American auto manufacturing titan Ford Motor Co. chose not to stray from the Explorer or F-150 and pulled out of the competition to build the military's Humvee replacement Monday.
Pentagon leaders asked Ford officials to consider the possibility of joining the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle competition. Raytheon Co. and Future Force agreed to work with Ford to submit a bid. Once the three companies saw the deadlines set by the new Request for Proposals issued by the Army last month, all three companies decided to sit this one out.
"Ford, Raytheon and Future Force ... have reviewed the Request for Proposal for the JLTV program and decided to pass because we are unable to meet the program's timing requirements,: said Ford spokesman Mike Levine.
JLTV program officials received a boost of confidence when the Army chose to cancel the Humvee Recap program. Army leaders and Congress chose to go all in with the JLTV rather than spend millions to keep building off the three decade old Humvee chassis.
A defense insider speculated that Raytheon, the most experienced in defense contracts of the three, informed Ford the competition was too far ahead and the investment required to catch up would not be worth it.
Ford's interest in the contract has defense analysts fascinated at what their manufacturing muscle could bring to the Army tactical wheeled strategy even if it means the car and truck company doesn't compete to build the JLTV.
Ford has made significant leaps in its hybrid technology, which the Pentagon continues to show interest. If the Defense Department focused more on operations and maintenance costs for new acquisitions, which often make up 70 percent of the life cycle costs, adding hybrid technologies would be cinch for the Army and Marine Corps' tactical wheeled modernization strategy.
However, the focus remains primarily on the per vehicle price tag meaning an expensive hybrid system doesn't help JLTV program managers keep the JLTV's per vehicle cost near the targeted $250,000.