The old-fashioned American HUMVEE is so 1997, and it appears the U.S. Army feels the same way. The competition to determine the next generation of Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will begin in earnest early next year. It’s going to take a vehicle especially remarkable to knock the current incumbents off their perch.
The incumbents in question are Oshkosh Defense of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their team won the original multi-billion dollar JLTV contract to replace the HUMVEE, back in 2015. Of the 66,000 vehicles on order from this contract, about 10,000 have been delivered.
Military forces have been overall pleased with the results of the deal. Now experts say the next step is considering the possibility of adding hybrid drive and even full-electric EV capability in the near future.
The logic in this is much the same as in the civilian sector. The less money spent on refueling needs can be diverted into other essential Army programs in need of funding. “Looking at it, we believe that we can actually save on average 15 to 20 percent fuel consumption yearly,” said Mike Sprang, JLTV Joint Program Office’s program manager.
“We have an incumbent who’s already built over 10,000 vehicles,” Sprang said. “Any time we anticipate having an effective competition, you have to make industry part of the process to understand what do they need to make business decisions.”
Making up the contingent ready to challenge Oshkosh Defense includes AM General, the original markers of the classic HUMVEE, Navistar, makers of the yellow school bus, and GM Defense, the defense division of General Motors.
The competition is set to kick off in January 2022 and hopefully select a winner before the year is out, preferably no later than September of that year. Whoever comes out on top, the result will be a U.S. Army that looks remarkably different than the endless swarms of HUMVEEs we’ve become used to.