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Army’s New Vehicle Plan Faces Delay

December 6, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Army’s plan for fielding a new family of light armored vehicles _ a key step in an ambitious transformation of America’s land forces _ faces possible new delays, officials said Wednesday.

One of the losing bidders on the $4 billion contract to build 2,131 light armored vehicles by 2008 filed a formal protest of the award on Monday, and the Army was legally compelled to suspend the contract on Tuesday.

The protest was filed with the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, by United Defense L.P., based in Arlington, Va., which asserts that its proposal would have given the Army the product it sought more quickly and cheaply.

``We believe our proposal comes closest to meeting the Army’s needs for an accelerated fielding of an interim medium force,″ Tom Rabaut, United Defense’s chief executive officer, said in a statement Monday.

Maj. William Bigelow, an Army spokesman, said the General Accounting Office has up to 100 days to consider the protest. It is possible that the Army could seek a GAO ruling that would allow it to proceed with the contract work while the protest is considered, but the Army has not yet decided to do that, officials said.

The contract winner was a consortium led by General Motors Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.

The Army disclosed at the time it announced the contract winner in November that it had fallen 16 months behind scheduling in equipping the first Army unit with the new family of light armored vehicles. It is possible as a result of United Defense’s protest that schedule could slip even more, officials said.

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