Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Army Opts for Traditional JLTV Suppliers

The US Army has opted to go with traditional suppliers and not buy the Raytheon-Blackwater Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

The decision has prompted the company to lay off manufacturing workers and shutter its truck-building division. "We have stopped building all trucks," says spokesman Anne Tyrrell.

Blackwater's business model had promised a very flexible production process for the military.

"Blackwater is situated to do rapid prototyping and low rate production," according to a review of the JLTV in "The manufacturing facility is co-located with both an on-road and off-road test track. Their explosive and ballistic test ranges are a few hundred yards from manufacturing facilities. Locating their production facility in the middle of a 'tactical laboratory,' shortens the feedback cycle during the test and evaluation phase. Blackwater can build a prototype in the morning, and test it 10 times in the afternoon.

"The Raytheon/Blackwater vehicle has undergone extensive performance testing. The Raytheon/Blackwater JLTV has all the protection of Blackwater’s MRAP II vehicle, but features superior mobility than a Humvee. In designing their vehicle, Blackwater collaborated with a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing team, a champion Rock Racing Team and a Monster Truck Team. The challenge is finding a way to get championship performance out of commercially-available components. Blackwater and Raytheon have succeeded in doing that by tapping the experience of seasoned, experienced racing professionals. As the only truck manufacturing company who actually has its own people in the field, Blackwater has a unique insight into the tactical requirements."

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