The Army officer leading the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to delay testing in the first year of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the program.
Col. John Cavedo, the JLTV’s joint program manager, explained Wednesday that the testing schedule for the EMD phase will continue as planned before managers re-evaluate the pace next summer, according to multiple reports. It’s a move that stands in the face of the decisions made by many other program managers to push back testing and development cycles in hopes of keeping programs alive as Congress and Pentagon budgeteers search for savings inside the defense budget.
The JLTV program was supposed to develop the vehicle that would eventually replace the Humvee. Those initial goals have since been slimmed down to match budget realities. At one point, it appeared that the Pentagon was instead leaning toward instead upgrading the current Humvees.
The Army and Marine Corps have since pared down the requirements for the program and similarly the price per vehicle to $250,000. However, the Marine Corps has wavered in its commitment after Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said his service would have to re-evaluate its position in the program because of the sequestration budget cuts.
Oshkosh, Lockheed Martin and AM General are the three companies who are leading teams in the competition and received EMD contracts to deliver prototypes for testing. The three companies have since delivered the 22 JLTV prototypes.
Cavedo made his comments in Texas on Wednesday at a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s facility where company officials celebrated the delivery of the 22 prototypes well before the deadline. Executives have long said it would not pose a significant challenge to deliver the prototypes on time.
Cavedo pointed out that the JLTV program remains at risk to sequestration. He explained that reductions to the program’s funding cut into the test program. He also said the program will need additional funding next summer or be forced to impose delays.
In January, the Army announced it would extend the Technology Development phase of the Ground Combat Vehicle program — one of the Army’s top modernization priorities — by six months and reduce the number of contracts issued for the engineering and manufacturing development phase from three to one.
Many expected a similar fate for the JLTV program to which company executives for Oskosh, Lockheed Martin and AM General said they didn’t expect a delay to cause serious damage to the program. Instead, the program will remain on schedule for the first year of the EMD phase.