Army narrows field of contractors to build next-generation Humvee

WASHINGTON, 6 Feb. 2006. The U.S. Army, moving a step closer to developing a next-generation tactical utility truck to replace an aging fleet including the familiar Humvee, selected International Military and Government, LLC and Lockheed Martin Corp. to build demonstrator armored vehicles, narrowing the competition from four companies to two.

WASHINGTON, 6 Feb. 2006. The U.S. Army, moving a step closer to developing a next-generation tactical utility truck to replace an aging fleet including the familiar Humvee, selected International Military and Government, LLC and Lockheed Martin Corp. to build demonstrator armored vehicles, narrowing the competition from four companies to two.

The selection of both International and Lockheed Martin represents a shift within the military in the way it procures for tomorrow's army. The two companies are not among the traditional suppliers of light and medium tactical vehicles. But they are among the companies that have developed state-of-the-art technology applicable to the military's future needs when in combat.

International, for instance, offers technology advances in truck electronics, tracking, logistics, body-equipment integration, hybrid capabilities, electronic engines and external power sources. Its electronics/telematics feature advanced architecture, diagnostics and prognostics, satellite solutions and geofencing, which is restricting the movement of a vehicle to within a specified area.

The Army views its FTTS program as a necessary step in modernizing its tactical wheeled vehicles and making its troops easier to deploy. The program includes both the utility vehicle and a heavier vehicle to replace current medium tactical vehicles and the heavy fleet of cargo trucks. The Army is also looking for trucks that can perform well with the added weight of armor.

"The Army is seeking several key technologies -- from embedded simulators and diagnostics and prognotics technologies to movement-tracking systems and mobility and fuel-savings features -- and International already has many of the capabilities to supply a tactical utility truck that delivers what our troops require over the most rugged, extreme and dangerous conditions," said Archie Massicotte, president of International's Military and Government Business. "We are eager to add our name to the roster of major military suppliers that deliver innovative, breakthrough technologies."

The Army's Tank-automotive and Armanents Command (TACOM) awarded International $12.25 million to build its demonstrator over the next 18 months.

Under the Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) program, International's new utility vehicle (UV) would be modular so it can be reconfigured for an assortment of combat missions and would also incorporate the latest commercial technology. It will be the equivalent of a light truck and designed to meet the Army's goals of "timely, rapid and pulsed delivery of supplies" to serve the demands of today's soldiers. The initial award of $12.25 million is for one utility vehicle, with an expectation to exercise a further option for one companion trailer in the near future.

** A field of two

Likewise, Army leaders awarded a $9 million contract to Lockheed Martin build a technology demonstration vehicle for the second phase of the U.S. Army's Future Tactical Truck System Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (FTTS ACTD).

Lockheed Martin was selected to build the demonstration vehicle because of its performance in the ACTD's initial modeling and simulation phase, which concluded in September. During that phase, the LM4x4 FTTS utility vehicle design was able to demonstrate several important features, including improved survivability and safety, enhanced vehicle reliability, maintainability and range, and robust digital network capabilities.

Under the new contract, Lockheed Martin will build an LM4x4 FTTS utility vehicle for delivery to the Army later this fall. The truck will then undergo a Platform Systems Demonstration and a Military User Assessment. The results of these evaluations will be used to refine the requirements for the next generation of tactical wheeled vehicles.

"The ACTD's second phase is an important step in developing the requirements for safer and more survivable vehicles for our warfighters," said Louis J. De Santis, vice president and general manager of Integrated Products, at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration -- Owego. "We look forward to working with the Army to build a technology demonstration truck that will help the service refine the requirements for the 40,000-plus vehicles that will eventually replace the Humvee."

The FTTS award comes less than two weeks after Lockheed Martin UK Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, announced that it had acquired HMT Vehicles Limited, a United Kingdom-based developer of designs for military vehicles. Lockheed Martin plans on incorporating HMT's designs into its U.S. programs such as the Army's FTTS.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
For more information, see www.lockheedmartin.com.

** Designing demonstrator models

To reach this point, International and Lockheed competed against military suppliers Lockheed Martin Corp., AM General Corp. and Stewart & Stevenson Vehicle Services Inc. to develop demonstrator models of the FTTS-UV. The initial stages of the FTTS research-and-development effort relied almost entirely on modeling and simulation.

"Today's military truck fleet is aging and the Army increasingly is hampered by the cost of operating, maintaining and modernizing those vehicles," said Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and CEO of Navistar International Corp., the parent company of International Military and Government.

"The new tactical utility vehicle we are developing will more than handle the challenging military applications that emerge in today's combat environments, and we're enthusiastic about the opportunity to develop this next-generation utility vehicle for our troops."

In recent years, International has launched a substantial line-up of International Military Vehicles including the 7000-MV, 5000-MV, 4000-MV, MXT-MV, Armored Personal Carrier and Mine Blast Protection Vehicles representing the latest in commercially available engine, truck and telematics technologies developed for military applications. International has backed up these new products with an expansion in global presence assuring military contracts are supported for parts and service in theaters of operation worldwide.

International Military and Government, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company established to focus on military and government opportunities. The company has also been selected to compete for a contract to repower the military HMMWV ("Humvee") and currently has bids out for other U.S. and foreign government military contracts. For more information, see www.InternationalMilitaryandGovernment.com.

International Truck and Engine Corp. is the operating company of Navistar International Corp. The company produces International brand commercial trucks, mid-range diesel engines and IC brand school buses and is a private label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. With the broadest distribution network in North America, the company also provides financing for customers and dealers. Additionally, through a joint venture with Ford Motor Company, the company builds medium commercial trucks and sells truck and diesel engine service parts. For more information, see www.InternationalDelivers.com.

By Ben Ames, Senior Editor

More in Home