Lockheed Martin [LMT] Oct. 15 said it will move production of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to the company’s award-winning Camden, Ark., manufacturing complex–in the wake of key subcontractor BAE Systems plan revealed yesterday to close its Sealy, Texas plant where program prototypes were produced.

JLTV          Photo: Lockheed Martin

The prototypes were for the JLTV program’s Technology Development and Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phases.

Lockheed Martin Director–JLTV at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Kathryn Hasse said moving production to the Camden plant will result in “significant” savings and efficiencies for the Army and Marines.

The government has an affordability target in mind for the program. However, as the program is still in competition, the actual savings figures are not being released, she said during a roundtable yesterday..

Lockheed Martin is in competition with AM General and Oshkosh Corp. [OSK] on the JLTV program for the more capable and survivable Humvee replacement (Defense Daily, Aug. 15). 

“Lockheed Martin is implementing a low-risk production plan that will take advantage of the proven, outstanding Camden manufacturing operation and help make our JLTV more affordable for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Hasse said a production contract award is currently expected in the summer of 2015, with the vehicles due about 10 months later, and “so we don’t anticipate any difference whatsoever in delivering the same quality vehicles as were provided from Sealy.”

BAE Systems will remain a key partner on the Lockheed Martin JLTV team, providing integrated armored cabs and protection solutions and other vehicle manufacturing expertise, the Hasse said.

The technology demonstrators and EMD vehicles built on the Sealy production line proved the high quality vehicles could be produced and processes made it happen, Hasse said. Thus, Lockheed Martin will be using processes and tooling and evaluating further efforts to simplify production.

“We expect no difficulties in meeting the customer production schedule for the JLTV production program,” Hasse said. The company thought about such a move as part of its contingency planning, but until BAE made the business decision and made it public no detailed discussions on how it all might work have been held. It is likely that some Sealy employees could move to Arkansas, as well as some tooling.

Additionally, Lockheed Martin expects the teaming agreement with BAE Systems to stay in place with the terms of the agreement to be modified as the program moves forward, Hasse said.

“BAE Systems remains committed to Lockheed Martin and our JLTV program,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles for BAE Systems. “Recognizing the budget pressures our customers face, the team is reshaping our efforts to provide the most cost competitive offering with exceptional technical capability and product quality to our end users.”

Lockheed Martin’s Camden complex has a strong reputation for on-schedule delivery of high quality products including High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missiles and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ground vehicles.

Over the last decade Camden has won more than 60 awards for quality, safety, security and community service.