By Ann Roosevelt

The Defense Department and the Army last month co-sponsored a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) international conference to learn more about the future vehicle and to explore cooperative partnerships.

“Further international partnerships in the JLTV program will provide the Army and Marine Corps with an exciting opportunity to expand our international cooperation with our allied, friendly, and coalition partners,” Hank Themak, director, Armaments Cooperation, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, said in a July 29 statetment.

Themak and the Product Manager for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (PM JLTV) co-sponsored the JLTV International Conference in Virginia.

The Army is the lead service for the joint program, where a full production and fielding is anticipated for 2015. The total requirement could be more than 140,000 vehicles.

More than a dozen countries attended the conference, which was the only opportunity for international participation during the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD).

Col. John Myers, project manager for Joint Combat Support Systems, said: “Specifically, interested nations received information on how they can become a partner in the JLTV program during the future EMD phase, while discussing mutual benefits of participation.”

Countries interested going further must submit a Letter of Intent portraying interest and technical elements no later than Sept. 17, which will formally indicate their desire to participate in the JLTV program, the program office said.

Currently, the JLTV program is in a 27-month technology demonstration phase, with BAE Systems, General Tactical Vehicles, a joint venture of General Dynamics [GD] and AM General, and Lockheed Martin [LMT] participating.

For the technology demonstration phase only, Australia has a project arrangement, and the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada have working group arrangements for this phase. During the technology demonstration phase, armor, ballistic hulls, vehicles and trailers will be tested for performance and reliability, and joint warfighter assessments.

But all interested nations, regardless of whether they are participating in the technology demonstration phase, must submit a letter of intent for the EMD phase.

“The JLTV program has really set the framework and opened the door for coalition armed forces to jointly and simultaneously address similar capability gaps surrounding the tactical vehicle imbalance in protection, performance and payload,” Kevin Fahey, Army Program Executive Officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support, said.

International participation in the JLTV program is expected to reduce program risk as the joint services prepare for the challenges of future operations. Both U.S. and allied and coalition partners must have tactical vehicles able to support different missions around the world.

“With JLTV still in the developmental stages, the services are executing an immediate dual-track tactical vehicle approach to rapidly support immediate, theater-specific warfighter needs while simultaneously focusing on the long-term JLTV objectives of balancing critical weight and transportability restrictions within performance, protection and payload requirements for an expeditionary family of light tactical vehicles,” Lt. Col. Wolfgang Petermann, Army product manager for JLTV, said.