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25 Apr 14. The Government Accountability Office on Friday told lawmakers the U.S. Army made a “sound” decision when it decided to skip prototypes in a $6bn competition for a new combat vehicle that was unsuccessfully challenged by General Dynamics Corp. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, said the Army had taken other actions to reduce cost and risk on the new vehicle program, including reducing requirements and opting to modify an existing vehicle built by BAE Systems Plc. The agency is required by law to review any Pentagon decision to waive a 2009 federal law that is aimed at saving money and time by requiring competitive prototypes before work starts on any new major weapons programs. In this case, GAO said, the Army had concluded that it would cost between $198m to $341m to build up to six vehicle prototypes and would add 19 to 31 months to the program’s schedule while generating no benefits. The Pentagon notified Congress last November that it had waived the prototyping requirement for the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program due to “excessive cost,” triggering a mandatory review by GAO. GAO said that in justifying the lack of prototypes, the Army and Pentagon cited market research that found the requirements for the new vehicle could be met by modifying existing combat vehicles with mission packages that had already been fielded and prototyped. GAO said it reviewed the Army’s cost-benefit analysis and found it be consistent with Pentagon guidelines. It said the Army could have more fully evaluated the potential benefits of reducing development risks through prototyping but that its decision to skip prototypes for the new vehicle appeared sound. General Dynamics argues that the Army’s approach is skewed to favor BAE’s tracked Bradley Fighting Vehicle over its own wheeled Stryker vehicle. On Friday, spokesman Pete Keating said the GAO report provided further evidence that the Army wanted to use the BAE vehicle and was not open to other entrants. “This is clear evidence that the competition and requirements are structured in such a way that … we could not compete,” Keating said. The Army rejected a protest filed by General Dynamics, which last week said it had decided not to pursue a separate protest with the GAO. Several lawmakers who back General Dynamics have said they hope to draft legislation that would require the Army to buy a mixed fleet of modified Bradley and Stryker vehicles for the new armored combat vehicle.
(Source: Reuters)

24 Apr 14. Burkina Faso counterterrorism force gets new vehicles, equipment. The United States has delivered 10 vehicles, communications equipment, uniforms, helmets, body armour, medical equipment, and organisational equipment to Burkina Faso’s new Counter-Terrorism Company, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 22 April. The announcement was accompanied by a photograph of five Mercedes-Benz trucks.The DSCA said the vehicles and equipment were delivered under the Section 1206 Program, a fund that was set up to improve foreign security forces that are involved in counterterrorist operations or supporting US military operations. While Burkina Faso is not previously known to have Counter-Terrorism Company, the DSCA may have been referring to the l’Unité d’Intervention Polyvalente (UPI): an elite police unit established in January 2013 to fight organised crime and terrorism. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

21 Apr 14. The Lockheed Martin Team’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) has achieved 100,000 miles in the government’s Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) testing. In August 2013, Lockheed Martin delivered 22 JLTVs to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps for EMD testing, which will continue through the fall. RAM testing i

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