles (Defense Daily, Dec. 29).

“The M113 armored personnel carrier is long outdated,” McHugh said. “Both from a tactical perspective but also from a soldier safety perspective, we think (AMPV) is an absolutely necessary program and we’re going to do everything we can to keep that going as well.”

DoD requested $457 million in FY ’16 for JLTV, enough to procure a total LRIP buy of 559 vehicles: 445 for the Army and 109 for the Marine Corps. The Army, on behalf of itself and the Marine Corps, will select a winner and issue a single contract award. Lockheed Martin [LMT]-BAE Systems, AM General and Oshkosh Defense [OSK] have bid for the program.

The winning contractor will build about 17,000 JLTVs for the two services throughout three years of LRIP and five years of full-rate production (FRP). The first Army unit would be equipped with vehicles by FY ’18 (Defense Daily, Feb. 10).