The Belgium Ministry of Defence has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract for 322 Oshkosh Defense Command and Liaison Vehicles (CLV) for the Belgium Defence Forces. The announcement came at the start of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) virtual conference (October 13-16).
The Belgian CLV is the proven Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) platform from Oshkosh equipped with Belgian communication systems. The JLTV is currently used by the US military.
Traditionally procured via foreign military sales, the Belgian procurement marks Oshkosh Defense’s first large direct commercial sale of a JLTV-based vehicle.
Belgium joins the United States, tLithuania, Slovenia, and Montenegro in selecting the vehicle. Oshkosh beat off competition from other European 4x4 contractors for the prestigious contract, which will see the JLTV replace the Belgian Army's 437 Light Multipurpose Vehicles, the IVECO Lynx 4×4.
“The Oshkosh CLV offers Belgian soldiers the world’s most advanced light military vehicle, delivering next-generation levels of protection, off-road mobility, speed, transportability, and seamless operational and logistical interoperability with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies,” said John Bryant, executive vice president, Oshkosh Corporation, and president, Oshkosh Defense.
John Lazar, regional vice president of International Programs at Oshkosh Defense said the JLTV's reliability, mobility and MRAP level of protection in a highly mobile vehicle platform is unrivalled. "The JLTV has completed over 400 miles in development and operational testing," he said. "That's unprecedented."
Lazar also highlighted the JLTV's TAK-4 independent suspension system, which provides 508 mm or 20 inches of wheel travel and its 16,000 mean miles between mission failure, which he said was double that of competitors' vehicles.
"The JLTV is 70% faster than any of its competitors off road and can easily keep up with combat formations," said Lazar, a factor which no doubt appealed to NATO countries like Lithuania and Slovenia, which are worried about a resurgent Russia on the alliance's eastern flank. Lithuania has agreed to buy 200 JLTVs with an option to procure an additional 300 vehicles. The vehicles are expected to be delivered from next year. Slovenia will acquire 38 JLTVs.
Last year, Montenegro said it would procure 67 JLTVs and the vehicle is also entering a Demonstration Phase with the UK Ministry of Defence,which will see UK equipment integrated onto the vehicle.
Belgium's Director of Land Systems, Colonel Filip De Varé said Belgian Defence opted for a worldwide competition in which “value for money” was the only criterion. “The CLV will be integrated in the Capacités Motorisée (CaMo) programme, an international partnership between the French and Belgian land forces.”CaMO will see Belgian land forces completely re-equip the combat fleet of its motorised brigade. Future vehicles will be equipped with a unique underlying system of network radios, which forms part of the French SCORPION system, which stands for “Système d'information de Combat”.
Oshkosh has already produced 8,800 JLTVs for the US Department of Defense. "The economies of scale are huge," said Lazar. The JLTV entered Full-Rate Production last year.