JCB has signed a US$142 million contract with the US Army, to produce 1,600 specially-adapted rough-terrain forklift machines.
The deal represents one of the biggest single orders in the firm’s 71-year history – second only to a $206 million US Army order in 2005, for high-speed versions of the classic JCB backhoe loader.
The new 527-58M forklift is a development of JCB’s range of commercial loadall telehandlers, which, according to the firm, is the biggest-selling product of its kind in the world.
The machine has a width of 2 m, a height of 1.98 m, and a lift height of 5.8 m. Designed for enhanced productivity when working in confined spaces, it also has a maximum lift capacity of 2.26 tonnes and a top travel speed is 33 kph.
While new forklifts will produced at JCB’s North American HQ in Savannah, Georgia, they will be powered by the 63kW DieselMax engine, which is produced at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire, UK.
JCB says the machine is expected to be used by the army around the world, for loading and unloading aircraft and shipping containers.
Chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: "This order is fantastic news for JCB and a great way to start the New Year. I congratulate everyone who has worked to secure this valuable contract."
Arjun Mirdha, CEO and president of JCB North America, said, “We are proud that the US Army has once again chosen JCB and its Savannah-based manufacturing facility to produce an extraordinary piece of specialised equipment. Over the past three decades, JCB has supplied more than 4,000 machines to armed forces in 57 countries, and we have acquired a deep understanding of how the Army uses equipment and the unique features needed.
Mirdha added, “JCB now offers more than 300 ‘commercial off-the-shelf’ (COTS) solutions for the military. Being chosen to produce this military-specific forklift builds on the broad range of JCB products that can be modified to meet the most gruelling military conditions.”