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Oshkosh wins contract for Humvee follow-up logo 26-08-2015 2015 DW.COM, Deutsche Welle

The United States Army announced Tuesday that Oshkosh had been awarded a "low initial contract" worth about $6.7 billion (5.8 billion euros) to build 16,901 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs).

The procurement includes an option for the US Army to purchase a total of 55,000 of these multipurpose land vehicles through 2040 at an estimate cost of $30 billion.

The US Army said in a statement the JLTV program was intended to restore "flexibility and expeditionary capability" which was lost when roadside bombs in Iraq forced the military to move from the lightweight Humvee to heavily armored mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) trucks.

“Oshkosh has been building tactical vehicles for 90 years, so no other company understands the role that tactical vehicles play in our troops' lives better than Oshkosh,” the company's chief executive Charles Szews said in a statement.

Likely to appeal

Oshkosh's win in the public tender was a surprise because the Wisconsin-based manufacturer is only the 99th-largest US government contractor, and has defeated US defense titan Lockheed Martin, Britain's BAE Systems and former Humvee-maker AM General.

The losing bidders have 10 days to lodge a protest with the Government Accountability Office after they were briefed on the decision. Lockheed suggested that it may do so.

“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 company said in a statement.

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AM General also said they were reviewing the government's decision and were considering "all available options."

A bomb-proof truck

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.

Deadly attacks on Humvees during the Iraq war led the US Army to required that its Hummer 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

Army officials said all three bids came in below the requested price cap of $400,000 per vehicle.

uhe/cjc (Reuters, AFP)

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