[UPDATED with Pentagon confirmation] The better-protected, more-mobile replacement for the Humvee took a big step forward this month, when all three competitors’ vehicles completed a crucial series of military tests. All three have also completed a government Production Readiness Review to certify their ability to mass-produce their vehicle. Next comes the final Request For Proposals (RFP) for… Keep reading →
[CORRECTED data on competitor Oshkosh] LOCKHEED MARTIN “LIGHTHOUSE,” SUFFOLK, VA: “We’re in a really tough competition…a knife fight in [a] phone booth,” said Tom Kelly, who runs Lockheed Martin’s government relations for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. In the defense contracting world writ large, Lockheed is the 800-pound gorilla. In the three-way competition to replace… Keep reading →
After three years of the “age of austerity” in Western military spending, investors’ imperatives and corporate strategies show one indication of how the defense-industrial base will evolve over the next decade. Investors want public companies that demonstrate an attractive risk-adjusted total return, not just M&A-fueled arbitrage plays. In response, companies are husbanding or harvesting their financial… Keep reading →
Sometimes dark clouds really do have silver linings. The winding down of two wars and the automatic spending cuts called sequestration have been brutal for the Army budget. The service recently had to cancel its top-priority weapons program, the tank-like Ground Combat Vehicle. But even if sequestration continues, said one leading analyst, ground vehicle spending… Keep reading →
AUSA: A recently retired general officer summed up the mood among many Army officers and defense industry officials here yesterday: “This is the worst, most depressing situation I’ve seen in 34 years of service.” The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program is just one indicator in that depressing scenario facing the Army. The service still plans… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: As the government hurtles towards the latest fiscal cliff, March 1st, the Marine Corps‘ deputy commandant for resources outlined a host of painful potential consequences, from reduced rifle training to cancelled deployments to grounded fighter squadrons. Lt. Gen. John Wissler appealed to Congress for so-called reprogramming authority that would at least let the Marines move around the money they do have to mitigate the worst effects.
[Click here to read about the readiness problems for the Army, Air Force, and Navy]
“Our money’s just in the wrong places in some instances,” Wissler told reporters after his speech this morning to the Navy League. But they can’t move it without explicit permission from Congress, he explained: “What we would need is to move things between appropriations, and they would need to help us there.” Keep reading →
AM General’s corporate ancestors built jeeps in World War II. The company designed and still builds the military’s iconic Humvee. But in the battle to build the Humvee’s replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, AM General is ironically not the incumbent but the scrappy underdog.
WASHINGTON: The military is in for another eight years of tight budgets, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos predicted today. The good news is that the relationship between the four Joint Chiefs who craft their budgets and their chairman is “better than it ever has been.”
In his public remarks, the commandant hammered home the point that the Joint Chiefs are confronting austerity shoulder-to-shoulder, without the usual interservice sniping over budget shares and that there is no daylight in particular between the two land forces, Army and the Marines. Keep reading →
AUSA: Last month’s Association of the US Army conference in Washington was a chance for contractors to show off their biggest programs, and they don’t get much bigger than the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a $15 billion-plus program to replace the Humvee.
But for one of the three companies competing to build the JLTV, the program is in fact relatively small. That would be Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, best known for high-tech and high-cost programs like spy satellites, the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lockheed does work on some ground vehicles, and its JLTV partner BAE builds even more, but they’re hardly central to Lockheed’s business. Keep reading →
AUSA: It may sound ambitious, even hubristic, that the Army wants to fold all its modernization programs into a single 30-year plan. But the long-range look is all about living within limits.
The service wants to keep researching and developing 21st century weapons like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) truck and the tank-like Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), but it is also knows it must keep 1980s designs like the Humvee and the M1 Abrams tank for years to come. This sets up a nasty cycle. The more the new stuff gets cut, the longer the old stuff has to last, which requires careful investment in maintenance and upgrades. Keep reading →