A contract protest has pushed the initial operational capability date back a year for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle -- the much-anticipated Humvee replacement for the Army and Marine Corps, a Defense official said Wednesday.
Testifying before a panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Thomas Dee, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management, said a contract award protest and resultant rescheduling challenges for completion of testing had put the program a little more than a year behind schedule.
Lockheed Martin Corp. had filed a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims late last year after the Army announced it would give Oshkosh Corp. the contract to build the JLTV. Lockheed ultimately withdrew the contract in February.
Prior to the delay, the Army was expected to reach the operational milestone for the JLTV in 2019 and the Marine Corps in 2018.
"We don’t account for potential protests in our schedules, generally," Dee said. "We try to establish our selection criteria so that it’s very clear to vendors, so we’re at minimal risk of protest, but that doesn’t stop protests from happening."
He added that the Defense Department gets about 2,000 contract protests per year from the tens of thousands of contracts it awards.
Ultimately, the Army plans to acquire more than 49,000 JLTVs, while the Marine Corps plans to buy 5,500.
While the Marine Corps' amphibious combat vehicle program also saw contract protests, Dee said the schedule impact has been minimal.
General Dynamics Corp. protested the contract award for the ACV to BAE Plc and SAIC last December, appealing to the Government Accountability Office. GAO denied the protest in March.
That protest resulted in programming delays of only about one quarter, Dee said.
"Both contractors leaned forward during the period of delay to avoid losing much time," he said. "The good news is that the funding is still phased in the correct year."
The Marine Corps expects to down-select to one vendor for the ACV 1.1 in 2018, with IOC capability expected in 2020.
However, a Marine Corps amphibious vehicle that moves fast in the water is still at least a decade away for the Marine Corps.
Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said the next version of the ACV, the ACV 1.2, will be able to replace aging assault amphibious vehicles, but is still not likely to achieve the fast water speed that the Marines ultimately want in an amphibious vehicle.
"The decision for us to go to a high-water speed, we think we’ll use about the next ten years to continue to look at, in the longer term what we’d probably be calling an ACV 2.0, beyond 1.2 might be a time period where we’ll be looking at that vehicle coming in," he said, "When our AAVs start to run out in about 2035."