A House Armed Services Committee (HASC) panel is seeking more information on the Army’s Common Tactical Truck (CTT) program, citing concerns the service only included $16.3 million in its budget request to further development of the new heavy tactical truck effort.

“This amount suggests the Army is willing to trade off the opportunity presented by commercial industry’s interest to develop and field a 21st century heavy truck fleet to support Army and other defense logistics requirements now and into the future,” HASC’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee wrote in its markup

for the next defense policy, released Wednesday and set to be considered on Thursday.

FORT MCCOY, Wis. – A heavy expanded mobility tactical truck (HEMTT) prepares to recover another vehicle that has been immobilized by a mock improvised explosive device during a combat support training exercise at Fort McCoy, Wis., Aug. 21, 2016. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. Clinton Massey, 206th Broadcast Operations Detachment)

The panel notes in its mark that the Army’s Heavy Tactical Vehicle fleet “has reached its design maturity with significant obsolescence and repair parts challenges,” citing support for the Army’s approach to pursue a pathway “that maximizes use of current commercial heavy truck capabilities and commonality.”

“The committee is interested in this effort as prototypes using commercial heavy truck capability could optimize available and emerging commercial-off-the-shelf technologies such as advanced driver assistance systems, digital design, improved fuel economy, predictive maintenance, diagnostics, and prognostics technologies. The committee is also interested to learn if this approach will set conditions for lower development cost and later procurement costs at commercial economies of scale,” the panel writes.

CTT, formerly known as Next Generation Future Truck, is intended to replace the Army’s Palletized Load System A1 and Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck A4 and M915 and M1088 Tractors, with new variants that utilize a common chassis.

The Army released the draft Request for Prototype Proposals for CTT in late February following a short delay to ensure senior leadership input on the program’s path, with the panel noting prototype deals are planned to be awarded in December (Defense Daily, March 1). 

“The committee supports this accelerated effort given the apparent risk with current fleets, the criticality of logistics capability in large scale combat operations, as well as providing for increased competition and innovation in the tactical wheeled vehicle industrial base,” lawmakers write in the mark.

The subcommittee’s mark directs the Army to provide a report to HASC by late December detailing the Army’s acquisition strategy for CTT to include information on required characteristics for the future truck, such as desired mission roles, commonality, propensity for leader-follower or autonomy-ready technologies, force protection and survivability, and demand reduction.

The panel is also seeking details on the overall CTT schedule, to include future soldier touchpoints, the contracting strategy, the test and evaluation plan, the planned funding profile over the next several years, and potential issues with transitioning the program from prototyping into production.

In a Jan. 24 notice to industry, the Army detailed plans to open the CTT program with a multi-phased prototyping effort, to include awarding up to five deals with each vendor responsible for delivering three test vehicles (Defense Daily, Jan. 27).

The initial production contract for the CTT program may be worth $5.1 billion and cover over 7,000 vehicles, according to the same notice to industry.