Army Mission: Destroy Mack’s Heavy Armored Dump Truck

March 18, 2019 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

The U.S. Army plans to pay Mack Truck’s defense unit nearly $300 million to build armored dump trucks. But before the new trucks go into the field, the military will try to destroy one or more test models.

“We will literally shoot it with machine guns and blow it up and see what happens,” Lt. Col. Jeff Jurand, the Army’s product manager for heavy tactical vehicles, told Trucks.com.

The Army wants to make sure that soldiers in the armored compartment can survive the effects of a large-scale blast.

“The most important asset to the Army is the soldiers,” Jurand said. “I can buy dump trucks. But I can’t buy, train and replace soldiers.”

M915A5 made by Daimler Trucks

Parts for older vehicles in the Army’s dump truck fleet, like this Daimler Trucks M915A5, are difficult to find. (Photo: Capt. Adrian Silva/U.S. Army Reserve)

40 WEEKS OF TESTING

That’s why “destructive live fire” is one part of the 40-week test program that begins this summer at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.

The trucks will be used in tasks ranging from humanitarian missions to repairing supply routes and creating helipads and landing strips in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

The armored dump trucks won’t carry weapons like other military vehicles, Jurand said. But the soldiers and engineers assigned to them will be protected based on threats they are most likely to encounter.

Working with its supplier, TenCate Advance Armor Inc., Mack Defense conducted its own live-fire exercise on a modified Mack Granite truck with an armored cab, Jurand said.

The truck “will provide the Army the legendary durability and toughness Mack customers have come to depend on,” said David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense.

AM General M-917 dump truck

An AM General M-917 dump truck is among the models in the Army’s fleet. (Photo: Capt. Colin Cutler/U.S. Army Reserve)

AGING FLEET

Some of the Army’s heavy dump trucks are up to 50 years old. Finding replacement parts is tough. The 1,000-truck fleet is made up of decades-old trucks from Daimler Trucks Freightliner division, AM General and the former International Harvester Co.

The Army expects to take delivery of 42 Mack Granite trucks over the next year based on its request to Congress in the 2020 fiscal year budget. Depending on how much the Army gets in future defense budgets, Mack could supply up to 600 armored dump trucks by 2025.

Mack Defense won the contract in 2018 over Navistar Defense, a unit of Navistar International Corp.

“We’ve got readiness problems up and down the fleet for heavy dump trucks, so the Army decided to launch a program to try to get that fleet healthy,” Jurand said.

The Army required that the new trucks be able to handle 22.5-ton payloads of sand and gravel, crushed rock, hot paving mixes, earth, clay, rubble, and large boulders. They are modified with heavier-duty rear axles, all-wheel drive, ride height and ground clearance.

Alan Adler September 26, 2018
The U.S. Army is deploying 60 autonomous trucks years ahead of its goal of gaining experience with unmanned logistics in self-driving trucks.

5 Responses

  1. Dan

    Dont have to blow it up just drive it for awhile and the engine shutdown will kill it when all the def issues arrise.

    Reply
  2. Michael McDonald

    It’s great to see groverment willing let Mack get involved with them. The company has been struggling for years. Also I’m loyal Mack truck owner makes me feel proud because I drive one every day for 40 years and my son and daughter 4 the generation get in driving them too.

    Reply
  3. Kevin Scarbel

    “Parts for older vehicles in the Army’s dump truck fleet, like this Daimler Trucks M915A5, are difficult to find.”

    Well, that comment simply is not true. Daimler can supply any and all parts for the M915A5.

    Reply
  4. Pavel Medek

    Try to “kill” Israeli Doobi (Cat D9T) – that’s the worthy challenge!

    Reply

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