Never Ride Alone: That’s Navistar Defense’s tagline—sounds like a commercial from one of our domestic auto companies, doesn’t it? But, unlike your sedan, if one of Navistar’s vehicles needs service or support while in theatre, well, that’s a whole different story. That’s where Navistar’s Michigan organization comes into play.

“The 95 employees in our Madison Heights facility work side by side with Army personnel to break down and document all of the parts and service needs of our Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicles,” said Sam Homsy, Director of Army Programs at Navistar Defense. “This data, and the testing that go along with it, ends up as comprehensive technical manuals making it possible for soldiers to maintain and service the vehicles to get back to the mission. Design and engineering is also a part of our function here in Michigan.”

Recently, Navistar and their staff welcomed the Michigan Defense Center, Lieutenant Governor Bryan Calley and local partners, suppliers and media to talk about the state’s Initiative to Protect and Grow the defense economy.  As a major defense OEM in Michigan, Navistar Defense is an important partner in the Michigan Defense Center’s mission to protect the industry and assets in Michigan as well as grow into the future and emerging markets.

One of the Navistar visitors at the Protect and Grow event was Madison Heights Mayor, Brian Hartwell. “I call on every advanced manufacturer in Madison Heights to contact the Michigan Defense Center to get the tools to compete for defense work. This is an important industry to Madison Heights, the region and the state.”

Navistar has a long and storied history.  The company was started 1831 when Cyrus McCormick devised the mechanical reaper.   When known an International Harvester (IH), the company supported the U.S. military during World Wars I and II by applying its production expertise to an array of war materiel:  tanks, trucks, diesel engines, gun carriages, shells, aircraft cannons, antiaircraft gun loaders, and torpedoes.

Today Navistar is a major manufacturer of commercial trucks, buses and defense vehicles, building around 70,000 trucks and buses a year.  In Michigan, defense work is being done on the MaxxPro® Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to make them safer and more mission capable for troops. Navistar Defense opened its operation in 2009 in Sterling Heights, Michigan and moved to its current location in Madison Heights in February of 2011.

“Navistar puts as much emphasis on Lifecycle Support as we do on vehicle design,” said Homsy. “No matter where our vehicles serve, we’ll be there – with expert field service, a global parts network, and a dedicated team of support engineers who never stop working to improve your fleet.”