The defense contractor ManTech International has opened a pair of warehouses in the Lowcountry that will house the parts that go into the military’s mine-resistant vehicles.
The facilities in Hanahan and North Charleston make up what’s essentially an enormous parts department for trucks that roll through Afghanistan and Iraq. They cover some 300,000 square feet, a little bigger than five football fields in all.
The parts are still being unpacked from nearly 100 shipping containers, and in North Charleston, the warehouse floor is already covered with what are essentially disassembled vehicles — from stacks of big tires to bins of bolts.
That work had been scattered across the country in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania, said ManTech chief executive Kevin Phillips. But the parts were consolidated in South Carolina as part of a new contract with the Department of Defense.
The facility has about 50 employees — mostly veterans — but Phillips expects that number will grow as the military pushes more types of vehicles into its purview. ManTech’s contract calls for the company to work on 25,000 vehicles over the next five years.
The Lowcountry won the work for the same reason it’s seen other logistics firms expand here. It has access to rail lines and the port, where military vehicle parts flow already. And its warehouse is close to Joint Base Charleston, which is home to dozens of military cargo jets.
The Defense Department blessed the consolidation in an effort to slim overhead for its maintenance program. The Army awarded ManTech its $847 million contract last fall, and it started in March.
The company had been involved in equipping vehicles with sensors to detect explosives and armor to withstand them since the military launched its mine-resistant ambush protected, or MRAP, vehicle program 15 years ago. Phillips says the work in the Charleston area is a progression of that work.