JCB North America has been awarded another contract to supply the U.S. military with a fleet of specialized high-speed excavators.
JCB will supply High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs) for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps over the next eight years. The contract could garner up to $269 million.
A similar contract in 2005 had been extended to 2020. JCB has produced 1,200 of the machines for U.S. and allied nations, it says.
This new contract calls 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 unarmored variant, JCB will be providing armored variants as well as attachments and service support.
“When it was developed, the HMEE revolutionized the way military tasks were carried out and we are delighted that the U.S. military has shown great faith in the project by placing this new order,” said JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald in a prepared statement.
JCB North America president/CEO Richard Fox-Marrs said in a statement:
“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 U.S. 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 JCB backhoe loader and the high-speed JCB Fastrac, 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.
“The JCB Government and Defense team is proud to continue to support the U.S. military through the extension of the HMEE program,” said Chris Giorgianni, VP of Government and Defense. “The fact that the U.S. 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 program and working with the U.S. military on future projects.”
The 17.5-ton machines are well suited to a range of military and disaster relief missions, including earthmoving, fortification construction, and ground clearing, according to JCB. In addition to its top speed of 55mph, the HMEE is certified for military transport on ships, rail and aircraft, and for airdrop operations. It is available in various configurations including an armored specification. It is four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, can lift more than two tons, and dig to a depth of almost 13 feet.