The Pentagon on Wednesday ordered Oshkosh [OSK] to cease work on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), pending a protest by losing competitor Lockheed Martin [LMT].

Oshkosh on Aug. 24 won an initial $6.7 billion contract for low-rate initial production of the JLTV, besting incumbent Humvee manufacturer AM General and Lockheed Martin. The full program for more than 55,000 trucks is worth an estimated $30 billion.

JLTV Photo: Oshkosh Defense
Photo: Oshkosh Defense

Oshkosh’s light combat tactical all-terrain vehicle (L-ATV) beats out incumbent Humvee manufacturer AM General and a Lockheed Martin-BAE Systems team for the enormous contract to build the first 17,000 of more than 55,000 JLTVs for the Army and Marine Corps.

Lockheed Martin earlier this week filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which will file a report on the protest within 30 days (Defense Daily, Sept. 9) . Lockheed Martin then will have another 10 days to argue why its JLTV candidate was the better vehicle and a better value for the Defense Department. The GAO must issue a decision on the protest within 100 days of a protest being filed, which would be around Dec. 18, though it could either uphold or dismiss Lockheed Martin’s protest any time before that date.

Contracting officers are required to halt work on a contract after being notified of a protest to the GAO, an Army spokesman said in a statement.

“The JLTV program office has been notified by GAO of a filed protest, and a stay of contract performance has been issued,” the Army said. “The program will continue to fully comply with applicable regulations, and we remain confident that the JLTV program is well positioned to provide our soldiers and Marines a substantial capability improvement while remaining affordable for America’s taxpayers.”

By request, all three JLTV competitors were briefed on the performance of their vehicles following the contract award. AM General decided it would forego a protest and instead focus on maintaining and modernizing the Army and Marine Corps’ remaining Humvees, which number more than 160,000. The company almost immediately was rewarded with a $428 million contract to build ambulance-configured Humvees for the Army.

In the wake of Lockheed Martin’s protest and based on its own briefing on the government’s decision, Oshkosh insisted it had been fairly awarded the JLTV contract.

“The U.S. Army conducted a thorough and highly-disciplined evaluation for the JLTV production program to reach a clear conclusion:  the Oshkosh JLTV is the most capable vehicle for our troops, and the best value for the American taxpayer.  Oshkosh is honored to be chosen for this critical program,” said Oshkosh spokeswoman Jennifer Christiansen.

“Following the U.S. Army’s debrief to Oshkosh regarding the results of the evaluation, we are more confident than ever that the Department of Defense’s decision to award the JLTV contract to Oshkosh will be upheld,” she said in a statement to Defense Daily. “ Ultimately, and most importantly, our nation’s brave Soldiers and Marines will get the best vehicle to keep them safe during future missions. Our employees stand ready to begin executing this critical program to produce these life-saving vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps.”