Rheinmetall wants to build a new US military truck together with GM Defense. The project can result in an order worth up to $14 billion.06.02.2023
The financial controllers of the companies involved get teary-eyed at these sums: the US military is planning up to 14 billion US dollars (currently the equivalent of around 12.8 billion euros) for the renewal of the truck program of the "Common Tactical Trucks" (CTT). For this maximum sum, the remarkable number of up to 40,000 heavy military trucks is to be procured as a replacement for outdated technology.
The German armaments company Rheinmetall can now record a first stage victory. The Düsseldorf-based group entered into an alliance with the General Motors subsidiary GM Defense in 2022 to take part in the huge tender. With success, because in addition to Oskosh (where the Hummer successor is being built) , Navistar Defense and Mack Defense, the German-American duo nn has been selected for the first phase of the project.
The basis is the HX3 from Rheinmetall
In this first phase, which is endowed with a comparatively modest 24 million US dollars for the companies involved, three prototypes each have to be built, which are then included in the tough army test program. This selection process, which will determine the suitability, performance and robustness of the test vehicles, is scheduled to take place in early 2024.
Except for the required US specifications, the vehicle entered into the race by GM Defense and Rheinmetall corresponds to the latest generation HX3 from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV), a Munich-based joint venture between the truck manufacturer MAN and Rheinmetall. The HX3 was presented in 2021 as a further development of the previous HX series. It can already look back on a long tradition (see picture gallery with models currently in use by the Bundeswehr). As the MAN GL KAT 1, the extremely off-road truck with the characteristic angular cab made its debut in the German army in 1976.
Assistance systems like in the civilian truck
The new HX3, which is now supposed to qualify for the US military, is of course miles away from these first CAT 1 in terms of technology. The HX truck family is based on MAN Truck and Bus's commercial truck portfolio, which brings a high level of off-the-shelf components to the fleet - a priority requirement of the U.S. Army in the CTT program. As in civilian commercial vehicle use, the HX3 gets modern assistance systems such as brake assistant, adaptive distance and speed control and lane departure warning integrated.
These new modern assistance systems should also ensure that the trucks will also drive autonomously in the future and can be used, for example, in "platooning", in which a lead vehicle lets a whole convoy of self-driving trucks run behind it.This is guaranteed by the corresponding update capability of the integrated software. Like the previous generations, the new HX3 family, which is modular and has a high proportion of identical parts, can be configured for an enormous range of applications. Transport, swap body system, tank truck and semi-trailer truck for long-distance transport are exemplary uses. Four different variants are available, from the two-axle 4x4 model to the 10x10 with five axles.
It would be a mega order for Rheinmetall and its subsidiary RMMV: The US Army wants to replace up to 40,000 heavy trucks in countless variants and rely on a uniform platform. Rheinmetall's HX3 has now been included in the first selection in a joint offer with the US company GM Defense. Prototype testing will begin in 2024 with three other applicants. In addition to the technical aspects, politics of course also plays a decisive role in such tenders. It remains to be seen whether the US government will award such a mega contract to a consortium in which a German company has a significant stake.