Despite an ongoing legal challenge to its contract, truck-maker Oshkosh Corp. remains bullish on its ability to produce a Humvee replacement for the Army and Marine Corps.
The company based in the Wisconsin city of the same name displayed a four-door variant of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, this week at the Modern Day Marine military expo at Quantico, Virginia.
"Oshkosh is very proud to have been awarded the JLTV production contract," John Bryant, senior vice president for defense programs at the company, said in an interview on Wednesday with Military.com.
"Our team has been working for a number of years to develop the finest light tactical vehicle on the face of the planet and you see that vehicle behind me with the Oshkosh JLTV," he added. "In terms of what sets Oshkosh apart and our JLTV, I would say it's probably three things: the technical performance of the vehicle, our experience and our ability to execute the JLTV program."
The Army last month awarded Oshkosh a $6.7 billion contract to build the first 17,000 production models of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The work could eventually be worth some $30 billion, as the Army and Marine Corps plan to buy a total of nearly 55,000 of the combat vehicles, including 49,100 for the Army and 5,500 for the Corps, to replace about a third of the Humvee fleets.
A couple of weeks later, defense-contracting giant Lockheed Martin Corp., who competed for the program, as did Humvee-maker, AM General LLC, protested the Army's decision to award the contract to Oshkosh.
Bryant didn't mention the contractual challenge, which threatens to delay the program by at least three months. But he talk about some of the features of the Oshkosh JLTV, which offers a similar level of protection to its Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV, -- built for the war in Afghanistan -- but at a third less weight.
The JLTV will come in two basic variants, including a four-door and a two-door, Bryant said. Both can be transported via CH-47 Chinook or CH-53E Super Stallion cargo helicopters -- or in an amphibious ship, he said. Each variant then has specialized configurations, he said.
"Within the four-door variant, there's a general purpose vehicle, a heavy guns carrier and a close-combat weapons carrier that carries TOW missiles," he said, referring to the manned or optionally unmanned weapon station that can fire tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided projectiles. "The two-door variant can be configured either to carry a shelter or to carry cargo or troops in the back.
"What the vehicle really brings to the table is it brings MRAP levels of protection, particularly protection similar to the Oshkosh MATV, and it packages it in a system about one-third lighter for that transportability," he said. "On the four-door variant for example, the curb weight is less than 14,000 pounds."
Check out our interview with Bryant below. If the video doesn't load, you can watch it here: http://www.military.com/video/combat-vehicles/mine-resistant-vehicles/modern-day-marine-oshkosh-defense-jltv/4504133748001/.