It’s here! (Kind of!) The long-awaited (Draft) Request for Proposals for the next phase of the Army/Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program came out today, and we finally know how much the Army wants each vehicle to cost, and how many vehicles it wants to buy. The cost: $230,000 - $270,000 per base unit, with an extra $65,000 for the b-kit armor, comes in right about where many expected it to, and the Army has also put of cap of $52 million on this phase of the competition, which will end in May, 2012. A single contract award is scheduled for 2015.
The documents also state that the Army is looking for 20,750 vehicles across the family of six variants, which include the Utility/Shelter Carrier (JLTV-UTL), two seat; Close Combat Weapons Carrier (JLTV-CCWC), four seat; General Purpose (JLTV-GP), four seat; Special Purpose (JLTV-SP); Heavy Guns Carrier (JLTV-HGC); and the Command and Control on the Move (JLTV-C2OTM).
As far as a build schedule goes, once the final contract is awarded, the draft calls for 450 vehicles in the first year of production, 1,200 vehicles in the second year of production and 2,300 vehicles in the third year of production, with “a steady-state production rate of 3,360 JLTVs per year for the next 5 years.”
All of this information comes out a full five years after the program officially kicked off, and a few weeks after a Senate panel voted to do away with the program altogether. The Army also finally managed to cough up these unit cost numbers at a critical time for the program, given that the Humvee Recap program has stolen quite of bit of the JLTV’s thunder in recent months, and even stole $50 million in fiscal 2011 funding from the JLTV’s coffers.
So here we are. Can the Army afford both vehicles? Does it want to? Will Congress and the White House allow both programs to continue? Is there really a competition between the two vehicles, or can they compliment one another in a shrinking Army/Marine Corps arsenal? Lots of questions, and lots of hopeful-sounding draft RFPs floating around out there…