2009-07-09 / Front Page

$1.05 Billion Defense Deal Will Call Back JLG Workers

Armored truck cabs to be built here for Oshkosh
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

Oshkosh M-ATV offers superior mobility and survivability for the U.S. Armed Forces. BUSINESS WIRE PHOTO: Oshkosh M-ATV offers superior mobility and survivability for the U.S. Armed Forces. BUSINESS WIRE PHOTO: JLG Industries got a muchneeded shot in the arm last Tuesday when parent company Oshkosh Corp. announced it had won a billion-dollar U.S. Department of Defense contract that will bring laid-off workers back to JLG's McConnellsburg plant.

The $1.05 billion order for 2,224 armored vehicles addresses the immediate need of ground forces fighting in Afghanistan for explosion-resistant trucks that are lighter and agile enough to navigate the country's harsh terrain.

Reports published in several newspapers last week say the truck's cabs will be built at JLG's McConnellsburg plant and that hundreds of laid-off workers will be called back to work.

Oshkosh spokesperson Ann Stawski, however, said on Monday only that production and assembly will take place in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. She said that Oshkosh is still meeting with the contracting entity and that production plans and employment figures have not been finalized.

Employment numbers, Stawski said, will be determined before the end of July.

JLG has laid off a little more than half of its workforce since it began downsizing a year ago. The majority of those layoffs took place at its McConnellsburg facility.

Oshkosh's mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle, or M-ATV, was selected by the Army after months of testing on production-ready vehicles built by Wisconsin-based Oshkosh and three other companies that were vying for the huge contract.

The Associated Press reported last week that Oshkosh was unanimously picked to build the armored vehicle, saying the Oshkosh prototype "proved to be more resistant to explosive blasts and its mobility was best or equal to every other offering."

Oshkosh performed more than 7,500 miles of independent off-road testing to identify possible enhancements to the armored vehicle so it would meet or surpass the Pentagon's performance requirements.

The contract has a ninemonth delivery schedule, with the first vehicles due to the Army in August. Stawski said Oshkosh will eventually speed up production to 1,000 vehicles a month.

Robert Bohn, chairman and chief executive officer of Oshkosh, said, "Due to the urgent need of our armed forces for a survivable and highly mobile vehicle, our corporation's number one priority is meeting the department's (DOD) accelerated delivery schedule of the Oshkosh M-ATV."

To comply with the Pentagon's ramped up delivery schedule, Oshkosh began daily pro- duction of the M-ATVs a few weeks ago, ahead of learning that it had won the contract. The company said that it is going to talk to other manufacturers about possibly helping with production.

"While we believe we can meet or exceed the government's current delivery requirementsm we intend to enter into discussions with other manufacturers ... .," Bohn said.

Stawski on Monday also confirmed reports that by the end of July the Pentagon could place a second order with Oshkosh for more armored vehicles that would go the the Marine Corps.

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