The hurdle thrown in the way of a the way of a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) that is supposed to replace the popular Humvee was set aside this week when the United States Government Accountability Office dismissed Lockheed Martin’s protest of the U.S. Army’s decision to award the replacement contract to Oshkosh Defence.
In August, 2015 Oshkosh won a $6.75 billion contract to build almost 17,000 mine-protected light trucks to replace the 30-year-old High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or Humvee. Snagging the contract puts Oshkosh at a prime position to bid for 55,000 vehicles worth over $30 billion. Oshkosh’s entry the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV) is mine-protected but is touted to have better off-road maneuverability and speed than an up-armoured Humvee.
Lockheed, which was one of the contenders in the JLTV program, filed a protest with the GAO on September 8. The GAO was scheduled to release its ruling on that protest no later than December 17. However, Lockheed filed another protest in court in December.
The GAO said it dismissed Lockheed’s protest because the company decided to file a “notice of Post-Award Bid Protest” with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on December 11. The company will file its official protest on December 11, according to the GAO.
“Our office will not decide a protest where the matter involved is subject to litigation before a court of competent jurisdiction,” The GAO said in its decision. “Based on Lockheed’s submission of its Notice to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims stating its intent to file a protest with the court involving the same subject matter as the protest pending out Office, we are closing our files without further action.”
In its September 8 protest, Lockheed said “We firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution to the program.”
In an interview with news service Reuters, Jeff Bialos, a former Pentago official and partner with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm, what Lockheed had done was a “known and used tactic.” He said it is usually done when companies think they have a better case with a judge than with the GAO.
Lockheed said on Tuesday that at the moment, it will not discuss the GAO decision.
Oshkosh said that following the GAO’s decision, the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command had directed the company to resume work on its L-ATV production.