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2020 / 2021 Edition

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JCB secure $269 million order from US military

JCB's High Mobility Engineer Excavator

Company’s North American plant gears up to build 400 specialized high-speed excavators

JCB have been awarded a contract to supply the US military with a fleet of specialized high-speed excavators over the next eight years in a deal worth up to $269 million (£217 million).

The deal centres on the supply of High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs) for the US Army and US Marine Corps.

Prototypes of the machine – capable of speeds up to 55 miles/h (88km/h) – 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 2005, JCB were subsequently awarded a contract worth around $209 million, along with an additional service contract valued at around $20 million. Subsequent contract extensions and international sales have seen HMEE production for the US and allied nations rise to 1,200 machines.

Today it was confirmed that a new contract has been signed for the supply of up to 400 HMEEs, which will all be manufactured at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to the base unarmoured HMEE, JCB will also provide armoured variants as well as attachments and service support.

JCB’s chief executive officer, Graeme Macdonald, said: ‘When it was developed, the HMEE revolutionized the way military tasks were carried out and we are delighted that the US military has shown great faith in the product by placing this new order.’

JCB Inc president and chief executive officer Richard Fox-Marrs added: ‘To win this eight-year contract is fantastic news for JCB’s North America headquarters, which has been manufacturing HMEEs here for the past 13 years.

‘The US military has shown tremendous confidence in this JCB product which speaks volumes for the team behind its design, engineering, manufacturing and after-sales support.’

The HMEE combines the capabilities of the world-renowned JCB backhoe loader and the innovative high-speed JCB Fastrac – the world’s fastest tractor, which has full suspension and anti-lock brakes. The objective of the HMEE concept is to have a machine capable of travelling at military convoy speed without the need for transportation by a truck and low-loader trailer.

Chris Giorgianni, vice-president of government and defence at JCB North America, said: ‘The JCB Government and Defense team is proud to continue to support the US military through the extension of the HMEE programme.

‘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. We look forward to furthering the HMEE programme and working with the US military on future projects.’

The 17.5-tonne, 6.7-litre engine machines are well suited to a range of military and disaster-relief missions, including earthmoving, fortification construction and ground clearing. It is four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, can lift more than 2 tonnes and dig to a depth of almost 4m.

In addition to its top speed of 55 miles/h, the HMEE is certified for military transport on ships, rail and aircraft, and for airdrop operations. It is available in various configurations including an armoured specification.

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