Mack Defense Shows Off First Five Of Hundreds Of Heavy Dump Trucks For The Army

ALLENTOWN, PA (June 07, 2019) – M917A3. While that might seem like a random assortment of letters and numbers, it’s the name of the program that Mack Defense has ingrained in its head as it gears up to provide hundreds of heavy dump trucks to the U.S. Army over the next several years.


PICTURE: Mack Defense rolls out first of Army heavy dump trucks Jeffrey Jurand, Product Manager of Heavy Tactical Vehicles for the U.S. Army offers customer remarks on the first five M917A3 heavy dump trucks produced by Mack Defense, who hosted a rollout ceremony on Friday, June 7. “I think Mack Defense figured out how to make dump trucks look sexy,” Jurand said in his speech. The company will continue to produce and supply the Army with these trucks until 2025 after a $296.4 million contract in 2018. (Kristen Harrison/The Morning Call)

During a ceremony Friday at the Mack Trucks Customer Center in Allentown, the company presented the first five trucks to the U.S. Army, which will soon take the vehicles to its Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. There, in a testing slated to start in August and run for about six months, the vehicles will undergo rigorous procedures, pushing its mobility and payload capacity to ensure it meets the Army expectations, said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Jurand, the Army’s product manager for heavy tactical vehicles.

Jurand liked what he saw Friday. “I think Mack Defense figured out how to make dump trucks look sexy,” said Jurand, noting soldiers will be thrilled to see the fleet of bulldogs arrive in the years ahead. At the conclusion of his speech, Jurand, who expressed a desire to swipe one of Mack’s bulldog hood ornaments, was presented with a gold bulldog ornament of his own.

Friday’s event came a little more than a year after the U.S. Defense Department awarded the contract to Mack Defense, a deal that is valued at up to $296.4 million and runs through May 2025 (Mack Defense wins $296 million Army contract). While defense budgets can be unpredictable, the contract allows for a maximum of 683 armor-capable or armored dump trucks, according to the original solicitation issued by the Army in 2017.

The trucks will eventually be assigned to Army units across the globe, vehicles that will provide soldiers with a modern truck — some of the vehicles in the field now are 50 years old — to load, transport and dump payloads at engineering and construction sites.

More specifically, Jurand explained, the trucks will go to Army construction engineers who are tasked with building or repairing horizontal infrastructure, such as roads and airfields.

“When you’re deployed to austere environments, they don’t have the road network capable of supporting the volume and size of logistics necessary for the Army to sustain ground-combat operations,” he said, noting the necessity of moving heavy fuel, ammunition and parts.

For the project, Mack Defense, a subsidiary of Mack Trucks, chose the brand’s Mack Granite model as its basis for the Army truck.

“That really allows us to give them a very, very good product, a proven product, at a competitive price, so they get the best value out of that defense dollar,” Mack Defense President and CEO David Hartzell said.

The event Friday came a little more than a week after Mack Defense announced JWF Defense Systems would provide the armored cab system for the Army dump truck. JWF, based in Johnstown, will fabricate and paint the complete armored cab system, which Mack Defense will then install.

Final assembly and installation of the cab will be done by Mack technicians at the company’s Lower Macungie Township plant, which employs about 2,500.

While the test trucks presented Friday were unarmored, Mack is scheduled to deliver six armored vehicles to the Army in the second quarter of 2020. Testing for those trucks, Jurand noted, will involve actually trying to blow the vehicles up, putting them through destructive live-fire procedures to verify they meet the Army’s protection requirements.

Mack Defense hosted a ceremony on Friday, June 7 to roll out the first five heavy dump trucks to the U.S. Army. The company will continue to produce and supply the Army with these M917A3 trucks until 2025 under a $296.4 million contract signed in 2018. (Kristen Harrison/The Morning Call)

If all goes according to plan in testing, full production of the dump trucks could start in October 2020. Jurand projects the first Mack dump trucks could be in the field in late 2021.

For Mack Defense, created in 2012 and headquartered in Upper Macungie Township, the contract provides an opportunity to build on a relationship with the Army and continue its theme of “one product, one customer,” said John Larkin, the company’s heavy dump truck program manager.

“The soldier is the ultimate customer of our product,” he said.

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