Oshkosh Defense tops Lockheed Martin, AM General for $30 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract
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Oshkosh Defense tops Lockheed Martin, AM General for $30 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract

Jul 13, 2023

An Oshkosk Defense variant of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which will be part of a $30 billion contract for the Army and Marine Corps.

South Arkansas and state leaders expressed disappointment on Tuesday upon hearing the news that Oshkosh Defense has won the contract to build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle – the next generation in military armored transport.

Lockheed Martin, a major defense contractor, was among the three bidders for the job to construct up to 55,000 vehicles for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. It created a manufacturing facility in Camden and planned to hire more than 600 people to build its version of the JLTV – a replacement for the military’s legendary Humvee.

Lockheed Martin has already produced several dozen prototype and test vehicles.

But late Tuesday, the Army announced that the Oshkosh, Wisconsin company would receive a $114,669,605 firm-fixed-price contract, with options, for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) low-rate initial production and full-rate production.

“I’m so disappointed,” said Cammie Hambrice, executive director of the Magnolia Economic Development Corporation. While the manufacturing facility was not in Columbia County, Camden’s neighbors hoped to land subcontractors and become home for parts warehouses for a military contract expected to eventually top $30 billion in value.

Put into perspective, the fiscal year 2014 budget for the State of Arkansas was about $20 billion.

Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 24, 2024. Fiscal 2015 research, development, test, evaluation, and other procurement (Army) funds have been obligated for initial production.

Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity for the Department of Defense.

Arkansas’ political leadership weighed in with statements.

“While Lockheed Martin was not selected as a contractor by the Department of Defense, the State of Arkansas did the right thing by supporting Lockheed Martin to make sure they were competitive,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “There is no doubt that we were competitive in terms of price, our workforce is second to none, and I remain very grateful for Lockheed Martin’s investment and confidence in our Camden facility. That investment will pay off in the long term.”

“While the JLTV will not be manufactured in Arkansas, our participation in this project will ultimately benefit southern Arkansas,” said Mike Preston, the new executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “Lockheed Martin has added some of the most advanced technology in manufacturing at their Camden facility and I have no doubt this combined with the area’s workforce will bring growth opportunities to the company in the near future.”

“I am disappointed in this decision but will continue to work with federal, state and local leaders to create future job opportunities for Arkansas,” U.S. Sen,John Boozman said. “I am optimistic that Lockheed Martin’s facility in southern Arkansas will continue to play an important role in support of our nation’s defense."

“I am disappointed the Army did not select Lockheed Martin to build the JLTV,” said U.S. Sen, Tom Cotton. “Camden is a first-rate facility and the people who work there are some of the best in the world. I know they would have put their hearts and souls into this project. It is reassuring to know that JLTV will protect our service members -- including the many who call Arkansas home -- no matter where it is produced.”

Arkansas legislators earlier this year approved an $87 million incentive package for the Lockheed Martin project, including infrastructure improvements and job training funds.

"I am disappointed that Lockheed Martin was not selected to produce the JLTV vehicles for the Defense Department,” said Staten Sen. Bruce Maloch (D-Magnolia). “The Lockheed Martin team, assisted by the State of Arkansas, put together a competitive bid. I believe Lockheed Martin will continue to be an important vendor for the Department of Defense and I will continue to work with the governor and economic development officials to bring good job prospects to South Arkansas."

Lockheed Martin issued a brief statement.

"The Lockheed Martin JLTV Team was disappointed to learn that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps did not select our JLTV. We believe we presented a very strong solution and await the customers' debrief to hear more detail regarding the reasons behind this selection before making a decision about a potential protest."

The third bidder was AM General – the manufacturer of the Humvee.

For Oshkosh Defense, the news was happier.

“Following a rigorous, disciplined JLTV competition, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are giving our nation’s warfighters the world’s most capable light vehicle – the Oshkosh JLTV,” said Charles L. Szews, Oshkosh Corporation chief executive officer. “Oshkosh is honored to be selected for the JLTV production contract, which builds upon our 90-year history of producing tactical wheeled vehicles for U.S. military operations at home and abroad. We are fully prepared to build a fleet of exceptional JLTVs to serve our troops in future missions.”

The company said the JLTV program provides protected, sustained and networked light tactical mobility for American troops across the full spectrum of military operations and missions anywhere in the world. The JLTV production contract awarded to Oshkosh includes a base contract award and eight option years covering three years of LRIP and five years of FRP. Oshkosh will begin delivering vehicles approximately 10 months after contract award.

“Because of the JLTV program, our soldiers and Marines are getting a level of technical performance that no other vehicle can match,” said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John M. Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. “Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer. The Oshkosh JLTV allows troops to travel over rugged terrain at speeds 70% faster than today’s gold standard, which is our Oshkosh M-ATV. Looking to future battlefields, we know that our troops will face a myriad of threats. Soldiers and Marines can be assured that the highly capable Oshkosh JLTV will perform the mission.”

The Oshkosh JLTV family is comprised of two variants, a two-seat and a four-seat variant, as well as a companion trailer (JLTV-T). The two-seat variant has one base vehicle platform, the Utility (JLTV-UTL). The four-seat variant has two base vehicle platforms, the General Purpose (JLTV-GP) and the Close Combat Weapons Carrier (JLTV-CCWC).

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