The U.S. Army just took a big step closer to getting a brand-new, high-tech ride. Yesterday the Army announced the three companies that will continue to develop the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a sort of blend between today’s workhorse Humvee and the bomb-resistant MRAP trucks that have saved so many lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lockheed Martin, AM General and Oshkosh Defense each received around $30 million to refine their JLTV prototypes ahead of a final selection 27 months from now.
At stake in the seven-year-old competition: up to 50,000 trucks for the Army and another 5,000 for the Marines, at a cost of $250,000 apiece. The nearly $14-billion program is one of the few big, near-term prizes in Pentagon budgets squeezed by war costs and the economic downturn.