After famously switching to a lightweight aluminum body for the 2015 Ford F-150 half-ton pickup, Ford Motor Co. is now taking a similar approach for its next-generation Super Duty trucks.

“As we remove weight, we’re making Super Duty more productive by giving our customers better towing and payload capability,” says Craig Schmatz, chief engineer for Ford’s Super Duty truck line.

Available late next year, the three-quarter-ton-or-higher 2017 F-Series Super Duty pickups will sport a new high-strength-steel, fully boxed frame that is 24 times stiffer than the vehicle’s current backbone. Chassis-cab models will have a C-channel frame behind the cab that allows for easy upfitting of specialized equipment, Ford notes.

Ford has not yet released specifications but promises that, largely due to the aluminum body, the new Super Duty will be a more capable hauler but weigh 350 lb less than the current model. “The bottom line is, Super Duty customers will be able to tow and haul more than ever before,” says Schmatz.

The new heavy-duty pickups will be available with a 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine and a 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel; chassis-cabs will have an optional 6.8-liter V-10. Ford also will offer two six-speed automatic transmissions.

New technology on the Super Duty will include towing cameras, trailer tirepressure monitoring, LED lighting, lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control with brake assist.

As they did with the latest F-150 pickup truck, Ford engineers assure potential buyers that the “military-grade” aluminum alloys in the new Super Duty body will be more rust-resistant and durable than the existing steel material.