US specialty truck maker Oshkosh Corp. has won a contract worth up to US$6.75 billion to build 17,000 armored light tactical vehicles to replace the aging Humvees used by the US Army and Marine Corps.
Oshkosh beat a team made up of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Britain’s BAE Systems Plc, as well as AM General, a privately held company that built the original Humvees, for a deal that could be worth US$30 billion over time.
The two military services plan to buy a total of 55,000 of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) to start replacing the current combined fleet of about 140,000 Humvees.
US Army officials said they planned to maintain competition throughout the JLTV program, and the contract with Oshkosh included an option to buy the technical data rights to the new vehicles.
They said the firm, fixed-price terms of the contract would keep the program on track, and prevent the government from having to absorb any cost overruns.
Officials praised the Oshkosh vehicles but declined to give any details on why they chose them over rival bidders.
Analysts had favored Oshkosh to win the contract, given its record in cranking out thousands of tailor-made mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles for US troops in Afghanistan, a feat often lauded by top Pentagon officials.
Lockheed said it was disappointed by the decision and would await a briefing from government officials before deciding whether to protest the contract award. AM General said it was reviewing the decision and considering all options.
Oshkosh said it expected to start delivering the Humvee replacements to the military services in about 10 months.
The new JLTV aims to combine the protection of armored mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) with the off-road mobility of the original Humvees, which were slowed considerably by the addition of protective armor. The Army also wants better communications gear for the trucks.
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