Mack Defense combines technical edge with a century of military service for CTT Program
An unmatched combination of experience, capabilities and resources underpin Mack Defense’s support of Common Tactical Truck Program.
The Bulldog brand’s rich heritage of delivering outstanding vehicles for the United States military opened a new chapter in 2023 with the award to Mack Defense of a contract to design, build, and deliver trucks for the prototype and testing phase of the U.S. Army’s Common Tactical Truck (CTT) program.
Mack Trucks has built military-capable vehicles for the U.S. and its allies since 1916 and earned its bulldog moniker from the from British soldiers in World War I for the AC model’s tenacity on the battlefields of Europe. During WWII, Mack supplied more than 32,000 trucks for the Allies. In the decades since, Mack continued to engineer and manufacture military spec heavy trucks, as well as adapt commercial products to the needs of the armed forces. In 2011, Mack Defense, LLC was created specifically to grow Mack’s capability to pursue military opportunities as well as to align the North American defense division of the company with its parent Volvo Group’s defense organizations (Volvo Defense and ARQUUS) globally.
Recently, Mack Defense delivered vehicles to both the U.S. and Canadian armed forces. Its current project, supplying M917A3 Heavy Dump Trucks (HDTs) to the U.S. armed forces, is a prime example of how Mack Defense modifies and militarizes a commercially available product to meet the demanding needs of the military. Thus, Mack Defense was well-prepared earlier this year when it was awarded a contract for the prototype and testing phase of the CTT program.
The CTT program will replace the Army’s fleet of heavy tactical trucks that perform a wide range of combat service support missions. Contested logistics on the future battlefield demand a new generation of tactical trucks that feature advanced technologies coupled with tactical mobility. In addition to be being based on a commercially available platform, the CTT program also requires advanced driver safety systems, increased off-road mobility, fuel efficiency and advanced cybersecurity. Additional requirements for the CTT program dictate that the winning company has a resilient and established global supply chain network and product commonality across all variants of the CTT target fleet.
The prototypes will be tested and evaluated by the Army including soldier touchpoints to determine the final requirements for the next generation of trucks to ultimately begin modernization and replacement of the Army’s fleet of over 35,000 heavy tactical trucks which perform a wide range of combat logistics, support, and service support missions.
Mack Defense, together with ARQUUS, and Volvo Defense, form the Volvo Group’s teams supporting military sales. With this global cooperation, the product lines and operations among divisions can be shared in efforts to continually improve customer satisfaction and support, including a global supply chain, modular platforms and what Volvo Group calls Common Architecture & Shared Technology (CAST). CAST develops a competitive set of modular products and services that are easy to integrate, and address future legal, market and societal needs, while designed to meet and exceed customer expectations around the globe.
The U.S. Army’s requirements for the CTT program dictate a modern, scalable commercial-based platform with advanced safety technologies, increased off-road mobility, advanced cybersecurity, open systems architecture, improved fuel efficiency and commonality across truck variants to promote enhanced sustainability.
During the initial phase of the CTT program, the Army intends to evaluate engineering designs and prototypes from multiple vendors to determine the final requirements. This will likely lead to another competitive phase for an eventual production contract. The initial production contract could amount to over 7,000 trucks valued at more than $5 billion.
By leveraging the Volvo Group’s vast global strengths and capabilities, Mack Defense is uniquely qualified to meet the requirements of the CTT program and apply its expertise gained through its leadership in the rapidly advancing fields of driver safety systems, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, improved fuel economy, vehicle electrification, off-road mobility and predictive maintenance.
Vertically Integrated Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturer and a Vital Part of a Global Organization
Mack Defense is a U.S.-based wholly owned subsidiary of Mack Trucks, part of the Volvo Group. Mack Trucks is vertically integrated with its own truck designs and its own engines produced in the U.S. Our engine and transmission facility are based in Hagerstown, Maryland. The Mack Trucks and Mack Defense assembly plants are in Macungie and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Mack Defense is part of the Volvo Group, a global truck brand network that includes Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks, with manufacturing facilities in 19 countries, offer support to customers in more than 130 countries, and servicing customers worldwide through its global parts and service-logistics capabilities. The Volvo Group is also a leader in advanced vehicle safety technologies, diesel engine design and advanced powertrains such as battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell. It is also heavily invested in research pertinent to designing the most productive trucks, such as materials, connected communications and advanced diagnostics.
Within the global enterprise, Volvo Group’s truck brands have a highly integrated network for parts acquisition and distribution, service and maintenance, and user training.
Current Supplier to the U.S. and Canadian Military
Mack Defense is currently performing two major defense programs of record, each with a scope that directly aligns with the CTT. Both projects use modified commercial-based vehicles from the extensive global Volvo Group network with a proven design.
The first is the U.S. Army’s M917A3 Heavy Duty Dump Truck (HDT). The M917A3 HDT is based on the commercial Mack® Granite® model. Mack was awarded the contract in 2018. Mack Defense modified its commercial Mack Granite to meet specific military requirements, including all-wheel drive, replaceable armored cab, military spec lift and tie downs and integration of C4ISR in the cab. The 8-by-8 dump truck which has up to a 27-ton payload capability also shares major components from the commercial Mack Granite model, including the powertrain solution, base frame design, non-armored cab and electronic system.
The Army conducted more than two years of testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds to validate that the HDT met all program requirements including force protection system performance. Serial production of the M917A3 HDT was started in 2021 with an initial order of 155 units, followed by a second order for another 144 units. In 2023, Mack Defense received an order for 135 additional trucks for the U.S. Army M917A3 HDT program. For this new order, 60 HDTs are being purchased by the U.S. Army Reserve, 74 are being funded by the presidential budget and one is being purchased by the U.S. Navy. With this tranche, a total of 446 HDTs have been ordered to date.
In 2020 within the contract timeline, Mack Defense completed the build out of the Canadian Medium Support Vehicle System – Standard Military Pattern (MSVS-SMP), with 1,587 units produced. For the MSVS-SMP program, Mack Defense chose the Renault Kerax for the base common commercial chassis, which was used to create a family of vehicles, including cargo with crane, LHS, troop carrier, gun tractor, Mobile Repair Truck, LHS trailer and armored cab for the Canadian military. Mack Defense brought together expertise from the U.S., Canada, and France to successfully deliver the vehicles during a five-year production contract from June 2015 to June 2020 and is currently in the nineth year of a sustainment contract for the MSVS which includes parts, field service, maintenance and repair.
Modular Platform Aligns with CTT Requirements
The Army’s CTT goals for commerciality, commonality and evolving technology without obsolescence directly align with Volvo Group’s modular CAST platform.
Through CAST, Mack takes an aggregated view on common architecture and platform solutions and strives for continuous development of standardized interfaces for both hardware and software.
The CAST ecosystem lets Mack Defense leverage design features and processes developed over decades of large-scale commercial truck production to maximize product sustainability for the intended CTT fleet. Sustainability is critical to both commercial vehicle design as well as to military vehicle design. Leveraging the Volvo Group’s global capability to provide long-term sustainability is key to the success of any commercial or military fleet.
For more than a century, Mack has supported the U.S. military with unmatched heavy trucks for whatever the mission required. Armed with Volvo Group’s resources, Mack Defense remains the best choice to design, develop and deliver militarized versions of our commercially-based products as solutions for the U.S. Army’s CTT prototype program to effectively inform the final production requirements.