(CNN)The Army this week selected the company to build its much-anticipated new vehicle to replace the Humvee -- a multibillion dollar contract.
Army picks new vehicle to replace the Humvee
Oshkosh Corporation, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, won the $6.7 billion contract to produce the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which will also be used by the Marine Corps.
The initial order will be for 17,000 vehicles, with production set to begin next year. The Army expects to have its first JLTV unit ready to go in fiscal year 2018, according to a release from the Army.
Oshkosh beat out two competitors for the final contract: defense giant Lockheed Martin and AM General, which manufacturers the Humvee. The tactical vehicle-maker will produce a two-seat and four-seat version of the vehicle, as well as a corresponding trailer.
Each of the three bidders produced 22 prototypes of their version of the JLTV, which were tested for 14 months leading up to the final award contract.
Oshkosh hailed the award and pledged a JLTV "that no other vehicle can match," per the company's executive vice president.
"Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer," Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John M. Urias said.
"The Oshkosh JLTV allows troops to travel over rugged terrain at speeds 70% faster than today's gold standard, which is our Oshkosh M-ATV. Looking to future battlefields, we know that our troops will face a myriad of threats. Soldiers and Marines can be assured that the highly capable Oshkosh JLTV will perform the mission."
A brochure for Oshkosh's JLTV advertises the vehicle's off-road capabilities, including adjustable suspension, external protections that can withstand blasts as well as blast-protected seats, and better fuel efficiency.
The Army felt the need to replace the Humvee to keep up with modern battlefields, especially the increased use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq. Metal shields had to be created to retrofit Humvees with more protection in Iraq.
"The HMMWV was the right capability for its era," Scott Davis, Scott Davis, program executive officer at the US Army's Combat Support and Combat Services Support, told Army-Technology.com.
He continued: "It was never intended to be a combat vehicle. Adding the protection soldiers needed in today's full-spectrum threat environments to a HMMWV substantially degraded its mobility, and in some cases eliminated its payload capacity."