The Defense Department announced Tuesday evening that Oshkosh has won a decision -- the initial M-ATV contract -- with the potential to reshape the Army and Marines for the next decade. Oshkosh won a deal worth $1 billion to build and support 2,244 M-ATVs, a little more than half of the recently pegged requirement.
The Joint Requirements Oversight Committee announced earlier this month that the requirements for M-ATVs is an impressive 5,200 vehicles, which may mean as much as $5 billion is at stake just for the M-ATV award. Given what Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said about MRAPs becoming the new vehicle for the FCS follow-on, the M-ATV award may become as important to the Army as the decision to cancel the Manned Ground Vehicle has become.
[Here's the official contract announcement:
Oshkosh Corporation., Oshkosh, WI is being awarded a $1,055,910,053 Firm Fixed Priced Delivery Order Number 0002 under Contract W56HZV-09-D-0111 for the purchase of 2,244 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs), Basic Issue Items, Field Service Representative Support, Equipment, Engineering, Authorized Stocking List Parts Packages and Prescribed Load List parts packages. The US Army Tank Automotive Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.]
The players in this part of the drama are BAE Systems; Oshkosh Corp., Navistar International and Force Dynamics, a joint venture between Force Protection Inc. and General Dynamics. Each company was contracted to build at least several test vehicles.
If the Marines have much to say about the contract award -- and they should given their numbers in Afghanistan -- I'm giving Oshkosh a leg up on this one. The Oshkosh vehicle is built on the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) chassis and uses the TAK-4 suspension, which more than 10,000 MTVRs use. And senior Marine leaders have been very publicly enthusiastic about the MTVR's performance in Afghanistan. Let's hope there are no protests.