Saturday, May 15, 2010

US Military Adds Heavy Trucks Under FHTV-III

With its bridge buy of FMTV medium trucks in place and the re-compete proceeding, and initial awards for the potential JLTV Hummer replacement designs underway, the next order of business on the US Army’s agenda was a new Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles multi-year contract: FHTV-III. That multi-billion dollar FHTV-III contract has been awarded – not as a re-compete like FMTV, but as a single-source solicitation.

Oshkosh has provided the core of this capability for over 20 yeas now. Its Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) and their 13-ton payloads are the mainstay of the FHTV fleet, serving in variants that include M977/985 Cargo, M978 Fueler, M982/983 Tractors, and M984 Wrecker/Tow; they also serve as heavy transporters for Patriot and THAAD air defense systems. M1074/75 Palletized Load Systems (PLS) and PLS trailers (PLST) are best known for their automated container/pallet loading arms, and for their Universal Power Interface Kit (UPIK) that can add modules for firefighting, construction, cranes, et. al. The M1000/1070 Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET) are flatbeds that can transport a 70-ton Abrams tank – or anything less – in order to save wear and tear on expensive armored vehicles and on the roads. A specialized FHTV truck called the M1977 CBT can even lay bridges.

FHTV: Upgrades, LTAS, and RECAP
LAND HET M1070 Abrams
HET w. M1 tank

Most of the US Army’s HEMTT trucks are the A2 version; Oshkosh celebrated the delivery of the 20,000th HEMTT truck on Feb 14/08. The HEMTT A4 is the latest improvement to the line. 

HEMTT A4 will be produced in several models, including the M997A4 cargo truck, the M978A4 fuel servicing truck (tanker), the M1120A4 load handling system variant, M982A4 and M983A4 tractors for use as tractor-trailers, and an M984A4 recovery truck fitted with cranes and winches.

The hybrid drive HEMTT A3 variant is still in development. It claims to offer the same 13-ton cargo capacity and C-130 transportability, with a 20% improvement in fuel economy thanks to diesel-electric propulsion. Its configuration also gives the vehicle an on-board generator that can export 100 kW of military-grade power to power devices, weapons and sensors, or even a small remote installation. The A3’s electrical power potential was attractive to Raytheon’s Mobile Centurion prototype, for instance, which mounts a modified Phalanx radar-guided, electrically-driven 20mm gatling gun turret on the truck in order to shoot down incoming mortars, rockets, and artillery rounds.

The new HEMTT A4 production variants feature a 500 hp Caterpillar C-15 engine, an Allison 4500 SP/5-speed automatic transmission, rated for 600 hp, power-train upgrades to 1,750 pounds of torque, suspension upgrades, and major changes and additions to the cab. The HEMTT A4 shares common cab, parts, and support with the new palletized load system (PLS-A1) truck, reducing the need for separate spares. An improved climate control system that can handle tropical conditions is built into that cab, rather than requiring a retrofit as is the case for the HEMTT A2s.

The new HET A1 features numerous upgrades to the M1070 HET, including a 700-horsepower engine and an Allison 4800SP transmission, as well as improved seats, standard air conditioning and an available 3rd door. HET trucks often use the M1000 heavy-duty trailer, as in the picture above.


Many of these upgrades actually revolve around the US Army’s Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS). This LTAS-A armor can be augmented with a standardized, bolt-on LTAS-B kit for greater protection, and an integrated mounting allows fast installation of a protected gunner position (GPK) and machine-gun mount on the cab roof. HEMTT-A4 and their forthcoming companions the PLS-A1 and HET-A1 will come off the assembly line fitted with upgraded suspensions, the engine improvements noted above, different cab designs, and integral composite armor.

Oshkosh Defense’s director, Army Tactical Vehicle Programs Mike Ivy is quoted in AUSA’s April 2008 article as saying that Israeli firm Plasan Sasa played a large role on designing the FHTV LTAS-B armoring kit, but Finmeccanica’s DRS will be the main supplier for the program. 

The Army’s new medium FMTV-A1P1 trucks that are currently produced by BAE Systems have their own LTAS-A and LTAS-B kits, extending the LTAS up-armoring approach across the US Army’s entire truck fleet. 

LTAS-related changes aren’t the only updates under consideration. A J1939 databus gives the new HEMTT trucks the same kinds of capacity for self-diagnosis and automated troubleshooting that the FMTV medium truck fleet has used so effectively. C4ISR updates are also under consideration. Ivy:

“We are installing in one of our prototype trucks, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., a number of installation kits for the suite of C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] systems that soldiers expect to see in vehicles today…. That includes things like the Movement Tracking System, GPS, Battle Command System [DID: Blue force Tracker] the whole suite of systems that gives the soldier increased situational awareness. Although there is nothing inherent in the A4 for the Future Combat System-equipped brigade, it could easily be adapted to that, given the right installation kits.” The integration of the installation kits by Oshkosh will allow the Army to test a range of potential C4ISR capabilities for the new platforms.”

HET w. MiG-25B wreck
HET and IqAF MiG-25B

Some FHTV-III orders are defined as RECAP orders, however, and won’t be new build machines.
RECAP is part of the US Army’s planned sustainment triad of RESET, RECAP, and Replace. Recapitalization is depot-level maintenance activity that completely rebuilds the vehicles from the frame up, inspecting all parts and replacing worn items, while adding selected enhancements to benefit from more modern parts and technologies. 

Under the HEMTT overhaul/ remanufacturing contract, for instance, Oshkosh integrates LED marker lights, two-piece wheels, engine and transmission upgrades, and air ride seats. Ancillary equipment such as cargo bodies, cranes, and fifth wheels are also overhauled and reassembled for use on the remanufactured vehicles. The tires and all electronics, such as wire harnesses, gauges, etc. are replaced with new. The vehicles are reassembled on the same integrated vehicle assembly line as a new truck, with a new “zero hours/zero miles” bumper-to-bumper warranty. All at significant savings over the cost of building a new vehicle.

Contracts and Key Events

M978, OIF
M978 during OIF at “RRP Exxon”

All contracts are issued to Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI, and managed by the U.S. Army’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, MI, unless the entry says otherwise.

May 3/10: Oshkosh Defense announces 2 contracts. 

The first $8 million contract will supply more than 90 HEMTT A4 “B-kits” for additional armor, over and above factory-installed “A-kit” armor. The B-kits can be installed in-theater, and delivery is expected to be complete by September 2010.

A second award valued at more than $5 million will apply self-sealant coating to more than 300 new and recapitalized M978 A4 Tankers, continuing work that began in December 2009 and extending it to September 2010. The coating seals punctures from small-arms fire or other small, high-velocity objects – which sounds like a pretty good idea if you’re driving a truck loaded with diesel fuel.

April 20/10: Oshkosh Defense announces a US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) award worth more than $6 million to supply 600 axles for the HEMTT A4. Production is expected to begin in October 2010 and be complete by January 2011.

March 18/10: Oshkosh Defense announces an $11.4 million delivery order for “more than 40” next-generation HEMTT A4 heavy trucks to the United Arab Emirates. The HEMTT variants included in this contract are the Patriot tractor, wrecker and guided missile transporter. 

The vehicles will be built and delivered July through September 2011, and the order was issued under the FHTV-III) contract to take advantage of volume pricing.

Feb 22/10: A $13 million delivery order to supply more than 35 HEMTT A4 trucks to the US Army Reserve. The variants include M984A4 wreckers and M1120A4 load handling systems. Production is expected to begin in September 2010 and be complete in June 2011.

Feb 11/10: Oshkosh Defense announces a $5 million delivery order for “more than 15” HEMTT A4 trucks. Vehicles include M985A4 guided missile transporters (GMT) that deliver missile 4-packs to THAAD launchers using an integrated crane, M977A4 electrical power plant (EPP) trucks , and large repair parts transporter (LRPT) cargo trucks. Production is expected to begin in July 2010 and be complete in September 2010.

Feb 5/10: DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. in St. Louis, MO receives a $93.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 275 HET M1000 trailers. Work is to be performed in St. Louis, MO, with an estimated completion date of May 30/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-09-D-0107 #0002).

Feb 1/10: The US DoD releases its FY 2011 budget request. It includes a total of $741.9 million for the FHTV-III program, split $553.2 million in the regular defense budget, $188.7 in “OCO” supplemental funding buys, and $3.5 million for Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation. The request must pass through Congress and be approved before it translates into actual appropriations.

Jan 28/10: Oshkosh announces a $21+ million delivery order under FHTV-III, to produce more than 60 recapitalized M984 HEMTT A4 wrecker trucks, plus components and engines. 

Production is expected to begin in January 2011, and be complete in April 2011. The heavily used vehicles are returned to Oshkosh, stripped to their frame rails, completely rebuilt to like-new condition, and upgraded to the new A4 configuration.

Jan 21/10: Oshkosh announces 4 awards from the US Defense Logistics Agency, valued at $89 million, for its M-ATV MRAPs and FHTV trucks. 

When asked, Oshkosh representatives break out the contracts, explaining that the contract for 2,400 HEMTT A2 and A4 axle assemblies is worth over $25 million, and the contract for “more than” 430 HET engines is worth over $13 million. Work under these orders is expected to be complete by December 2010.

Jan 6/09: Oshkosh Defense and Boeing announce that the HEMTT A4 has been selected as the platform for the U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) program. Boeing officials received the HEMTT A4 in December 2009 , and integration of the HEL TD system will begin in spring 2010 at Boeing’s Huntsville, AL facility.

With its critical design review complete, Boeing will now attempt to build a rugged beam control system on the widely used truck. The beam control system includes mirrors, high-speed processors and high-speed optical sensors for the electrically powered, solid state laser. The system must acquire, track, and select an aimpoint while the system receives the laser beam from the laser device, them reshape and align the beam, and focus it on the target. 

Boeing completed a vehicle trade study for HEL TD, and identified the HEMTT A4 as the best solution for this demonstrator phase. Boeing representatives added that the hybrid drive HEMTT A3 is a viable candidate for the future objective system if it’s fielded, and that its extra onboard power capacity would be seen as a plus. 

Dec 29/09: A $258.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for 728 new M1075 Palletized Load System (PLS) trucks (W56HZV-09-D-0024). Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12.

Dec 29/09: A $31.9 million firm-fixed-price requirements contract to change another 728 M1075 PLS trucks from the A0 configuration to the A1 configuration. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12.

As noted above, the PLS A1 is the most current design, with a Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)-compliant cab, a 600-hp engine, the Oshkosh-patented TAK-4® independent front suspension, and a demountable flatrack cargo bed with 16.5-ton payload capacity. 

Dec 29/09: Oshkosh received a $31.75 million firm-fixed-price requirements contract for the purchase of 110 new M977 HEMTT A4 trucks under the existing FHTV-III contract (W56HZV-09-D-0024). Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12.

Dec 18/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $56 million delivery order from US Army TACOM LCMC, to supply the Army with the first set of 207 M983 HEMTT A4 Light Equipment Transporters (LET). The LETs have a special “hitch” for trailers, etc., and already serve in the HEMTT A2 configuration. These are the first A4 configuration vehicles for this model. 

Unusually, the Oshkosh announcement precedes the Pentagon’s Dec 29/09 announcement of this $56.4 million firm-fixed-price requirements contract. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated contract completion date of Sept 30/12. Production and delivery is expected to be complete in September 2010. The award brings the U.S. Army’s total Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV) contract to more than $3.2 billion, under the FHTV-III contract (W56HZV-09-D-0024).

Dec 16/09: Oshkosh Defense announces an order valued at more than $63 million from the U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, to supply more than 1,150 Palletized Load System (PLS) trailers. The trailers feature a removable cargo bed (flatrack) with a 16.5-ton payload capacity. Production is expected to be complete in June 2011.

Oct 21/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $35 million contract modification from for 102 HEMTT A4 heavy trucks, on behalf of the US Army’s National Guard units. The vehicles will include HEMTT M985A4 cargo truck and M1120A4 load handling system models, and will be delivered by March 2010.

Sept 29/09: Oshkosh announces an $801 million delivery order from the U.S. Army TACOM LCMC for more than 1,190 new next-generation HEMTT A4s, more than 180 new HEMTT A2s and more than 80 Palletized Load System Trailers for the U.S. Army. Oshkosh also will deliver more than 1,020 recapitalized HEMTT A4s. Total: over 2,470 new and recapitalized HEMTT and PLST trucks. Work is expected to be complete by May 2011.

Sept 8/09: Oshkosh Defense received a delivery order worth more than $23 million from TACOM LCMC for 45 HEMTT M984 A4s wreckers. Production will begin in March 2010 and is expected to be completed by May 2010.

The Oshkosh HEMTT M984 A4 wrecker is a heavy duty tow truck equipped with a crane and winches to recover disabled vehicles. The wrecker can tow disabled vehicles as well as perform vehicle maintenance in severe off-road conditions.

July 7/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $9.4 million contract modification from TACOM Life Cycle Management Command to begin durability and performance testing of the new Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) A1 model. Testing will take place at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ.

Once testing is completed, full-rate production of the Oshkosh HET A1 is scheduled for early 2010. 

June 18/09: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received a maximum $31.1 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for HEMTT engines, on behalf of the US Army. 

There was originally one proposal solicited with one response, and contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/09. The contract itself will run until June 19/12, managed by the Defense Logistics Agency Warren (DSCC-ZG) in Warren, MI (SPRDL1-09-D-0025).

June 15/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $38+ million delivery order for more than 100 new HEMTT M978A4 fuel tanker and M985A4 cargo trucks, on behalf of the U.S. Army National Guard. The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) will be managing this order.

May 21/09: DRS Sustainment Systems received a $103.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 274 M1000 heavy equipment transporter semitrailers. DRS Sustainment will perform the work at its facility in Saint Louis, MO, with an estimated completion date of May 30/12. One bid was solicited and received by TACOM-Warren, AMSCC-TAC-ATBC, in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0107).

The M1000 semitrailer [PDF] carries armored vehicles and other heavy equipment loads weighing up to 80 tons. The M1000 is able to load, unload, and transport the M1 Abrams tank and other heavy equipment on-road, off-road and cross country, in all weather conditions. 

May 21/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a delivery order with the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) for more HEMTT trucks and trailers. The delivery order, valued at more than $28 million, includes M1120A4 Load Handling System (LHS) and M978A4 fuel tanker trucks. 

The US Army Reserve will receive more than 70 HEMTT A4s, and more than 30 Palletized Load System Trailers (PLST) with an automated loading arm. The US Marine Corps will receive 30 PLSTs, which will be integrated with their Oshkosh LVSR heavy trucks

May 20/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $40 million delivery order for “more than 130” HEMTT A4 trucks. Most will be new-build, but 3 vehicles will be RECAP.

April 20/09: A maximum $8.3 million firm-fixed-price, 5-year contract, covering transfer cases with containers for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT).

This was originally a sole source competition, and the date of performance completion is April 20/14. TheDefense Logistics Agency in Warren, MI manages this contract (SPRDL1-09-D-0007).

Feb 25/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $477 million delivery order calls for more than 1,350 HEMTT A4s (750 new, 600 RECAP) and more than 1,000 of the Palletized Load System Trailers (PLST) that help with loading and unloading.

This latest order pushes the total value of the FHTV-III contract so far to more than $2.1 billion.

Feb 25/09: Oshkosh Defense unveils its new HET A1 variant at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Dec 31/08: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received a maximum $1.121 billion firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, sole source contract for heavy and medium tactical truck support, if all 9 option years in this 10-year contract are exercised. Under the contract, Oshkosh Defense will supply the DLA with replacement parts to support Oshkosh’s medium and heavy tactical vehicles, which include the US Marines’ Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) truck, and the Army’s FHTV Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) and Palletized Load Systems (PLS). Oshkosh also supplies replacement parts for other manufacturers’ medium and heavy-payload vehicles.

The first contract order is valued at $17.5 million and is for approximately 2,300 replacement part numbers to support Oshkosh’s tactical vehicles.

This follows the previous 8 year contract, which was structured as a one-year contract with 7 option years, each of which were exercised, that ended in December 2008. There were originally 2 proposals solicited, but only one response. The contract’s base year will end on Dec 31/09, but options could continue this agreement to 2018. The US Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) in Columbus, OH (SPM7LX-09-D-9008) manages these contracts. 

Dec 22/08: Oshkosh Defense announces a $5 million contract modification to RECAP approximately 30 M1977 Common Bridge Transporters (CBT). Under the modification, Oshkosh Defense will tear down the 10-year-old HEMTT A0-derived CBTs, and upgrade them to HEMTT A2 Load Handling System (LHS) equivalents with computer-controlled engines and transmission systems, as well as a lighter load handling system. 

HEMTT A3 with ProPulse® and PLS

Dec 15/08: Oshkosh Defense announces a $9.4 million contract modification with the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) for continuing research and development of their diesel-electric drive HEMTT A3 variant. 

The contract modification will fund additional improvements to the current HEMTT A3 technology demonstrator, by upgrading the vehicle’s engine horsepower and incorporating the U.S. Army’s LTAS armoring strategy. Under this contract, the firm will end up delivering 2 new HEMTT A3 vehicles. One will be provided to the U.S. Army for a 20,000-mile durability test at its Aberdeen Test Center. The 2nd vehicle will be benchmarked for performance against the current HEMTT A2/A4 production vehicles.

Oshkosh Defense President John Stoddart described this contract as: ”...among the first steps that could establish the HEMTT A3 as the Army’s next-generation support vehicle.” Time will tell.

Nov 26/08: Oshkosh Defense announces a $51 million contract with the for more than 660 LTAS-B up-armoring kits for HEMTT A4 trucks. The $51 million contract includes a recent $15 million armor kit contract modification. 

The LTAS-A kit is armoring installed at the factory, and delivered with the trucks. The LTAS-B kit is the add-on armor which the HEMTT A4 has been designed from the outset to carry, if necessary. It can be installed by a 2-soldier crew with no special tools, other than the required lifting devices to get the pieces into position.

Since Oshkosh’s Palletized Load System (PLS) A1 trucks will share a common cab with the HEMTT A4 , they will also be able to use these armor kits when they are fielded. 

Nov 4/08: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received the new FHTV-III multi-year contract, which will add more than 6,000 upgraded vehicles to the U.S. Army’s FHTV fleet.

The initial delivery order is a $1.267 billion requirements contract firm-fixed-price contract to buy 2,285 new HEMTT-A4 trucks, 768 HEMTT RECAP trucks, and to upgrade a lower model truck. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI with deliveries expected to begin in November 2008 and an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited and one bid was received by TACOM in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0024). 

A series of orders that were issued in February and March 2008 raised initial HEMTT A4 orders to 1,745 new and 292 RECAP trucks, with production slated to begin in July 2008. The initial delivery order under FHTV-III will more than double this total.

This article can be found in its original format here.

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