The Department of Defense is one step closer to awarding a contract to replace nearly 55,000 military Humvees with a new, better-protected vehicle—and three firms are closer to learning which of them will score a contract worth as much as $22 billion.
"The legacy Humvee system is not capable of providing sufficient protection for its occupants in a world where improvised explosive devices have become commonplace," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute. "Because the rear areas and the front lines are no longer well defined, and the enemy could be anywhere, the notion of having a light truck that is not well-protected seems obsolete."
Last month, the three companies each delivered 22 JLTV prototypes and six trailers to the military for testing and evaluation. The testing phase, which began Sept. 3, is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, which begins in October.
The program is currently on track for the selection of a single vendor and what the Pentagon calls a low-rate initial production decision in late fiscal 2015, according to the JLTV Joint Program Office. That initial three-year contract would be for 3,100 vehicles and would include options for up to five additional years of full-rate production, according to the Department of Defense.
(Slideshow: The most expensive U.S. military vehicles)