CHICAGO - Executives from U.S. specialty truck maker Oshkosh Corp said on Thursday the company's 2010 outlook had been improved by the string of recent Pentagon contract awards.

But they acknowledged they were not sure how a protest by two losing bidders on the defense contracts, Britain's BAE Systems PLC and Navistar International Corp, would ultimately play out.

Speaking at the Longbow Industrial Conference in New York, company executives also warned they expected difficult market conditions would continue in most of the company's non-defense markets next year.

In addition to heavy and medium tactical vehicles, Oshkosh makes firetrucks and other emergency vehicles, cement mixers and garbage trucks, and telehandlers and other aerial access equipment used by builders. (Reporting by James B. Kelleher, editing by Dave Zimmerman)