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Navistar withdraws JLTV protest

Navistar has chosen to withdraw its protest of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle competition after issuing a protest with the Government Accountability Office Aug. 31.

The JLTV competition is the race to build the Humvee replacement. The Army plans to buy at least 50,000 new trucks while the Marine Corps hopes to buy another 5,500.

In August, the Army awarded Oshkosh, AM General and Lockheed Martin with engineering, manufacturing and development contracts, each worth about $60 million for the 27-month phase of the competition. Navistar, BAE Systems and General Dynamics were left out.

Army leaders held the source selection evaluation results debrief on Aug. 30. Navistar leaders left the meeting with "initial concerns," said Navistar spokeswoman, Elissa Koc.

Neither BAE Systems nor General Dynamics have issued protests thus far. BAE spokeswoman Stephanie Bissell Serkhoshian said the company has not made a final decision and "are currently considering how to proceed."

The companies had to issue their protests the next day, Koc said. Because of the tight deadline, Navistar chose to issue the protest in order to give themselves time over the Labor Day weekend to review the problems they had, she said.

"If we didn't file anything Friday, we wouldn't have been able to review it," Koc said.

Navistar offered their Saratoga truck for the JLTV competition. The vehicle looks like a smaller version of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and was not originally built to compete for the JLTV contract.

Navistar officials would not provide details on the specific problems they had with the results of the EMD selection process. However, on Tuesday, the company has started the process of withdrawing their protest, Koc said.

Navistar is still considering competing for the production phase of the JLTV competition, but at this time the company is "going to look at other opportunities," Koc said. Company officials have said the Saratoga truck has received interest from international buyers. It was recently displayed at the Eurosatory international defense conference this summer in Paris.

Army and Marine Corps officials have long emphasized their interest in speeding up the JLTV competition. Acquisition leaders cut the EMD phase of the contract from 48 months down to 27 after industry execs boasted to military leaders that it wouldn't take long to build test vehicles for the competition.

Tighter deadlines mean the companies have to make faster decisions regarding protests in order to protect the opportunity to issue one. Considering the number of companies who offered bids, many analysts expected a protest to occur.

However, the Army and Marine Corps' decision to offer the opportunity to bid on the production phase of the contract means the three companies denied EMD contracts might want to stay in the JLTV program manager's good graces. Many will watch if the tighter timeline for the EMD phase will cause more challenges going forward.

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