The U.S. Army and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) remains a top priority for both services, although officials are hinting that the program could suffer setbacks if Congress fails to approve adequate funding for fiscal 2015.
Army Secretary John McHugh and Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, speaking at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) symposium in Washington last week, both raised concerns about future cutbacks to signature acquisition programs.
But they declined to identify which among the Army Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and JLTV programs could be in trouble.
“We need all of that, but the bottom line is we can’t afford all of that,” Odierno said. McHugh said it was too soon to make a decision about the GCV, which is seen as the most vulnerable because of its anticipated high cost. But he called it “difficult to envision any significant number of our developmental initiatives that won’t be affected — some very significantly.” Some will have to be canceled, he added.
But officials overseeing the JLTV program told reporters at another AUSA briefing that replacing part of the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) fleet with more than 50,000 JLTVs — 49,000 for the Army and 5,500 for the Marine Corps — was still on track despite testing delays brought on by the 16-day government shutdown.
Total funding for the program from research and development through procurement is estimated at more than $22 billion.
“We still have a train on the tracks,” said Col. John Cavedo, the Army’s JLTV program manager. Kevin Fahey, Army program executive officer for combat support, said JLTV remains “a priority.”
But both officials said if a new budget isn’t approved and Congress decides to keep the government running under a continuing resolution, which only provides funding at 2012 levels, JLTV could see its schedule slide along with other ground vehicle programs.
, Oshkosh Defense and AM General have sent a total of 22 prototypes for field tests at Aberdeen, Md., Yuma, Ariz., and other government proving grounds.
The Army has said it expects to make a downselect based on the testing outcomes by summer 2015.