WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin is protesting the US Army's decision to award Oshkosh a contract to build its Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), according to a company statement Tuesday.

"Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation of Lockheed Martin's offer," it said, adding, "we firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the program."

Oshkosh beat out both Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed for the $6.7 bmillion low rate initial production contract award to build 16,901 vehicles, but the entire contract is expected to be worth up to $30 billion.

AM General, which submitted its Blast Resistant Vehicle - Offroad as its bid for the JLTV program, has decided not to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office.

"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 United States and around the world."

AM General cites its 230,000 Humvees "currently serving as integral tactical vehicles of fleets around the world." And the company announced today it had secured a six-year, $428.3 million contract to provide the Army with M997A3 HMMWV-configured ambulances for domestic disaster relief by the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard.

The Government Accountability Office will have 100 days to review the program and issue a decision on the protest. Any work that would be performed under the contract must stop during the review period.

Previous contract awards from the Pentagon, such as the Air Force's KC-X tanker program and its Light Air Support contract, saw heavy political pressure from representatives of the losing companies.

So a statement by Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is notable.

"I believe Lockheed Martin has valid concerns over the JLTV contract award and under such circumstances, it is appropriate to file a protest and seek an independent review of the contract award by the [GAO]," said Boozman, who represents the Camden location where Lockheed would have produced the JLTV. " I look forward to the results and am confident that GAO will conduct a thorough review to ensure the Army complied with all applicable acquisition laws and regulations."

"Arkansas and its citizens should be proud of the efforts to win the JLTV contract," said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. "Should Lockheed Martin's appeal prove successful, the Fourth District of Arkansas stands ready to supply the military's needs."

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, previously released a statement, soon after the award, that expressed disappointment.

Staff Writer Joe Gould contributed to this report.

Email: jjudson@defensenews.com

Twitter: @JenJudson

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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