Oshkosh Defense has filed a formal bid protest with the UG Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the US Army’s recent decision to award a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) follow-on contract to AM General under what is called the JLTV A2 Program, the company announced on 6 March 2023.

Spurning Oshkosh as the incumbent provider, the US Army awarded AM General a five-year contract (plus five-year option) worth USD 8.66 Bn to produce up to 20,682 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and up to 9,883 JLTV Trailers for the US armed forces and Foreign Military Sales customers on 9 February 2023.

“After participating in the government’s post-award debriefing process, we have significant concerns regarding the evaluation of the proposals under the solicitation that support an independent review,” Tim Bleck, Oshkosh Corporation Senior Vice President and Oshkosh Defense President, outlined in a 6 March company press release.

“We believe the government’s evaluation did not properly review the financial, technical, and manufacturing capabilities offered to select the best value and lowest-risk solution to deliver the JLTV.”

With Oshkosh the losing incumbent provider in the JLTV A2 Program contest, it was not surprising to many that the company has protested the awarding of the contract to AM General. (Photo: Oshkosh Defense)

Oshkosh has been the provider of JLTVs to the US military since 2015, after being chosen in August of that year as the winner of the initial JLTV contest with a vehicle solution based on its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV). The company was at the time awarded a contract worth up to USD6.75 Bn, which covered two years of low-rate initial production and five years of full-rate production, and has since delivered more than 19,000 JLTVs and 3,500 of their associated trailers.

However, soon after the initial JLTV contract was awarded the US government purchased the data rights to the JLTV Technical Data Package from Oshkosh and re-affirmed in a press release on 9 February, “This competitive follow-on production contract has been part of the JLTV acquisition strategy from the beginning and focused on a best value determination that includes retaining the capability of the JLTV today, while ensuring that it can be upgraded in the future with the latest technologies.”

Oshkosh had, in fact, recently won more JLTV business just prior to the A2 award. On 6 February 2023 the company announced it had received an USD84.9 Mn JLTV order from the army that was the third such order in two months, with those contracts having a combined value of USD 730 Mn and covering more than 2,000 JLTVs.

The US Army stated on the announcement of the A2 award, “The JLTV follow-on contract request for proposals, in accordance with the Army Climate Strategy, sought to incentivize offerors to propose fuel efficiency technologies that targeted on-the-move fuel economy improvements and anti-idle capability in support of optimizing combat effectiveness. The JLTV A2 design is the first tactical wheeled vehicle with baseline architecture utilizing lithium-ion batteries, which is a key enabler for anti-idle capability.

“Effective competition is the critical element for controlling cost and maximizing buying power for the government,” the army statement noted. “The JLTV engagement strategy with industry has been very successful in establishing executable timelines, adding mature technology insertions, and providing transparency throughout the process to allow contractors to make individual business decisions.”

In its descriptive guide to bid protests the GAO states that it “shall issue a decision on a protest within 100 days after it is filed”.

Peter Felstead