OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — A lucrative military contract awarded to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. to build the Humvee’s replacement will provide an economic boost to the city of Oshkosh and across the state, company and local leaders said Wednesday.
Officials at a news conference hailed the $6.7 billion Army contract, Oshkosh Northwestern Media (http://oshko.sh/1KkQBeF ) reported. The Department of Defense on Tuesday awarded the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract to Oshkosh Defense, one of three firms that were finalists for the work.
The award means Oshkosh will produce for the Army and Marines about 17,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, which are designed to provide more protection against roadside bombs and mines than Humvees. Options for further contracts could push the total value to around $30 billion.
Oshkosh Corp. CEO Charlie Szews said the contract also means business for other firms, noting that more than 300 companies in 31 states supply his business. Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings said the contract also will help attract young talent to the east-central Wisconsin city, as the company seeks to hire engineers and other workers.
The contract is a timely boost for Oshkosh, which eliminated about 760 jobs last year because of declining defense spending. The company plans to build the vehicle in Oshkosh, with deliveries beginning in 10 months.
“I think it’s a very exciting day for Oshkosh Corp for the employees, for their families and certainly for the City of Oshkosh,” Cummings said. “The name Oshkosh historically has been synonymous with quality products.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, whose district includes Oshkosh, said the company builds a product important to the U.S. and its allies.
“They’re not little plastic widgets,” Grothman told Oshkosh Northwestern Media. “Its high-tech stuff going all over the world — and it’s safe. It’s not only saving lives of our servicemen, but also the lives of our allies around the world, as well.”
Oshkosh Defense beat out Maryland-based Lockheed Martin and Indiana-based AM General for the contract. Both companies have 10 days for file formal protests.
To support Lockheed’s bid, Arkansas lawmakers approved a plan earlier this year to sell $87 million worth of bonds to upgrade the plant where the company planned to build the vehicles. Oshkosh Defense officials said the company — Wisconsin’s largest defense contractor — didn’t need incentives to land the contract.
“Oshkosh was not dependent on economic incentives or taxpayer-funded bonds to build brand new capabilities to build the JLTV,” Jennifer Christiansen, vice president of Business Development Operations at Oshkosh Defense, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Pentagon officials declined during a briefing Tuesday to say why they chose Oshkosh over its competitors.
Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, http://www.thenorthwestern.com
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