Army truck technology pact
sealed in Louisville; lighter, more fuel-efficient trucks is project
LOUISVILLE, June 19
-- Representatives from Ford Motor Company, the University of
Louisville, the U.S. Army and the American Iron and Steel Institute
joined U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell here today for a ceremonial
signing of a technology agreement at Ford Kentucky Truck Plant
A previously enacted Defense Appropriations bill awarded $6 million
in fiscal year 2000 for a research effort by Ford and the University
of Louisville in conjunction with the American Iron and Steel
Institute -- for the development of truck technologies for
potential use by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The technologies development effort - called IMPACT, an acronym for
"Improved Materials and Powertrain Architectures for Trucks" -
supports the development of lightweight and durable truck
technologies for dual use in tactical military trucks.
Today's ceremony signals the start of the IMPACT project aimed at
developing lightweight, more fuel-efficient Super Duty trucks.
Super Duty trucks are produced at KTP.
The program seeks to develop lightweight, fuel efficient, corrosion
resistant, low-cost technologies for commercial and military trucks.
It will focus on the use of high-strength steel, laser-welded
blanks and improved bonding to significantly reduce the weight of a
Ford F-Series for potential military application. Ford F-Series is
the best-selling truck in North America.
"The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a great deal to gain from the
IMPACT initiative," said Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, a member of
the Republican Congressional leadership and the Senate
"Ford builds many of its larger pickup trucks in Louisville and the
U.S. Army is a major user of military trucks on its large bases in
the state. I'm most pleased that Ford selected the University of
Louisville to be its principal research partner in this effort."
McConnell led Senate efforts for the research project.
Participants in today's signing ceremony also included General J.G.
Coburn, Commanding General, U.S. Army Material Command; Major
General John S. Caldwell, Jr., Commanding General, US Army Tank
Automotive and Armaments Command; Lt. Col. Scott L. Abbott, Chief
of Futures and Simulation Division, Mounted Maneuver Battlespace
Laboratory-Fort Knox; John Shumaker, president of The University of
Louisville; Peter Kelly, Chairman President and CEO, LTV
Corporation and Vice Chairman - American Iron and Steel Institute;
Bob Himes, Director of Engineering - Ford North American Trucks;
Janet Mullins, Vice President - Ford Governmental Affairs; and Frank
Foley, Manager - Ford Kentucky Truck Plant. Ford selected the
University of Louisville to lead research on light truck
architectures for the project. "IMPACT will directly benefit the
Louisville metro area by promoting and increasing our truck research
and manufacturing competencies," said Shumaker.
Foley said Ford engineers will assist in the University research
which eventually could provide a competitive advantage to KTP if the
US Army decides to purchase the next generation of fuel-efficient
trucks from Ford.
Kelly added that the steel industry is "encouraged by its efforts in
developing new steel technologies and is pleased about partnering
with well-known leaders in automotive design such as Ford and the
University of Louisville."
Improved corrosion resistance, which is another IMPACT project goal,
will result in a longer service life with less maintenance.
Tactical military trucks based on commercial vehicle platforms will
yield significant cost savings compared to vehicles built for a