The US military has awarded JCB with a US$269 million contract to once again supply it with a fleet of specialised high-speed excavators.
The new eight-year deal centers on the supply of up to 400 High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs) for the US Army and US Marine Corps, which JCB has been working on with the US military since 2002. The machines will be manufactured at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.
According to the company, the HMEE combines the capabilities of the JCB backhoe loader with the high-speed JCB Fastrac tractor which has full suspension and anti-lock brakes. The HMEE concept is a machine capable of travelling at military convoy speed without the need for transportation by a truck and low-loader trailer.
“When it was developed, the HMEE revolutionised the way military tasks were carried out and we are delighted that the US military has shown great faith in the project by placing this new order,” said Graeme Macdonald, JCB CEO.
Prototypes of the machine - capable of speeds up to 88kph (55 mph) - were first developed in 2002 specifically for the US Army to meet its demand for a high-speed backhoe loader capable of undertaking military engineering tasks.
In addition to the base unarmoured variant, JCB will be providing armoured variants as well as attachments and service support.
“The JCB Government and Defense team is proud to continue to support the US military through the extension of the HMEE program,” says Chris Giorgianni, vice president of Government and Defense at JCB North America. “The fact that the US military has entrusted JCB to manufacture the HMEE for over a decade is a testament to the work the entire team here has accomplished.”
The 17.5 ton, 6.7 liter engine machines are designed for a range of military and disaster relief missions, including earthmoving, fortification construction and ground clearing. JCB says the HMEE offers four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, can lift more than two tons and dig to a depth of almost 13 feet.