Bad news for Ceradyne (Nasdaq: CRDN) shareholders yesterday morning -- but not all that bad. 

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) and partner Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK) announced Wednesday that Israeli armor specialist Plasan will supply the lightweight armor system to be used on their entry into the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) race. It's a fact that Northrop and Oshkosh have made their decision: Ceradyne's not getting the contract (as I suggested last month that it might ). But for Ceradyne shareholders (of which I'm one), it's not all that bad a bit of news.

After all, Ceradyne's place at the table always depended on two lucky throws of the dice: First, someone had to choose Ceradyne's new "Bull" armor system for use on its JLTV submission. Second, that someone had to win a contract to build a prototype. And considering the wide expanse of contestants bidding for one of perhaps two contracts to produce prototype vehicles for the Pentagon to examine, the likelihood that Northrop-Oshkosh would cast that second throw successfully was far from certain anyhow.

Oh, well. I suppose there's still a chance that one of the other teams will make cow-eyes at the Bull. Lockheed (NYSE: LMT)? Boeing (NYSE: BA)? General Dynamics (NYSE: GD)? Anybody wanna step up?

Now for something completely different
And speaking of JLTVs ... is anybody getting tired of that acronym yet? Good. Because it's time to name the winner of last month's impromptu "rename the JLTV" contest. My invitation for suggestions generated nearly two dozen emails, ranging from derivations of the name itself -- "Jolt-vee," sort of like how the HMWWV became the "Humvee," to the accidentally derisive "Bumvee" -- to suggestions that the military make our acronymic lives easier by re-acronyming the whole shebang -- Jammer (Joint Military Replacement) and JamRam (Joint Military Recon Mobile).

Two entries tied for most amusing:

  • Tom F. wrote in suggesting we call it the "Roach Coach" joint light tactical vehicle. (Think about it.)
  • With a nod to Brangelina, Joe O. dubbed the new-and-improved Hummer: "JoLi TV"

But the name getting the most votes -- and Joe O. gets credit for suggesting this one first -- is "Jolt" or, if absolutely necessary, "Jolt-vee". Exercising my powers of editorial discretion, I hereby declare that it shall be so named henceforth.

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