Lockheed Martin has lodged a formal protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the national army's multibillion-dollar joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV) production contract award to Oshkosh Defense.
Last month, Oshkosh defeated Lockheed and AM General to win the $6.75bn contract that covers delivery of approximately 17,000 new armoured trucks and sustainment services. The entire contract is expected to have a maximum potential value of up to $30bn.
Lockheed said in a statement: "Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation of Lockheed Martin's offer.
"We firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the programme."
According to the rules, the army should issue a stop-work order to Oshkosh while the GAO reviews Lockheed's protest. However, information on whether the army issued such an order currently remains undisclosed.
GAO managing associate general counsel for procurement law Ralph White was quoted by Reuters as saying that the agency will issue a decision on the protest by 17 December.
Unidentified analysts said the protests could focus on how the US army evaluated the companies' technical data package offerings, and the way survivability requirements for the vehicle were compared.
Meanwhile, AM General decided against protesting the contract award and instead chose to continue sustainment of the US military's fleet of 230,000 high-mobility, multi-purpose wheeled vehicles, which will be replaced with the JLTV, to meet the requirements of future army missions through at least 2050.
In a statement, a company spokesman said: "AM General continues to believe that the BRV-O was the right choice for JLTV.
"However, we believe a protest would ultimately result in a distraction from our current growth business areas, including meeting the significant current and future needs of our customers in the US and around the globe."
The army confirmed to Reuters that it was aware of the protest filing and would extend full cooperation during the process.
Image: The US and Iraqi Army soldiers perform a routine patrol in a HMMWV in Saladin Province, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.