has been awarded an eight-year contract to supply the US military with a fleet of specialised high-speed excavators over the next eight years in a deal worth up to £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 17.5-tonne machine with 6.7 litre engine — capable of speeds up to 55mph — 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 was subsequently awarded a contract worth around $209 million, along with an additional service contract valued at around $20 million. More recent contract extensions and international sales have seen HMEE production for the US and allied nations rise to 1,200 machines.
It has now been confirmed that a new contract has been signed for the supply of a further 400 HMEEs which will all be manufactured at JCB’s North American site in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to basic HMEEs, JCB will also provide armoured variants as well as attachments and service support.
Graeme MacDonald, JCB CEO, 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.”
Richard Fox-Marrs, JCB Inc President and CEO, said: “To win this contract is fantastic news for JCB’s North America headquarters, which has been manufacturing HMEEs 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.”
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 Defense 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 HMEEs are well-suited to a range of military and disaster relief missions, including earth-moving, fortification construction and ground clearing and it is certified for military transport on ships, rail and aircraft, as well as air-drop operations. It is four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, can lift more than two tonnes and dig to a depth of almost 4m.