WASHINGTON — Joint Light Tactical Vehicle-maker Oshkosh Defense announced it has agreed to buy engineering company Pratt Miller, which brings with it artificial intelligence, autonomy and robotics expertise.

Oshkosh said in a Dec. 15 news release that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pratt Miller in a cash-free, debt-free purchase price of $115 million.

The New Hudson, Michigan-based Pratt Miller will keep its name, team, facilities and branding, according to the statement.

The engineering company was founded in 1989 and is becoming known for its robotics capabilities. The firm recently won a U.S. Army contract in a partnership with QinetiQ to provide prototypes of the light variant of its Robotic Combat Vehicle for evaluation.

Pratt Miller also won a contract to develop a design to integrate a new weapon system onto a Stryker combat vehicle under the Stryker Medium Caliber Weapons System lethality program. It is partnered with Rafael in the competition in which government testing of offerings is ongoing. The Israeli government recently expressed enthusiastic interest in mating Oshkosh vehicles with Rafael’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

In addition, Pratt Miller was one of six companies chosen by Army Futures Command to work on ways to improve the currently cumbersome, taxing and sometimes risky munitions resupply system for field artillery units operating M109 Paladin howitzers.

“Pratt Miller has made significant advances in dynamic growth areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous and connected systems and electrification,” which puts Oshkosh more into the robotics game than ever before.

“We believe combining Pratt Miller’s engineering expertise with Oshkosh’s innovation and operational strengths will enable us to better serve customers and position our Company for growth,” John Pfeifer, Oshkosh Corporation president and chief operating officer, said in the statement.

“Pratt Miller’s motorsports heritage has created a culture of speed and agility that has defined our success,” added Matt Carroll, the company’s CEO. “Oshkosh is an ideal partner for us to apply that mindset to some of the most significant challenges facing customers today. Together, we expect to grow our decade-long partnership and expand our pipeline of new business opportunities. We look forward to learning from one another and continuing to innovate to bring market-leading products to our customers.”

The buy, which is subject to customary closing conditions, should be complete in the first quarter of calendar year 2021, the statement noted.

The acquisition also could give Oshkosh more leverage in competitions like JLTV re-compete effort which has recently kicked off and the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program to replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. A request for proposals for the OMFV program is expected to drop by the end of the week.

Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.

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