As the Army grows to the size authorized under the fiscal 2019 budget request, the number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) it needs likely will grow with it, according to a recent report on the JLTV program by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The Army currently plans to buy 49,100 JLTVs from Oshkosh Defense [OSK] to replace a sizeable portion of its Humvee fleet.
JLTV is currently in low-rate initial production with a full-rate production decision expected before October.
Funding for the program in the Defense Department’s fiscal 2019 has nearly to $2 billion – enough for 5,113 trucks – from $1.1 billion for 2,777 trucks in fiscal 2018.
Every service was granted an increase in endstrength in the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget request. The Army plans to convert an existing Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) to an armored BCT, activate three new security force assistance brigades and send another brigade’s worth of vehicles an equipment to Europe. In all, the service plans to grow to 1,030,500 soldiers, 4,000 more active duty troops than the endstrength authorized in the current fiscal year, which in turn builds upon the 8,500-soldier increase authorized by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act but is not yet funded.
“Although it remains to be seen whether the services will grow to the levels proposed by the Administration, as well as create the additional force structure described above, some growth in force structure seems likely,” the CRS report, published Feb. 27, says. “As part of this growth, it is likely overall JLTV requirements for the services would increase correspondingly. In this regard, as force structure changes become clearer, it might be beneficial for oversight if the services issue revised requirements for JLTV procurement.”
Army officials have not publicly mentioned a desire or need to increase the number of JLTVs the service will buy. However, shortly after tapping Oshkosh to build the truck, the Army chose JLTV for its Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV) program, instead of procuring a new system. Because it is an interim solution, the Army has not committed to purchasing additional JLTVs to fulfill the LRV role.
The Marine Corps already has decided to increase its JLTV buy from its initial 5,500 program of record to 9,091, a 65 percent increase. Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has publicly stated the Marine Corps’ expected need for more JLTVs than initially planned.
Meanwhile, other services and allied militaries have jumped on the JLTV bandwagon.
The Air Force plans to replace some of its security force, explosive ordnance disposal, pararescue, tactical air control and special tactics Humvees with JLTVs and eventually its entire 3,270 Humvee fleet. Air Force budget documents detail JLTV procurement only from fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2022.
The British Army became the first international JLTV customer with a $1 billion order for 2,747 JLTVs.
According to the Government Accountability Office’s March 2017 Assessments of Major Weapons Programs, a JLTV procurement quantity of 53,372 vehicles will cost $19 billion, including $122 million for research, development, test and engineering and $19 billion for procurement.