Northrop Grumman files protest over JLTV decision

Northrop Grumman was not among the companies awarded a continuation contract for development of the U.S. Army's and U.S. Marine Corps' Joint Light Tactical Vehicle platform of battle vehicles.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (Los Angeles, Calif.) on Nov. 7 reported that it has filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a review of the evaluation conducted by the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Source Selection Authority (SSA) to identify development teams for the technical demonstration (TD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps announced on Oct. 29 the selection of three companies to continue development on the composites-intensive JLTV program. Together, the three contracts are worth a combined total of approximately $166 million. They were awarded to: BAE Systems Land & Armament Systems – Ground Systems Division (Santa Clara, Calif.); General Tactical Vehicles, a joint venture of General Dynamics Land Systems Inc. and AM General LLC, (Sterling Heights, Mich.); and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego (Owego, N.Y.).

Northrop Grumman cited what it says are inconsistencies in the bid and evaluation process that unfairly placed the Northrop Grumman team at a competitive disadvantage. Northrop Grumman has requested that the GAO examine the process, which it believes is marred by unstated requirement changes and arbitrary maturity ratings. 

Northrop Grumman, and its partner Oshkosh Defense, are requesting that the GAO to examine several aspects of this competition, including:
--The SSA misapplied the stated evaluation criteria, elevating maturity level subfactors to a super factor status. The evaluation also reflected an unannounced agency decision to transform the solicitation from a TD phase to a defacto System Design & Development (SDD) effort.
--The SSA relied unreasonably on company self-evaluations of design maturity and failed to conduct an adequate, independent assessment of the submitted designs.
--The value of a demonstrator was not made clear, nor did the SSA make a meaningful assessment of demonstrator vehicles and their relevance to proposed designs.
--Cost was undervalued by the SSA in its determination, disregarding significant cost savings offered by Northrop Grumman.