JCB secures massive US military contract

JCB has announced it has landed a contract to supply the US military with a fleet of high speed excavators over the next eight years in a deal worth up to $269 million (£217 million).

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

Prototypes of the machine were first developed in 2002 for the US Army to meet demand for a high-speed backhoe loader capable of undertaking military engineering tasks. In 2005, JCB was 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.

The new contract has been signed for the supply of up to 400 HMEEs, which will be manufactured at JCB’s North American base in Savannah, Georgia. JCB will also provide armoured variants as well as attachments and service support.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said, “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 product by placing this new order.”

The HMEE combines the capabilities of the JCB backhoe loader and the high-speed JCB Fastrac– the world’s fastest tractor, which has full suspension and anti-lock brakes.

The 17.5 tonne, 6.7 litre engine machines are said to be suited to a range of military and disaster relief missions, including earthmoving, fortification construction and ground clearing. The HMEE is also certified for military transport on ships, rail and aircraft, and for airdrop operations.