The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld the army’s decision to award a $9.7-billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) production contract to AM General instead of incumbent contractor Oshkosh Defense.
The decision was released three months after the Wisconsin-based firm filed a protest, citing “significant concerns” about how competing proposals were evaluated.
According to the office, which provides investigative services for the US Congress, the US Army reasonably evaluated both bids under previously-released criteria.
It added that any judgments regarding the JLTV contract were adequately supported by written proposals and inspections.
“GAO concluded that the Army reasonably and equally conducted discussions because the agency identified proposal aspects requiring revision, and did not engage in conduct that favored AM General over Oshkosh,” GAO attorney Edward Goldstein said.
In February this year, AM General clinched the recompete contract for the US Army JLTVs initially awarded to Oshkosh in 2015.
The service exercised its option to re-open the bidding to determine if other companies could build the product at a reduced cost.
However, Oshkosh protested the decision, claiming the government did not adequately review the bids’ financial, technical, and manufacturing aspects.
The army also did not consider the “best value and lowest risk solution” for the contract, according to Oshkosh.
“As the incumbent manufacturer and original designer of the JLTV platform, only Oshkosh’s proposal leveraged substantial JLTV experience and proven JLTV production infrastructure, while providing best-in-class upgrades to the JLTV platform,” the company stated.
The protest was expected by some close observers, especially since Oshkosh had already received a $6.7-billion low-rate initial production contract for 16,900 JLTVs before the army decided to open bidding again.
In a statement sent to Breaking Defense, an Oshkosh spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the protest rejection.
She insisted that its proposal was the “lowest risk, best value solution” for the US Army.
“While this news is disappointing, it does not take away from the hard work we have done since receiving the initial contract in 2015.”
“As we move forward, we will continue to focus on our mission to provide the highest quality vehicles and technologies that enable our warfighters to perform their missions and return home safely.”
The spokesperson did not say whether Oshkosh would go to court to try to block the award.