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Ruling Expected in December on Lockheed's JLTV Challenge

The Government Accountability Office is expected to rule in December on Lockheed Martin Corp.'s protest of the Army's decision to award Oshkosh Corp. a contract to develop a Humvee replacement, an official said.

Heidi Shyu, the service's top acquisition official, said the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress that arbitrates federal contract disputes, will make a ruling on the legal challenge by or on Dec. 23, during a discussion on Tuesday at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Lockheed and Oshkosh officials have been tight-lipped on the protest.

The Army in August  awarded the truck-maker a $6.7 billion contract to build the first 17,000 production models of the so-called Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The work could eventually be worth some $30 billion, as the Army and Marine Corps plan to buy a total of nearly 55,000 of the combat vehicles, including 49,100 for the Army and 5,500 for the Corps, to replace about a third of the Humvee fleets.

A couple of weeks later, defense-contracting giant Lockheed, which competed for the program, as did Humvee-maker, AM General LLC, protested the Army's decision to award the contract to Oshkosh.

"After evaluating the data provided at our debrief, Lockheed Martin has filed a protest of the award decision on the JLTV program," Lockheed said in a statement at the time. "We firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the program. Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s offer."

A spokesperson for Lockheed said at the show that there hasn't been any new statement.

Oshkosh, meanwhile, was showing off its JLTV, which offers a similar level of protection to its Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV -- built for the war in Afghanistan -- but at a third less weight.

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