Oshkosh receives $438 mln order

Oshkosh Corp, set for a trophy visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates today, said it had received a fresh, $438 million order for Afghanistan-bound armoured trucks.
The order, the fifth in a series, was for 1000 more all-terrain vehicles designed to withstand roadside bombs and handle Afghanistan’s rugged countryside, a company statement said.
Gates is to visit Oshkosh’s manufacturing plant today, in the Wisconsin city from which it takes its name, to showcase its work on what the Pentagon calls the urgently needed mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs.
The Defense Department appears eager to highlight the company as a poster child for efficient, scalable production as it pushes other military contractors to do better at equipping US forces for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The secretary wants to thank the workers there for doing everything they can to expedite the production of this life-saving vehicle,” Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said last week.
Oshkosh’s production ramp-up, from 46 of the armoured, off-road trucks in July to a scheduled 1000 per month in December, is “an amazing display of industry and dedication to the war effort,” he said.
Including the latest award, Oshkosh is now set to deliver a total of 6219 such vehicles for a total of more than $3.2 billion, the company said yesterday.
Oshkosh received the initial award for the so-called MRAP All Terrain vehicle on June 30.
The company said it had beat MRAP-ATV delivery requirements for the fourth month in a row and was on schedule to deliver 1000 a month in December.
The first seven of the vehicles were shipped to Afghanistan in September. The Pentagon, concerned at the growing toll of roadside bombs on troops in Afghanistan, is now flying them in to get them there faster.
Existing Oshkosh manufacturing facilities have available production capacity for all current and pending military vehicle programs, including M-ATV and a mid-sized supply truck re-competition, as well as any surges in production, Oshkosh said yesterday.
The company won a potential $3.5 billion US Army contract in August to build mid-size supply trucks. BAE Systems Plc, the incumbent and a larger manufacturer, and Navistar International Corp, another rival, have formally challenged the award known as the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.
Oshkosh said last month it was confident the formal protest process would uphold its award. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s audit and investigative arm, is due to rule on the protests by Dec. 14.
Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, voiced concern last week about protests’ becoming “common or routine.”
Carter spoke as he showcased the new Oshkosh trucks bound for Afghanistan. He did not address the specifics of the BAE protest, but praised Oshkosh’s performance on the MRAP-ATV contract, contrasting it with programs that may take a decade or more to get new weapons to US forces.

Pic: MRAP trucks