Sometime in 2015, the Pentagon will choose the successor to the venerable Humvee. But for now, the competition is still going, with battle-tested ground vehicle manufacturers like Oshkosh and AM General preparing for a "production readiness review" courtesy of the governmental decision makers come August. While Oshkosh and AM might be the big names in the contest to choose America's next top fighting vehicle, formally known as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, there is another competitor that's preparing to kick off production of its own truck – Lockheed Martin.

Despite the wide-open nature of the competition, the big-name defense manufacturer is set to flip the switch on a line at its Camden, AR factory. Why so soon? Because the company was essentially forced to relocate its JLTV challenger from the Sealy, TX factory of its partner, BAE Systems, after the British company shuttered the plant responsible for building Lockheed's prototype trucks.

That's left the company in an interesting position.

"This isn't a new line; we literally picked up the line and moved it," Scott Greene, VP of ground vehicles in the Missile and Fire Control division, told Breaking Defense.

That's not a disadvantage, though, as Harold O'Neal, the VP of product operations, told BD.

"We could [turn on the line] today, but we're [first] verifying every single adjustment and modification we've made," O'Neal said. That sort of stringent, comprehensive checking and rechecking is nothing to scoff at, particularly considering how important the JLTV is to the company.

The Camden factory has never actually built trucks before, and following the well publicized problems plaguing some of LM's latest products, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and USS Freedom littoral combat ship, one could say the need to get this one right is high.

Still, O'Neal seems confident of the new product and the team in Camden.

"We have a skilled, trained, certified workforce in Camden," O'Neal told BD, calling it a facility with "all the combined process skills, process certification, process training."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe they should design a new combat ready tow truck so it can defend itself while retrieving all the broken down Humvee replacements it's sure to have. Unbelievable, I can't wait to see how much this toad will cost per unit.
      Sturgeon's Law
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah, give this contract to Lockheed. They have already proven how effective they are at delivering a system on time and on budget with the highly-successful F-35 program.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sturgeon's Law
        you amused me good sir, and caused a hearty chuckle
      45 ACP
      • 1 Year Ago
      LM is sure making history...A combat ship that can't steer and the designers put in flawed defensive systems but argue that by thinking speed is the answer...apparently they believe that torpedoes / missiles don't go over 45 knots, a plane that can't fly and the fire in the engine is outside the burn chamber, and now it seems that want to produce a new truck....I'm guessing the steering wheel will be a cost overrun and it will be unable to withstand 7.62 bullets or RPG's. They should change their name to Cost Overrun, INC.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Then in 2016 Congress and the White House will make an excuse to invade another country on B/S to test it with the F-35 junk fighter.
      AL Patriot
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why would they relocate the Production Line to Camden, Arkansas? Somewhere close to Memphis or Dallas would make more sense. I guess they got a great deal on some real estate and the wages would be lower.
        car czar
        • 3 Months Ago
        @AL Patriot

        Its close to the red river arsenal where most land vehicles go to get final unit specific equipment installed.

      Merle Dickey
      • 1 Year Ago
      That looks like one of the vehicles that some of the big police departments have been driving!! Do we need to be intimated?
      • 1 Year Ago
      I didn't realize there were so many defense industry and aerospace experts reading the Autoblog forum...
      • 1 Year Ago
      The government should give the specificatioins for project and send to bidders, let the companies to produce proto type ready for manufacturing....for the F-35, U sell it for 337 millions each and Chinese version of F-35 that has 2 engine is being produce now, might outperform the U S F-35 and will probably sell for 60 millions...nobody will buy F-35 except the U. S govt, will be absolete when it will be put in service.
      John Adan
      • 1 Year Ago
      How much? Give the contract to POLARIS. They will make something that can move and work.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why don't they call it the H-35, and they can design a single chassis that will serve all the needs of the Marines, Air Force and Navy....oh, and it will be 3x over budget and cost a TRILLION dollars to maintain them over their lifespan!
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