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NIWC Atlantic Completes Integration of 1,000th Light Vehicle for the Marines

25 August 2021

From Steve Ghiringhelli

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic integrated its 1,000th Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) for the U.S. Marine Corps on Aug. 13, a significant accomplishment since fully consolidating its integration operations to Charleston a short eight months ago

“This is a testament to the dedication and talent of our workforce,” said Peter C. Reddy, NIWC Atlantic executive director. “Ever since this work began in earnest earlier this year, the Expeditionary Warfare (ExW) Department rose to each and every challenge, whether it meant unloading an entire shipment of JLTVs in the railyard over a weekend or meticulously implementing countless engineering proposals — the team got the job done.”

Manufactured in four variants, the JLTV is the U.S. military’s next-generation light vehicle built to essentially replace its fleet of Humvees. For the Marines, NIWC Atlantic ensures all command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems on the JLTV are fully operational.

From amplifiers, radio transmitters and smart-screen displays to cabling, bracketry, dashboards and power supplies, each piece of C4ISR-related hardware undergoes rigorous engineering, integration, testing and quality control reviews at NIWC Atlantic.

“This is an important milestone for two reasons,” said Jay Moore, JLTV Total Package Fielding (TPF) project lead. “First, it highlights the critical integration work we are doing for the Marine Corps. Second, it shows what a talented and hardworking crew we have behind the scenes.”

In addition to the Marines, NIWC Atlantic performs integration and quality assurance work on JLTVs for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

In the Marine Corps, the JLTV program is part of the Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) program management office, which fell under Program Executive Officer Land Systems until last year, when the Logistics Combat Element Systems portfolio at Marine Corps Systems Command took it over.

Beginning in mid-2019, JLTVs began rolling out to Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) bases and facilities around the world. Initially, the manufacturer shipped the trucks directly to the MEFs, where NIWC Atlantic-led teams conducted C4ISR integration in the field, even developing a mobile test bench to accomplish that mission.

As operations ramped up, all three MEFs began issuing various requirements, ultimately resulting in three different trucks, which led to some continuity and uniformity issues, according to Jenny Anderson, JLTV TPF production lead.

“Plus, we had the high costs of keeping our people on the road months at a time,” she said. “Then the pandemic forced shutdowns and they were quarantining in hotels, away from their families.”

In order to cut travel costs, increase product commonality and enhance across-the-board quality controls, operations narrowed to one location late last year.

“We started doing some integrations here last summer, but when the first trainload arrived around Christmas 2020, it was full steam ahead,” Anderson said. “Now, with the efficiencies we’ve achieved in Charleston, we are maintaining consistent, across-the-board standardization, with trucks all leaving here looking the same.”

Alden Hawkins, quality assurance lead on the modern vehicle fielding (MVF) team, spent most of the pandemic deployed to I MEF in Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he led a JLTV integration team. With operations now in Charleston, Hawkins said he is not only home every night but also regularly interfacing with the engineering teams so he can act as a bridge to the integration lines concerning engineering change proposals (ECPs) designed here.

“When it comes to ECPs, Alden basically wears three hats,” said Danny Kohl, MVF IPT tech lead. “He’s involved with the entire process, from engineering work to integration to quality assurance.”

Hawkins also reviews initial readiness checklists (IRCs) that account for a JLTV’s vitals once the truck arrives from the manufacturer, including all electrical and mechanical components.

“We’ve streamlined every process that touches the JLTV, from the initial IRC to the ECP requests to enabling production lines to hit the ground running once the truck clears,” Hawkins said. “It’s always our goal to deliver a consistent and quality product.”

Jenny Bennett, MVF team lead, said hard work at refining processes and creating opportunities for collaboration, which included better integrating engineering teams under MVF projects, has been vital to the team’s success this past year.

“This consolidation has brought diverse talents together and created a strong team environment where warfighter support is everyone’s primary mission,” Bennett said. “All of the teams worked so well together. I couldn’t be prouder. To me, it’s a very big deal to have gotten this far so quickly.”

Reddy echoed Bennett’s remarks, commending the workforce for its commitment to the Marine Corps mission. “The results from this team are a shining example of the kind of support a naval expeditionary force-in-readiness needs and deserves,” he said. “The outcomes also highlight the unique flexibility and responsiveness a naval warfare center can deliver.”

About NIWC Atlantic

As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.

 

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