The U.S Army is taking delivery of its first heavily armored Mack dump truck in a move to upgrade its battlefield capability.
Deliveries of the Mack’s M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck to both the army and the U.S. Army Reserve are part of a nearly $300 million contract and began late last month.
Mack has a contract to produce up to 683 non-armored and armored M917A3 HDTs in the span of seven years. In 2018, Mack Defense beat out Navistar Defense, a unit of Navistar International Corp, to win the contract.
The vehicles went through two years of rugged tests at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, Md. The Army signed an agreement to purchase 99 trucks after reviewing how well it withstood battlefield conditions. The trucks are based on the Mack Granite heavy-duty work truck. Subsequent contracts have increased the number of trucks planned by the military.
Mack spent $6.5 million investment to build a dedicated production line for the armored dump truck at its former Customer Adaptation Center factory complex in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Production of the HDTs started in the first quarter of this year.
HEAVILY ARMORED MACK DUMP TRUCKS
While the heavily armored Mack dump trucks are based on a civilian truck model, they are designed for combat. The armored cabs, for example, are engineered to protect soldiers if there is a large-scale blast.
“Mack Defense engineers added heavier-duty axles and an all-wheel-drive 8×8 configuration while increasing the suspension’s ride height to create a heavy dump truck, “ said David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense told Trucks.com.
Mack Defense engineers also added heavier-duty rear axles and an all-wheel-drive 8×8 configuration. They increased the suspension’s ride height to create a heavy dump truck capable of meeting demanding payload and mobility requirements set by the U.S. Army, Hartzell said.
The 13-liter Mack MP8 engines, delivering 440 horsepower and 1,660 pound-feet of torque power the truck.
The interior features of the M917A3s are similar to the commercially available Mack Granite model. According to Mack, the civilian Mack Granite model is a top-selling vocational truck in North America.
A NEW FLEET
Dump trucks are a critical part of the U.S Army’s Engineer units. Heavy dump trucks are deployed to perform constructions and maintenance missions that create infrastructure. The army uses HDTs to build and maintain roads, landing strips, facilities for supplies and motor pools.
The Army’s current dump truck fleet is aging. Wolfgang Petermann, the U.S. Army’s project manager for transportation systems at the Detroit Arsenal, Mich., said that the current fleet includes variants that are nearly 50 years old.
“Many of the Army’s missions are within extremely austere environments, so if we need to build things to support combat or training operations, dump trucks are absolutely essential to the force,” he said.
Petermann said the “enhanced capability” of the new HDTs will bring to the “Engineer Regiment with modified commercial off-the-shelf capabilities leveraging the strength of the commercial auto and heavy-duty trucking industry.”
Mack’s M917A3 HDTs will freshen up the Army’s current fleet and better equip the Engineer Regiment to “maintain operational pace in the modern battlefield.”