Mack Defense of Upper Macungie Township, Pa., has landed one of its largest contracts, a deal that has the potential to keep the Mack Trucks’ subsidiary busy for the next seven years.
The contract, valued at up to $296.4 million and officially awarded to Mack Defense on May 29, calls for the company to provide 20-ton heavy dump trucks to the U.S. Army through May 2025. Michael Clow, spokesman for the U.S. Army Program Executive Office in Warren, Mich., confirmed Mack is the sole recipient of the award, which includes five test trucks followed by a quantities that will be determined based on available funding.
While defense budgets can be unpredictable, the contract allows for a maximum of 683 armor-capable or armored heavy dump trucks, according to the original solicitation from the Army issued about a year ago. The final number of delivered trucks, however, could be lower.
“The new truck is intended to provide soldiers a modern, capable, commercially based platform to load, transport and dump payloads at engineering and construction sites, under diverse operational and climatic conditions,” Clow said in an e-mail, adding that some of the trucks in the field are 50 years old.
The big question is: Where will these trucks, which will be assigned to Army units across the globe, be assembled?
The award announcement May 29 said work locations and funding will be determined with each order. Mack officials, meanwhile, did not immediately provide a comment.
In some past contract wins, Mack Defense has said the trucks would be assembled at the Mack assembly plant in Lower Macungie Township that has about 2,400 employees. That’s the case with a recent U.S. Defense Logistics Agency contract that Mack Defense was awarded, in which the company will supply trucks and tractors to several military branches through 2023.
In other cases, however, the work is done elsewhere. For example, in mid-2015, Mack Defense won a pair of contracts — with a combined value of about $560 million — to provide trucks and equipment to the Canadian Armed Forces. Though delivery of those vehicles has been delayed, assembly is expected to occur at a plant in Quebec — in accordance with Canadian policy that requires companies that win defense and security contracts with their government to place business activities in the country.
Created in 2012, Mack Defense is headquartered in a suite at 7310 W. Tilghman St. in Upper Macungie. Mack typically has declined to disclose the number of Mack Defense employees for competitive reasons, but the company’s headquarters is known to manage defense engineering, contracting, purchasing, project management and finance activities.
Mack Defense is just one part of the Mack Trucks’ presence in the Lehigh Valley, a footprint that also includes the Lower Macungie plant and the Mack Customer Center in Allentown.