JCB agrees significant deal with US military

Employees at JCB’s North American HQ with the new 527-58M forklift

JCB has kicked off 2017 by securing one of its biggest single orders in the firm’s 71-year history, worth over $140 million.

The global manufacturer has agreed a deal to supply the United States Army with a fleet of more than 1,600 new 527-58M light-capacity rough terrain forklifts, totalling $142 million.

CEO of JCB, Graeme Macdonald, commented on the deal, “This order is fantastic news for JCB and a great way to start the New Year. It is the second-highest-value order in the company’s history, and I congratulate everyone who has worked to secure this valuable contract in the same year that we mark 40 years of telescopic handler production.”

The new 527-58M forklifts will be produced at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

The machines are optimised to work in confined spaces with a width of 80 inches (2m) and height of 78 inches (1.98m) and have a travel speed of 20 mph with a maximum lift capacity of over 2.26 tonnes and a lift height of 19 ft (5.8m). They will be powered by the 84hp (63kW) JCB DieselMax engines, produced in Derbyshire, England.

The machines will be deployed globally on tasks including loading and unloading aircraft and shipping containers.

Arjun Mirdha, CEO and president of JCB North America, said, “We are proud that the U.S. 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.”

Chris Giorgianni, JCB North America’s vice president – product support and government & defence, 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.

“The 527-58M is designed to minimise military operational costs with a two-year service warranty and extended service intervals with parts available from distribution centres in JCB’s worldwide network, making it faster and more efficient for the U.S. Army to maintain and service the new forklifts.”

This is the second largest single deal in JCB’s history, with the largest also coming from the US Army in 2006 for hundreds of high-speed military versions of JCB’s backhoe loader – the High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) – worth $206 million.