Marine Corps Wheeled Tactical Vehicle Fleet Upgrade
Ministry of Defense Photo
NORFOLK, Virginia – The Marine Corps has ambitious plans for its fleet of wheeled tactical vehicles as it modernizes its inventory with new platforms and improves existing systems.
There are “many opportunities for the Marine Corps to invest in new capabilities that we’ve never really used before,” said Col. John Gutierrez, portfolio manager for Elemental Systems. combat logistics at Marine Corps Systems Command.
One potential opportunity for the industry is a new platform to replace the service’s average tactical vehicle, Gutierrez said during a panel discussion at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Conference in Norfolk. , Virginia.
Lorrie Owens, program manager for medium and heavy tactical vehicles, said the Corps is working on requirements for the development and design of a new medium tactical platform. Last year, the service sent out a request for information to industry to conduct market research. Her office will use the responses to the RFI to refine the requirements, she said.
The current platform was originally scheduled to begin leaving service this year, but has been extended through 2042, Owens said.
“We really need to start researching…the replacement vehicle and what it’s going to be because the current truck won’t last another 20 years without substantial sustaining costs…or putting the replacement vehicle into service,” Owens said. . .
No decision on a replacement vehicle has been made, she added, and none will be made until details of the service’s next budget are available. The Marine Corps would like to move to the platform beginning in fiscal year 2024.
The service is currently open to several different sizes and configurations for the vehicle, Owens said. His office is particularly interested in electrification and hybrid technology.
“Energy efficiency is a really big thing and it’s kind of the buzzword of the day,” she said. “It’s definitely something we’d like to see in the future, it’s a more fuel efficient truck.”
The bureau hopes to learn more about the industry’s status in electrification technologies through RFI, she noted.
“We really wanted to see where the industry was…from fuel efficiency changes to…better fuel mileage to hybrid technology,” Owens said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Moore, program manager for light tactical vehicles, said the Corps is making progress in its portfolio, which includes everything from common light tactical vehicles to ultra-light tactical platforms.
Moore’s office works closely with Marine Corps capability leadership and other organizations throughout the service as officials implement Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s Force Design 2030 vision. .
“We are adapting and refining the fleet that is needed to support the Marine Corps into the future as it evolves,” Moore said.
Berger unveiled its Force Design 2030 plan two years ago, to prepare the service to deter China and prepare for potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific. The strategy laid out an ambitious plan to reduce end power, divest legacy systems and procure the new platforms needed for additional operational flexibility.
This year, Moore’s office is focused on field capacity, she said. “We are on the ground every day around the world.”
The office has replaced 20% of its Humvee fleet with common light tactical vehicles, she said. The Marine Corps works alongside the Army to field tens of thousands of platforms manufactured by Oshkosh Defense through a Joint Program Office headed by Michael Sprang.
Recently, the JPO issued a request for proposals to industry for a follow-on vehicle, he told the conference. Oshkosh Defense, GM Defense, Navistar Defense and AM General are expected to participate in the program.
The program office looked to several different stakeholders when developing the request for proposals, Sprang said.
“One of the things we were challenged on was how to leverage the competition to bring the technology,” he said. His office contacted Army Futures Command and the Office of Marine Corps Combat Development and Integration with questions to provide guidance.
“We asked them, ‘What do you want to see? What priority would you give? But we also asked the industry: ‘What can you contribute?’ “, did he declare.
A contract award is expected in September, Sprang said National Defense at the end of last year. The winner will have 18 months to deliver the first vehicles. These platforms will undergo about a year of testing, he said.
According to slides from an industry day hosted by the JPO in November, the projected value of the contract could reach $6.5 billion.
The joint program office is happy with JLTV’s current capabilities and isn’t looking for massive changes as it continues the tracking system, Sprang said. However, his team is interested in some key improvements. For example, they would like to see upgrades to the platform engine, as well as additional space in the rear of the vehicle for backpacks and gear.
The government has also asked industry to review technologies that are not part of the current system configuration, Sprang said, adding that the joint program office would then give them assessed credit during source selection. did he declare. These would include ways to increase corrosion protection and energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps also maintains some existing Humvees and companion trailers, as well as the utility vehicle, Moore said. The UTV will be replaced by the Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicle, or ULTV.
The service works alongside Special Operations Command on ULTV, she said. The platform shares requirements with SOCOM’s lightweight tactical all-terrain vehicle.
Partnering with other organizations is key as the office researches new technologies, Moore said.
“Through these joint partnerships, we are able to reduce costs, we are able to improve our speed, and we are able to provide a higher quality product not only to the Marine Corps, but also to our community of special ops,” she said.
There are many opportunities for industry to work with the program office, and Moore encouraged companies to contact his team.
“We would love to hear from you,” she said. “We always keep our doors open. Working with the industry, learning from you, is [how] … we are able to conduct our market research and be better prepared to respond to the urgent needs we have received from the fleet.
Moore echoed Sprang’s call for improvements in the areas of corrosion protection and mitigation, noting that his office has an entire team focused solely on the subject.
His office also wants lighter, upgradeable, more capable armor for its fleet of vehicles.
“Marines may need to be heavy, and they may need to be lighter,” she said. “Having this scalable capability is absolutely critical and we are able to leverage that with the JLTV because it is a very scalable platform by design.”
Officials are also exploring the integration of electric technologies ranging from hybrid to full electrification, Moore said.
His office is also looking to procure new tarps for the environmental protection of its fleet when operating in desert, arctic and jungle environments.
Moore noted that while there are many opportunities, there are also challenges to be met.
As of press time, lawmakers have yet to enact a defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022. Federal agencies operate under an ongoing resolution, which typically freezes funding for programs at 2021 levels.
“We have fluctuating funding,” Moore said. “The resolution continues to create opportunities for us to be creative.”
Additionally, as the office struggles to maintain its legacy fleet of Humvees, UTVs and light tactical trailers, officials also face supply chain challenges.
“There may be supply chain issues that are associated not only with … obsolescence issues, but also with COVID-19 and all the implications that have happened in the commodity market,” Moore said. . “It also has an impact on production capacities.”
Meanwhile, Gutierrez noted that as part of its portfolio, the Marine Corps has disposed of thousands of mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicles.
The iconic MRAPs were rushed into the field during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect troops from roadside bombs that maimed troops and civilians.
“We’ve used equipment trade-in programs with great success, and last year we actually recouped over $30 million in trade-in credits,” he said. The service has been using an equipment exchange initiative for years, allowing agencies to exchange and sell equipment, and apply the exchange compensation or proceeds towards the acquisition of replacement goods. , depending on the service.
“It’s just the way to go and you’re going to see more and more activity not just in my portfolio but across… the [program executive office] and the Marine Corps Systems Command community use them as a means to generate both cost savings and investment opportunities,” Gutierrez said.
Topics: Wheeled Tactical Vehicles, Marine Corps News