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UK Plans to Buy $1 Billion Worth of JLTVs

The United Kingdom plans to spend more than $1 billion to acquire a fleet of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages foreign military sales, on Monday notified Congress that the State Department has approved the possible transaction.

According to the announcement, the $1.04 billion deal calls for supplying the British military with 2,747 of the vehicles, which are made by truck-maker Oshkosh Corp., based in the Wisconsin city of the same name, and designed to replace a portion of the Humvee fleets in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

The sale would include B-kit armor, spare tires and fording gear, as well as training for vehicle operators and maintainers, among other items, the announcement states.

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In a foreign military sale, known in military parlance as FMS, the U.S. buys weapons or equipment on behalf of a foreign government. Countries approved to participate in the program may obtain military hardware or services by using their own funding or money provided through U.S.-sponsored assistance programs, according to the agency's website.

The Pentagon last month announced it plans to field in early 2019 the new JLTV to soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division and Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force.

In August 2015, Oshkosh Corp. beat out Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, and AM General LLC, maker of the Humvee, for a $6.7 billion contract to build the first 17,000 JLTVs for the two services.

The Pentagon plans to spend $20.5 billion to buy 54,714 JLTVs, according to a March report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. That's a decrease of 16 percent from a previous figure.

The vehicle is expected to provide increased protection, payload capacity and automotive performance over the up-armored Humvee, according to the GAO. Made in two- and four-seat variants with multiple mission configurations, the vehicle is designed to be transported by air and ship, according to the office.

While the vehicle's key technologies, notably its underbelly protection and side-kit armor, are mature, operational testers nevertheless found shortcomings.

For example, Army units can't accomplish air assault missions with JLTVs equipped with add-on armor because the combined weight exceeds the CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopter's lift capacity, auditors said. Testers also noticed the vehicle design makes it difficult to carry mission equipment, supplies or water for more than a single day, they said.

-- Matthew Cox contributed to this report.

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