Oshkosh Truck Corp. [OSK] Defense Group yesterday said it will begin production next month of the next-generation Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck A4 (HEMTT) under a $207.6 million Army order.

The Army has been testing the new Oshkosh HEMTT A4 since June 2006, running up to 45,000 miles.

Advantages of the upgraded truck include more horsepower and torque, improved suspension, integrated armor protection under the cab as well as attachments for additional armor, the company said.

The HEMTT A4 provides state-of-the-art protection for operators and crew against the threats we are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, these new technologies can be easily incorporated on existing HEMTTs through Oshkosh Truck’s proven recapitalization program.

“By upgrading the current HEMTT, the U.S. Army will benefit from improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements and improved soldier safety,” John Stoddart, executive vice president and president, Oshkosh Truck, Defense Group, said in a statement. “Oshkosh Truck is proud to deliver the most advanced truck technology to support U.S. soldiers.”

Under contract are HEMTT A4 variants including the load handling system, cargo vehicle and fuel servicing truck (tanker) for a total of 526 vehicles.

The following features expand the capabilities of the HEMTT A4: 500 hp rated Caterpillar C-15 engine peaks at 515 hp providing 70 hp more than the HEMTT A2; Allison 4500 P/five-speed automatic transmission, rated for 600 hp and offers 1,750-lb. torque, gross input and handles more power; compliant with the Army’s Long Term Armor Strategy– integrated under-cab protection, air conditioning and integrated attachments for armor kits; common cab, parts and support with Oshkosh Truck PLS A1 (Palletized load System) reduce the fleet logistics footprint; and an integrated mounting for a machine gun mount with gunner protection kit.

Oshkosh Truck has produced and fielded more than 19,000 HEMTTs. These vehicles have fulfilled logistics support through two wars and various conflicts for more than 20 years.

“Because of the technological advances of the HEMTT A4, soldiers will be even more mobile and protected in order to provide the necessary supplies and equipment to the troops that need them,” Stoddart said.