The US military’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program witnessed a significant shift as AM General, a renowned manufacturer of military vehicles, recently secured the initial contract with the US Army.

This win not only dethroned incumbent Oshkosh Defense but also ushered in the innovative JLTV A2 variant, promising enhanced battlefield capabilities.

According to the Department of Defense’s contracts bulletin posted last Friday, June 7, AM General received an initial contract valued at $11.6 million—marking the first phase of a long-lasting partnership.

The Indiana-based automotive firm will manufacture and deliver an undisclosed number of JLTVs, with production expected to continue until February 2033.

This initial award paves the way for the larger recompete contract secured by AM General in February 2023, encompassing the production of a staggering 20,000 JLTVs for the Army.

However, the path to victory wasn’t without its challenges.

Oshkosh Defense, having held the JLTV contract since 2015, contested the recompete decision. Their concerns centered on the evaluation process for bids, particularly regarding financial, technical, and manufacturing aspects.

However, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld the Army’s decision, confirming a fair and thorough bidding process.

JLTV A2: Unveiling the Next Generation

AM General’s triumph coincides with the unveiling of its latest offering, the JLTV A2. This upgraded variant boasts significant improvements over the original JLTV A1.

At the heart of the A2 lies a next-generation Duramax engine, promising a significant boost in power and overall performance.

JLTV A2 AM General
(Image source: AM General)

Furthermore, the integration of a 24-volt lithium-ion battery system not only enhances fuel efficiency but also empowers silent operation capabilities, a critical advantage in covert missions.

Addressing a crucial concern raised during the A1’s service history, the A2 incorporates improved corrosion protection measures, ensuring greater durability in harsh environments.

“We combine our unmatched Light Tactical Vehicle experience with the proven transformative commercial manufacturing initiatives necessary to produce and deliver the JLTV A2 equipped with technical enhancements that surpass requirements,” AM General stated in its website.

AM General vs. Oshkosh Defense: A Speculative Comparison

While the specifics of Oshkosh’s proposed JLTV variant during the recompete remain undisclosed, some educated comparisons can be drawn.

Both vehicles are designed to fulfill the Army’s requirement for a lightweight, protected, and highly mobile tactical vehicle.

However, AM General’s focus on a commercially-derived Duramax engine and the incorporation of a lithium-ion battery suggest a potentially more cost-effective and technologically advanced platform.

Additionally, AM General’s extensive experience with light tactical vehicles, particularly the successful Humvee platform, might have translated into a more refined and user-friendly design for the A2.

Looking Ahead: A New Era for the JLTV Program

The JLTV program serves as a cornerstone of the US Army’s modernization efforts.

AM General’s win, coupled with the introduction of the A2 variant, signifies a new chapter for the program. The A2’s performance in real-world deployments will be closely monitored in the coming years.

If the A2 lives up to its promises of surpassing Army requirements, AM General could solidify its position as a leading provider of tactical vehicles for the US military and potentially attract international customers seeking a next-generation light tactical solution.

JLTV A2 variant
(Image source: AM General)

This shift within the JLTV program also raises questions about the future of Oshkosh Defense’s involvement.

The company may choose to focus on further development of its JLTV variant in hopes of securing future contracts or may shift its resources towards other military vehicle programs.

Regardless, the competition between AM General and Oshkosh Defense has undoubtedly pushed the boundaries of light tactical vehicle technology, ultimately benefiting the US Army and potentially shaping the landscape of future military procurements.