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Mack Defense wins $296 million Army contract

U.S. Army in Syria (U.S. Army)

Mack Defense LLC of Upper Macungie Township has landed one its largest contracts in recent memory, 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 Tuesday, calls for the company to provide 20-ton 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 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 the Army issued about a year ago. The final number of delivered trucks, however, could be lower. The trucks will be assigned to Army units across the globe.

“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 email, adding that some of the trucks in the field now are 50 years old.

While the award announcement Tuesday said work locations and funding will be determined with each order, Mack spokeswoman Kim Pupillo said the Mack Granite models for the Army will be built in the Lehigh Valley. Mack’s assembly plant in Lower Macungie Township employs about 2,400 people.

Asked whether the Lower Macungie plant’s workforce could grow as a result of this contract, Pupillo said: “Employment is based on market demand, so we will continue to monitor the market.”

The plant also will receive work from another recent Mack Defense contract win: A U.S. Defense Logistics Agency contract, valued at up to $82.4 million and split between several recipients, that calls for the company to 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 total 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 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 has typically 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.

Mack Defense is just one part of Mack Trucks’ presence in the Lehigh Valley, a footprint that also includes the Lower Macungie plant and the Mack Customer Center in Allentown.

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© 2018 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

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