- Contractor says it offered `most capable and affordable' bid
- Fight is over initial $6.75 billion for about 17,000 vehicles
Lockheed Martin Corp. has filed a protest seeking to overturn the U.S. Army’s choice of Oshkosh Corp. to build a new vehicle replacing the Humvee, a program potentially valued at as much as $30 billion.
Oshkosh was awarded an initial $6.75 billion contract for about 17,000 vehicles last month. The challenge pits Lockheed, the No. 1 U.S. government contractor, against Oshkosh, which ranked 99th in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“After evaluating the data provided at our debrief, Lockheed Martin has filed a protest of the award decision,” spokesman John Kent said Tuesday in an e-mail. “We firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the program. Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation” of the company’s offer.
The Army plans to purchase about 55,000 of the multipurpose Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for its troops and the Marine Corps through 2040 as a better-armored replacement for the aging Humvee.
The announcement came the same day that AM General LLC, the other losing competitor and the maker of the Humvee, said it wouldn’t file a challenge with the Government Accountability Office that handles protests.
The most famous case in the last decade of a successful protest was GAO’s 2008 decision supporting Boeing Co.’s challenge of an Air Force award to Northrop Grumman Corp. for its aerial refueling tanker. It cited “a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome.” Boeing won the rebidding.
Only 2.4 percent of protests over Defense Department contract awards have been sustained from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2014, according to an analysis of GAO data by Bloomberg Government analyst Jorge Uquillas.
“The government is aware of the protest” by Lockheed and “will fully cooperate in required processes,” Army spokesman Michael Clow said in an e-mail. “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.”
The GAO has until Dec. 17 to render a decision, according to spokesman Charles Young, who confirmed that Lockheed filed a protest.
If it wins the challenge, Lockheed would manufacture the vehicles at a Camden, Arkansas, facility. Oshkosh has its plant in the Wisconsin town of the same name, where it’s based.
The Humvee entered service in 1985, when “improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other anti-vehicle explosive devices were not a major factor in military planning,” according to a March 9 report by the Congressional Research Service.
The Army required that its Humvee replacement be able to survive the most destructive improvised bombs, be mechanically reliable and maintainable with onboard diagnostics, all-terrain mobility, and linked into current and future tactical data networks, according to the CRS.
Separately, AM General has just received a six-year, fixed-price contract valued at as much as $428 million to supply the National Guard with 654 of its new M997A3 Humvee Ambulance Chassis Vehicle designed for domestic disaster relief efforts, company spokesman Jeff Adams said in a statement.