AUSA NEWS: Mack Defense Submits Bid for Army Tactical Truck Program
Mack Defense photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mack Defense, the Army’s provider of heavy dump trucks, has submitted a bid for the service’s Common Tactical Truck program, the company’s president confirmed Oct. 11.
The Common Tactical Truck, or CTT, program is the Army’s effort to modernize its tactical wheeled vehicle fleet, replacing the service’s current heavy tactical vehicles such as the M915/M1088 Tractors, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck and Palletized Load System.
Several industry teams have entered the competition for CTT, with Mack Defense submitting its bid at the end of August, company president David Hartzell said during a media briefing at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.
AM General, manufacturer of the Humvee, announced Oct. 10 that it was partnering with Italian truck maker IDV to bid on the Common Tactical Truck. IDV, a part of the Iveco Group, is a partner with BAE Systems on the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle program. "The team's High Mobility Range Vehicle architecture for CTT will be based on a newly launched highly modular range of trucks, specifically designed for military use," a statement said.
Communication from the Army during the 2022 Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering Technology Symposium in August indicated the service is looking to award contracts for the prototype phase of the program in December, Hartzell said.
Mack Defense currently produces the M917A3 heavy dump truck for the Army as part of a seven-year contract the service awarded Mack Defense in 2018. The company is part of the Volvo Group, “the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world” according to Hartzell.
The commercial resources at its disposal give Mack Defense a potential advantage in the CTT competition, he said.
“What we're touting is the fact that we come from one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers,” he said. “We have that global capability, we have that global maintainability supporting infrastructure … we are in many cases already the [original equipment manufacturer] developing and bringing that technology to the market.
“We're leveraging all of that capability,” he continued. “The government's not going to pay us to develop an active safety system, or they're not going to pay us to develop an autonomous capability. We're bringing that technology development with us — in many cases, we’re the forerunners in that capability, in that type of technology.”
Many of the capabilities needed for the CTT vehicle sets are already part of the Mack Defense’s offerings, Hartzell said.
“The basic truck design, the frame systems, the cab, the non-armored cab, the electronics, the engine, all that kind of stuff — it's going to be our commercial base platform,” he said. “The degree of commonality across that whole range of CTT is going to be very optimized for the U.S. Army, so from a maintenance, training, sustainability perspective, they're gonna get a really good proposal.”
Additionally, as the Army looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of its climate strategy, Mack Defense’s CTT bid includes “fuel demand reduction” systems that already existed within the Volvo Group, Hartzell said.
Another key capability the Army has emphasized for the new truck is autonomous operations. Mack Defense worked with the company Robotic Research as part of its bid “to make sure that we didn't have any gaps in capability,” he said. Robotic Research was an ideal partner because of its experience working on military applications for autonomous technology, including participation in the Army’s leader-follower program, he added.
Hartzell expressed confidence in Mack Defense’s ability to meet the Army’s requirements.
“We're showing the Army the extent of capability; here's commercial vehicle industry, here's how we can take that commercial base platform … and we can militarize it, and we can meet your performance requirements, or exceed them,” he said.
“We're hoping to meet the Army’s objective-level requirements, and hoping that helps differentiate us … that positions us well to compete for the production contract.”