Soldiers and Marines will have a better idea who will build their Humvee replacement this Friday when the Army is expected to announce the three companies who will compete to win the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract.
Six industry teams are vying to build the JLTV and earn one of the three 27-month Engineering and Manufacturing Development contracts that stipulates each team produce 22 trucks. The Army will pick from those three teams to choose who will build the Army and Marine Corps' JLTV fleet.
The contract up for grabs is one of the largest available available for bid from the Pentagon. The reduction in planned spending means these contracts mean even more to the defense companies looking to stem losses. The Army plans to buy at least 50,000 vehicles while the Marine Corps plans to buy 5,000.
Both service want to keep the price tag no higher than $250,000 per vehicle. The JLTV program appeared doomed to be replaced by the Humvee Recap program until Army and Marine Corps officials sat down at the bargaining table and agreed to cut certain requirements to get down to the $250,000 figure.
The JLTV has faced a string of delays in the past to include the awarding of the EMD contract, but sources inside the Pentagon appear confident the announcement will be made Friday.
In what was expected to be a three horse race for the EMD contract, the playing field grew to six in the weeks leading up to the deadline to submit proposals for the contract.
The three teams that entered the technology development phase of the competition included General Tactical Vehicles (General Dynamics and AM General), BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, and Navistar and BAE Systems. Weeks before the deadline, though, teams started splitting off to offer separate bids causing a chain reaction.
Navistar split from BAE Systems to offer their Saratoga vehicle. AM General then announced they'd offer an independent bid even though they promised to continue to work together with General Dynamics on their General Tactical Vehicles bid. BAE Systems announced that the Ford Company would build the engine for their newly independent bid once Navistar bolted.
Meanwhile, Oshkosh announced months earlier that they would enter the competition. And through it all, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, never broke up their team.
It's possible that AM General and BAE Systems could have multiple bids selected for the EMD contract or none at all.