Word has come down that the U.S. Army and the Australian government are set to announce a deal for future JLTV buys. It was reported months ago that the Aussies were interested in getting in on the JLTV program—reportedly buying about 4,000 vehicles—and the announcement of the deal Thursday morning will give all the relevant details.
Lockheed Martin’s VP of JLTV Systems Lou DeSantis confirmed the deal during a briefing about the new JLTV prototype that his company unveiled at the AUSA winter symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, adding that each contractor still in the running for the final contract will be required to provide three vehicles with right-hand steering for the Australians.
Lockheed Martin’s fourth operational JLTV prototype is the second variant of its Infantry Carrier Category B model.
Now that the protest filed by Northrop Grumman and Textron has been denied, Lockheed’s DeSantis said that the company is holding its first “start of work” meeting on March 9 to begin moving forward. The Cat. B prototype only has about “100 to 200 miles on it right now” DeSantis said, but that’s likely to change. Lockheed is big on road testing its vehicles, and its other three models have gone though about 30,000 miles of tests so far. The Cat B can fit six passengers, clocks in at 24,000 lbs., and is capable of carrying 4,500 lbs. of payload after the bold-on armor is added in theater.
And for all that, the thing can move. It’s officially listed as being able to hit speeds of 70 MPH, though DeSantis added “I can tell you, it far exceeds 70 milers per hour, it’s a horse.”
During ballistic testing the company has detonated a total of seventeen hulls. They actually detonated the Cat. B hull twice, “without a breach,” according to DeSantis.