Massive armor needs trigger industry gold rush.
A steady stream of military contracts for armored vehicles has set
off a flurry of industry takeovers and lash-ups that would have been
inconceivable only a few years ago. Just in recent weeks, the industry
has undergone a gradual metamorphosis. One of the Army's major
truck manufacturers, Stewart & Stevenson, was acquired by an armor
supplier, Armor Holdings. Another armor provider, Ceradyne Inc., entered
the vehicle market with the introduction of a new line of commercial
armored trucks. Oshkosh Truck Corporation, which dominates the Marine
Corps' truck market, signed an agreement with an Australian firm to
sell the Bushmaster armored vehicle in North America. Defense industry
giant Lockheed Martin purchased a British firm so it could secure the
design rights for an armored vehicle it wants to sell to the U.S.
As one industry watcher points out, "When was the last time
that trucks were this interesting?"