When Armored Vehicle Manufacturers Fight, Lives Are Put At Risk

Armored Car

American military still waiting for its new toy.

The defense industry is the kind of place you’d think is made up of tough individuals who stitch their own wounds using hair and needles, so its surprising when they act like a bunch of big babies. But that’s exactly what Lockheed Martin is doing ever since it lost the contract to build the military’s next JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). Earlier in 2015, Wisconsin-based defense firm Oshkosh beat Lockheed Martin and AM General for the contract to build 16,901 vehicles that would replace the Hummer that the US military currently uses.

Previously, AM General had the contract, which spawned GM's infamous Hummer. After seeing what the Hummer's replacement might look like, we seriously doubt that any automaker will fight over who will make the civilian version of this truck. Oshkosh’s offering is called the Light Combat Tactical All Terrain Vehicle (or L-ATV), although nothing about it looks light or agile enough to be tactical. The 6.6-liter Duramax diesel-powered truck was put on hold after Lockheed Martin protested the results of the competition for the contract, and now the L-ATV seems like it will arrive six months behind schedule. Of course, the Army will get its share of the armored vehicles first while the Marines will have to wait longer.

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This seems like a childish move on the part of Lockheed Martin, until you consider that the contract was for $6.7 billion. That kind of payout for a single contract sounds like a huge deal, especially when you consider that you can buy 27,602 Ferrari 488 GTBs with that kind of dough. In the mainstream world of automobiles, drama like this happens all the time, except usually there’s a lot less money at stake and far fewer lives are put on the line. We’d hope that Lockheed Martin would learn from Takata and GM about playing the stalling game on things that could be potentially life threatening. We think that Lockheed Martin could take a lesson from the racing world on losing. The best way to go about it is to take the loss and try to win next time.

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