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AM General Lawsuit Against SOCOM Rejected; GD Starts Work on Special Ops Vehicle

Apr. 9, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By PAUL McLEARY   |   Comments
The prototype of the winning vehicle for the Ground Mobility Vehicle program.
The prototype of the winning vehicle for the Ground Mobility Vehicle program. (General Dynamics)
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WASHINGTON — On April 7, the US Federal Claims Court rejected military vehicle maker AM General’s lawsuit against the US Special Operations Command over its decision to award a $562 contract to General Dynamics for the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV) program, Defense News has learned.

After losing out to General Dynamics in August 2013 on the coveted contract to build 1,297 new light troop carriers for the command, both AM General and fellow losing bidder Navistar submitted formal protests with the Government Accountability Office.

The protests were denied on Dec. 19.

AM General then went a step further and sued on Jan. 6, after which General Dynamics also stepped in to file a Motion to Intervene, but a judge ruled on Monday that the AM General suit was to be dismissed.

AM General spokesman Jeff Adams said in a statement that the company “is disappointed” with the ruling, and “while we appreciate certain portions of the court’s evaluation which resulted in recognition of several of the points we contested, AM General continues to believe in the overall merits of its protest. Nonetheless, we have decided to accept the court’s ruling and will not pursue further action for review of our protest.”

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems spokeswoman Laurie VanBrocklin told Defense News in a statement that “we are very pleased that the award has been upheld and look forward to working closely with our USSOCOM customer. Our team’s combined knowledge and expertise in manufacturing lightweight high-mobility vehicles will help ensure we deliver a highly capable lightweight vehicle that meets the needs of the US Special Forces.”

The special ops command has said that it wants to buy 1,297 GMVs to replace the current 1,072 Humvee-based GMVs it has in its inventory. Budget documents show that SOCOM had previously planned to spend about $24 million on the program in fiscal 2014 for the first 101 vehicles, at a price tag of at $245,000 per vehicle.

With a marked decrease in ground vehicle production, the loss is a tough one for current GMV-maker AM General, whose Humvee is partially being replaced by the Army and Marine Corps with the coming introduction of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

Still, long-term ground vehicle plans call for approximately 50,000 Humvees to remain in the Army, Marine Corps and National Guard fleets for years to come, along with the reset and modernization work that gos along with it.

Oshkosh Defense had also been eliminated from the competition in January 2013, after which it filed a protest which was then withdrawn that April.

Requirements documents state that the GMV 1.1 will have to weigh less than 7,000 pounds, have the ability to carry up to seven passengers and be transportable in an M/CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

Final deliveries of all GMVs are expected to be complete by September 2020.

The ruling comes just days after the April 4 rejection by Army Materiel Command of a General Dynamics Land Systems protest disputing the fairness of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) competition. The company still has the option of lodging a more formal protest with the Government Accountability Office, however. ■

Email: pmcleary@defensenews.com.

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