SOUTH BEND - The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $51.3 million contract to South Bend-based AM General LLC. The contract calls for the recapitalization of Humvees for the U.S. Army through a public-private partnership with the Red River Army Depot in Texas.

AM General says, as part of the contract, selected vehicles currently used by the U.S. National Guard will be disassembled at the RRAD, go through an inspection process, then modified under specific recapitalization requirements. The vehicle bodies will then be shipped to AM General's manufacturing campus in Mishawaka, where they will be added to new production rolling chassis.

The company says the final product will be a modernized Humvee with automotive improvements including a substantial increase in overall vehicle reliabtility, improved maneuverability, an increased-capacity transmission, improved front-mounted HVAC system, the addition of an Antilock Braking System and Electronic Stability Control, and an improved powertrain cooling system.

"We recognize the value of a modernized vehicle fleet for the U.S. Army and this contract award is a testament to our commitment for continued innovation and vehicle system improvements to ensure mission readiness for our service men and women," said Chris Vanslager, executive vice president of U.S. defense for AM General. "The HMMWV platform is incredibly nimble and adaptable; over the life of the program, it has received a multitude of improvements."

The work is expected to be complete in August of 2019. The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Michigan is the contracting activity.