Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Oshkosh Defense [OSK] announced their offering for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family has undergone successful armor testing as the Army-Marine Corps program nears selecting competing teams to move forward.

Oshkosh and Plasan USA, which was selected to design and engineer the vehicle’s armor in February, conducted ballistic and mine-blast testing on the team’s JLTV prototype (Defense Daily, Feb. 21). After the first round of testing, they found the armor passed all threshold capability and achieved several objective-level force-protection requirements. Plasan is using an advanced composite-technology armor system that maximizes crew protection while keeping weight impact minimal.

"Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh have designed a vehicle of unique performance and protection that can provide value to the warfighter today yet is flexible enough to meet the combat requirements of tomorrow," Joe Gray Taylor, vice president of Ground Combat Systems at Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector, said in a July 7 statement. "We particularly took on the challenge of armor volume, applying some of our most innovative thinking to the balance of performance, protection payload. The results of the armor testing validate our design and prove we are ready to move smartly to the next stage of the development process."

One advantage the team has in developing its JLTV armor is the incorporation of a diesel-electric drive system, which eliminates the need for a transmission and conventional drivetrain. This allows improved blast protection for the crew.

"The innovative use of a diesel-electric system reduces the number of vehicle components and frees up space to allow for increased survivability for the soldiers in these vehicles," John Stoddart, Oshkosh Corp. executive vice president and president of defense, said. "Our work with Plasan will provide, as it has in the past, the best crew protection possible."

The armor testing was conducted at a world-class testing facility in the United States, used Army research-laboratory standards and was based on government specifications for the JLTV, the statement said. Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh are competing against Raytheon [RTN] and Blackwater, Lockheed Martin [LMT] and BAE Systems, General Dynamics [GD] and AM General, Boeing [BA] and Textron [TXT], BAE and Navistar [NAVZ], and Force Protection [FRPT] and DRS Technologies [DRS].

The Defense Department is expected to decide soon which industry competitors will continue into the 27-month Technology Development phase for the potential $40 billion program.

Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corp. joined forces to compete for the JLTV program on Jan. 8 (Defense Daily, Jan. 9). If selected, Northrop Grumman will be the prime contractor and systems integrator. Oshkosh’s Defense Group will be responsible for designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicle.