The U.S. government selected Oshkosh Defense to produce the replacement for Humvee, perhaps the second-most identifiable U.S. military vehicle behind the Willys-based Jeep.
The $6.7 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, program has been a hotly contested contract and Oshkosh beat out AM General, the previous build of the Humvee, and Lockheed Martin, which is best-known as an aircraft manufacturer.
The Humvee has been around for decades, replacing the Jeep as the primary mover of soldiers on bases and battlefields. More than 280,000 Humvees have been built during the years and the vehicles have been modified to provide a variety of uses for the military.
However, the recent events have shown that U.S. soldiers need a new vehicle designed to handle varied battle theaters ranging from mountains to urban areas. The JLTV program has been in development for more than a decade with more than 22 different models created for U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) review since 2005.
“Following a rigorous, disciplined JLTV competition, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are giving our nation’s Warfighers the most capable light vehicle — the Oshkosh JLTV,” said Charles Szews, CEO, Oshkosh Corp.
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The new vehicle includes improved blast protection against improvised explosive devices as well as outstanding off-road capability and it’s easily loaded into the cargo hold of a C-130: the U.S. military’s primary aircraft for moving people and vehicles around the world.
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While the win sounds good, and Oshkosh will build 17,000 vehicles as part of the contract, the deal is only for low-rate initial production and full-rate production. Ultimately, the contract could grow to $30 billion with more than 55,000 of the vehicles produced.
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“Because of the JLTV program, our Soldiers and Marines are getting a level technical performance that no other vehicle can match,” said John Arias, president of Oshkosh Defense and a retired Army Major General.