Humvees developed a reputation for being ill-equipped to deal with improvised explosive devices during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Humvees developed a reputation for being ill-equipped to deal with improvised explosive devices during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. - 
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 The military is in the market for a replacement for its iconic and ubiquitous vehicle: the Humvee.

The army’s joint light tactical vehicle program — or JLTV — aims to buy around 55,000 of these new vehicles over the next 25 years, says Brian Friel, a government contracts analyst at Bloomberg.

The Humvees are outdated, but they also developed something of a reputation during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that was for being ill-equipped to deal with IEDs, or improvised explosive devices. The military reacted to the growing threat by fortifying existing Humvees and bringing in MRAPs, or mine-resistant, ambush-proof vehicles.

“The JLTV is seen as the longer-term fix to a problem that was sort of Band-Aid patch,” Friel says. Those battlefield improvisations came as at a cost: they were too heavy.

The new JLTV will get back to basics: light, quick and ubiquitous.  

Lockheed Martin and Oshkosh Defense have submitted bids, and so has AM General, which made the original Humvee.

Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha, says all bids are not created equal. “Lockheed Martin, you know, this will probably be a picture and a footnote in their annual report if they win it,” he explains.

On the other hand, winning the contract might be make or break for AM General, he says.

 

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Follow Tim Fitzsimons at @@tfitzsimons