JLTV competitors focus on Marine needs

JLTV competitors focus on Marine needs

QUANTICO, Va. — The Army plans to buy ten times as many Joint Light Tactical Vehicles as the Marine Corps, yet the three defense companies selected in the latest round of the truck competition remain focused on the Corps’ priorities for the vehicle: transportability, survivavability, and affordability.

Transportability by ship and by helicopter is the clincher for Corps officials. Size and weight are two of the first questions that Marines ask defense companies to ensure the vehicle can sling load under a Ch-53 Sea Stallion and fit aboard a ship.

The Marine Corps plans to partially replace its Humvee fleet of 24,000 vehicles with the JLTV. Marine leaders want to buy at least 5,500 JLTVs starting in 2017. Leadership plans to supplement the rest of the Humvee replacement with a Humvee improvement program it will start in 2013.


Lockheed Martin, AM General and Oshkosh — the three companies awarded engineering, manufacturing and development contracts in August — displayed their versions of the JLTVat  Modern Day Marine at Quantico, Va., this week. Each one said the fact the Marine Corps will buy fewer JLTVs does not make their requirements any less important.

The companies bidding on the JLTV program let out sigh of relief in 2011 when the Army and Marine Corps salvaged the program from the budget axe by compromising on JLTV requirements to make it cheaper.

One of the most notable compromises made was increasing the maximum weight of the JLTV from 12,600 pounds to 14,000 pounds to keep companies from having to use “exquisite materials” in their designs. Scrapping the titanium mufflers allowed the companies to drop the per vehicle cost to a more stomachable $250,000 per vehicle price tag for Congress.

That’s not to say the JLTV lost its requirement to sling under a Sea Knight or a Chinook keeping Marine leaders happy. John Bryant, the  general manager for Joint and Marine programs at Oshkosh, said the company has a keen focus on the transportability of their vehicle.

Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said his team consistently meets with Marine leaders to make sure the vehicle is meeting their requirements.

Outside of transporting the JLTV, Marine officials are excited about the increase gas mileage the JLTV will offer versus the up armored vehicles. Whichever JLTV the Pentagon chooses will drive at 11 miles per gallon. Most MRAPs or MATVs get 5 miles per gallon or worse.

“At some point with gas costing up to $400 a gallon in theatre, the vehicle starts paying for itself,” Greene said.

The next step for the program is building 22 vehicles for the joint JLTV program office to test. Leaders from each company said the decision by Navistar to cancel their protest will help by keeping the program on schedule.

“Avoiding the protest and staying on the schedule helps us from a produce vehicles and making sure everything is ready to go,” Bryant said.

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Military vehicles are a lot like police vehicles. They do a lot of slow cruising or idling then a lot high speed driving. If the MRAPs are kept in service, an engine with modern cylinder deactivation and hybrid motor for idling and low speed.

Transportability by ship and by helicopter is the clincher for Corps officials. Size and weight are two of the first questions that Marines ask defense companies to ensure the vehicle can sling load under a Ch-53 Sea Stallion and fit aboard a ship.

Well, yeah, but doesn’t that issue apply to the Army as well? Yes, I know they don’t tend to deploy in the same way that the Marine Corps does, but they still have to worry about air and sea transportation of equipment; after all, it’s been a long time since the US has had to fight either Canada or Mexico. ;)

True but the USMC requirements are more stringent. Fitting on an LSD is more difficult than fitting on a LMSR just as being carried by a CH-53 is more difficult than being carried by a C-130/C-17. If it works for the marines, it will work for the Army. It doesn’t work the otherway around.

Fitting on an LSD is not a problem for any conceivable variant of JLTV. I have deployed with dozens of trucks, tanks and SP Arty loaded aboard the LSD to say nothing of carrying LVTs. The Amphibious ships can carry heavy armor so you can be damn sure that they can carry the JLTV.

The main problem is they keep picking giant target size vehicles so anything out side of Iraq style fighting the JLTV is worthless for scouting and recon purposes too BIG. The Military is jumping the gun a bit saying they by this or that many when they dont know what there budget will be for next year alone.

Curt — Besides agreement with OldRetSWO, the Chinook lifts less than the CH53 so the Army requirement would be more stringent in that area.

Also “If it works for the marines, it will work for the Army” isn’t always true. That’s why the Army has Bradleys, self propelled artillery and scout helicopters

“remain focused on the Corps’ priorities for the vehicle: transportability, survivavability, and affordability.”

Uh, what are the Army’s different priorities that support a focus on the Marine vs. Army requirements? (Ans: They aren’t different)

I guess sometimes DCs proximity to Quantico and attending Modern Day Marine and listening to the vendors there colors writer’s perspectives?

The Army has a history and a tendency to allow their land vehicles to evolve into large, heavy and difficult to transport items. The reason for the difference is that the Marines who operate in all three environments (air, land and sea) using their own assets have to live and die by their decisions while the Army depends upon the Air Force for air transport into theater using heavy lift cargo aircraft that the Air Force is tasked with adapting to the Armys needs. Marines depend largely upon CH-53, 46 and now Osprey for short distance delivery of troops and equipment including vehicles, armor and artillery. They use their own KC-130 tankers for medium range troop and light equipment delivery whose primary mission is inflight refueling and must have the huge center tank installed. Additionally, transport upon ship is a more demanding situation with limited numbers of assets and Marines preposition equipment at sea on ships specially designed and dedicated to that prepositioning. None of those requirements exist for the Army. While there is some overlap Marines have always operated with the requirement for maximum mobility through organic assets and capabilities specifically to avoid the problems with relying upon external services through the Air Force, etc. The Navy/Marine team is a closely married capability developed specifically for that purpose in addition to the Marines in house capabilities. Marines train and conduct both aircraft and shipboard logistics operations continuously unlike any other service.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Good point! (Though I wouldn’t want to characterize the Corps as a squeaky wheel)

Bring back the Jeep!
Yes, it’s that simple.

True, an LSD can carry pretty much anything, thats not the question. But a JLTV doesn’t have to just fit on a LSD, it has to fit on a LSD in pretty much the exact same spot as the equipment it is replacing. Thats a whole different level of difficulty and that is the driver.

All true, but in the case of the JLTV, specific USMC requirements appear to be the driver for vehicle development. For instance, from the article the maximum width and height of the vehicle is probably driven by the USMC requirements. That ultimately has a lot more impact to the vehicle than say, onboard power generation, which is probably driven by the USA requirements.

Actually it isn’t. There are definitely places like CONUS bases where a jeep could be used for personnel transport but modern-day equipment requires a lot more electical power than a jeep could begin to generate. The mobility requirements that the HMMWV meets would be impossible for a jeep (ground clearance for one and fording anbility for another). The equipment that won World War II was great for World War II but technology and tactics have advanced from that point. We don’t have the luxury of dozens of divisions of troops any more so we have to make the most that we can with the people that we’ve got. Thus, the need for body and vehicle armor, more high tech communications gear and of course all of the night fighting gear that allows the US soldier to operate in darkness while the enemy is severaly disadvantaged.

Again, not really. Having been on many amphibious deployments, I never saw the same stowage and load from one deployment to the next. What they are worried about is the “cube” (three dimensional space taken up by the item) and how much the combined additional cube within the MEU (SOC) will affect the overall ability to fit within the amphibious shipping.

More they change the requirements for the vehicle competition more likely this will get canceled like other competitions. I know they need certain requiements, safety, protections, fuel-considerations, power-generating requirements. It take time, alot of it develop entirely new vehicles, i hope Marines aren’t suddenly changing things again because of political considerations with the industries.

You’re assuming.

The Army also has height/width requirements (we deploy to the same places on the same or very similar ships/aircraft) . Consider the author got the idea from visiting the Modern Day Marine Conf at Quantico and the impact the sales pitch from the vendor made on him.

It would be nice just like the 80’s when they introduced the HUMVEE to have a vehicle for training as well, not only for combat. I know the unit I am in only has armored HUMVEE. The light skinned HUMVEE is long gone.

So what does the average soldier do with this problem. Well, the lack of comfort sitting and driving a armored HUMVEE is unbearable for training. Everyone hates them in a CONUS environment.

My question is: Is there going to be a light skinned version of the JLTV or are they all going to be heavy and unsustainable on dirt and muddy roads for training.

Just an observation. I know the benefits to armored vehicles, but the usage for the CONUS environment is somewhat limited to actual FTX. You do not need a 250.000 vehicle to drag a water buffalo or a trailer behind.

What is the Army doing to bridge the gap between the forward deployed IED protected vehicle and the vehicle soldiers (just like the HUMVEE when it first came out) can easily use for training in the woods and backroads.

Are we all going to have to drive a 13.000 lbs behemot in the woods?

Someone help me out on this one please

The JLTV is replacing around 20% of the Army’s humvee fleet, so we’ll still have plenty of humvees for mundane logistical tasks for the foreseable future.

Brass — “The Army has a history and a tendency to allow their land vehicles to evolve into large, heavy and difficult to transport items.”

Examples? I think the Bradley in comparison to the AAVP7 is the only example which is hardly a trend.

The talking point that the army has difficulty transporting its equipment is an unsupproted talking point. The Army had consistently deployed light and heavy units before or equal to the Marines (e.g. Korea, Desert Storm, OIF). It gets repeated a lot but it’s hardly true.

If it were such a dealbreaker the Marines would’ve supported the M8 and used that as their armored platform, but no, they wanted a Mark I Bolo.

Amusingly, a number of Humvees will be of the armored type-because sadly the unarmored ones got chewed up by Iraq and Afghanistan…not necessarily by shaped charges and anti-tank mines, but by extended use.

Whatever’s left is whatever the army last bought-and it wasn’t unarmored Humvees.

Great point!

The Jeep J8 is being produced and is used by many countries! There is an armor kit for it too and J8 meets Milspec, including the concerns you have stated.
Here’s a link: http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​J​e​e​p​_J8

I drive a Milspec Jeep Wrangler ( 6 speed stick) for my daily driver and it is awesome!

The J8 recon vehicle (armored) with it’s heavier suspension — turbo disel engine — higher ground clearance, is an awesome vehicle and would be welcomed by many — especialy the marines (cheaper than repairing and recaping HUMVEE’s and WAY cheaper to buy than JLTV)> The big problem and game stopper is that it is a sole source contract and not allowed by regulations within the DoD world. Many of the items under competition right now were already avail by a sole source but sense we cant do that we take all the capabilities of that item and write them down for contractors to come up with something close at a higher cost to allow for R&D and tooling of the bidders. You would think with the budget woes they would trhow this reg out as soon as possible.

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