A 7000-series vocational chassis with a civilian-style power train is the basis for a new group of specially armored trucks being built by an arm of International Truck and Engine for the U.S. Marine Corps. The heavy 4×4s, which the military calls Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected, or MRAP, will be used to transport troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and shield them against enemy improvised explosive devices.
International Military and Government LLC says the trucks are among a MaxxPro series it developed for the armed forces. This one has a crew of two and can carry 10 to 12 troops and their equipment. Assembly of 1,971 MRAPs is to be completed by next February under USMC contracts totaling $1.045 billion.
International's vocational-truck plant in Garland, Texas, builds the chassis and sends them to a military depot at West Point, Miss., where company workers install the armor. A V-shaped hull deflects the force of blasts from buried explosives, while armor along the sides protects against roadside blasts and small arms fire. The armor comes from Plasan Sassa, a specialty manufacturer in Israel, while automotive components are made by North American suppliers including International's Engine Group.
International is building the MRAPs "as fast as possible," said Archie Massicotte, the military arm's president. "...We offer a number of advantages: we produced over 161,000 commercial vehicles last year, we know how to mass produce quality vehicles, we manufacture our own diesel engines, we've forged strong relationships with a number of key suppliers, and we provide comprehensive global parts and service support for these trucks."
Army and Marine commanders in Iraq began asking for MRAPs several years ago, but Pentagon brass, who thought the war would soon be over, didn't respond until last year, according to news reports. Then they gave priority to MRAP procurement.
The Marines want to keep some MRAP specs confidential, but the gross weight rating is above 31,000 pounds. The MaxxPro armored trucks have the pre-EPA '07, DT 530 in-line 6-cylinder diesel rated at 300 or 330 horsepower, mated to an Allison 3000 5-speed automatic transmission. Meritor supplies the driving front and rear axles and transfer case. Most components, as well as the basic cab and nose, are taken from International's 7000 series civilian trucks.
"The urgency to rapidly deliver these life-saving armored vehicles to our military forces is clear," says Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Navistar International.