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JLTV shakeup reinserts Ford into truck competition

BAE Systems split from its former Joint Light Tactical Vehicle partner and joined forces with Ford Motor Co. before submitting their proposal Tuesday to replace the Humvee.

BAE Systems was one of five six teams to submit proposals for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the competition to include Navistar's solo bid.

Members of Congress grabbed the Army and the defense industry's attention when they pined for Ford to get involved in the competition after the American automaker signaled interest. Ford eventually claimed it would back out after company officials claimed they didn't have enough time to put together a competitive proposal.

When Navistar and BAE Systems split, and BAE Systems needed a company to build them an engine, the obvious answer was Ford, a BAE official said. Ford will offer the Power Stroke 6.7 liter turbocharged diesel engine to power BAE's vehicle. The engine is the same one that runs Ford's F-Series Super Duty trucks.

It's unclear who left who in the last minute split between BAE and Navistar as leaders from both companies claimed it was an amicable separation. However, Navistar certainly raised some eyebrows in October when it independently introduced the Saratoga, a vehicle that looked a lot like a lighter version of the truck the Army wanted to replace its Humvee.

Many asked why the company would invest in the Saratoga if it planned to continue its partnership with BAE Systems on the JLTV competition. Pat MacArevey, a Navistar executive, explained back in October that they saw a need for the Saratoga, the JLTV, and the since canceled Humvee Recap for the Army.

“We still have complete confidence we can deliver the JLTV, but as a company we always look to fill a need that we see and this case the Army has a need in between the Humvee Recap and JLTV," MacArevey said in October.

BAE Systems JLTV Capture Lead Glenn Lamartin admitted he found it peculiar for a partner company to build a separate vehicle so similar to their joint venture. Navistar spokeswoman Elisa Koc said that as requirements changed so did Navistar's plans for their submission to the JLTV competition.

The Army plans to buy at least 50,000 JLTVs while the Marine Corps plans to buy 2,500. Two JLTV variants will be built: the Combat Tactical Vehicle that can carry four troops and the Combat Support Vehicle that carries only two, but also an additional 1,600 pounds.

Other than BAE Systems and Navistar, the three other defense teams that submitted proposals for the 27-month EMD phase were Lockheed Martin, General Tactical Vehicles-AM General, and Oshkosh.

Builder of the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle, Oshkosh will offer the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV). Its engineers have boasted throughout the competition that they've been ready to submit the L-ATV well before the March 27 deadline for the EMD phase.

AM General, of course, has built the Humvee since the 1980s. Their leadership team expects to have an advantage from their years building the standard bearer for the combat truck in the U.S. military the past three decades.

"With the GTV JLTV Eagle, we offer a modified non-developmental, low-risk vehicle with inherent manufacturing readiness that is built for program success and an accelerated path to production," said Mark Roualet, General Dynamics Land Systems presidents, in a statement.

Kathryn Hasse, Lockheed's JLTV program director, said on a conference call with reporters that her team's vehicle significantly cut out costs when the Army and Marine Corps reduced the weight requirements and the need to install exotic materials such as titanium mufflers.

Army and Marine Corps leaders want to deliver the JLTV for $250,000 per vehicle. Officials from each company said that was possible under the new requirements.

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