GM Defense, General Motors’ military vehicle and technology division, is pursuing a contract to produce the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) for the U.S. military. Additionally, GM Defense is looking to develop and produce the next-generation JLTV set to replace the current model.
The JLTV first hit full-rate production in 2019, replacing the up-armored Humvee. The JLTV serves the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, and was originally designed by Oshkosh Corporation between 2005 and 2015.
Now, in a recent round table with the media attended by GM Authority, General Motors Vice President of Global Product Programs, Tim Herrick, discussed future opportunities for GM Defense as related to the JLTV program.
“We purchased or rented two JLTVs. We actually took one of them and put it on durability [testing] out in [the GM Proving Grounds in] Yuma. And then we brought it back and tore it down in Warren. We actually had the Army in there when we had it in pieces, so we know it as well as or better than Oskhosh now,” said Herrick, who served as interim President of GM Defense until earlier this month.
According to Herrick, GM Defense is seeking to leverage General Motors’ production capabilities to provide the JLTV to the U.S. military.
“The number one item for getting JLTV is getting the manufacturing piece of it. And so we think, taking this full circle, we’ve proved it at Concord [the plant which produces the GM ISV], we’ve proved it at Factory Zero, and we prove when we stand up our plant in Oshawa, Canada during COVID and bring full-size trucks online there, and that would work perfectly for the JLTV,” Herrick said
“If I was sitting in Oshkosh, I would be a bit worried about [GM’s] ability,” he added.
Herrick also discussed how the production could theoretically be set up, with GM Defense taking over a portion of the manufacturing.
“By producing [the JLTV], we can also reduce the risk for the Army. We can bring in our industrial commercial base to bear on those pieces, we would love to have a split buy. That’s probably what we will propose for the JLTV, that [the Department of Defense] split it and we take 30-50 percent of it,” Herrick said.
With production secured, GM Defense would then be poised to pursue the next-generation JLTV.
“Once that happens, you have two very viable competitors, one better than the other, you know who that is, and we would go after the next generation that’s lighter, faster, more sophisticated. We think that $12.3 billion to one supplier, we’d like to get in on that to deliver a better product.”
When asked about the prospect of a split buy and the Army’s reaction to such a proposal, Herrick indicated positivity.
“We’ve talked a lot about it. They’re open to it as part of the original thinking that they had. As they’re talking, we think they’re open for it. They haven’t shut the door on us,” Herrick said.
The recently-appointed GM Defense President Steve duMont also weighed in on the subject, saying:
“And it’s great to have our teammates here at Hendrick [Motorsports, a supplier for the GM ISV] and our teammates at Ricardo [another partner for the GM ISV], we think there’s a lot of value we can bring on JLTV and other programs. We’re not going to stop there, we’re going to continue looking for opportunities to bring the best technology,” duMont said, adding, “Competition is good, it drives cost down, and it brings innovation.”