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US Army orders high-speed JCB backhoes

20 Jun 14 JCB has won a US$50m (£29m) contract to supply high-speed backhoe loaders to the United States Army.

The High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEEs) will be manufactured at JCB’s North American plant in Savannah, Georgia, and will be delivered by 2017.

The US Army was the first military organisation to purchase HMEEs when in 2005 it ordered 636 of the machines – a JCB contract that was worth $206 million and which today remains the biggest single order in JCB’s 68-year history. Since then the company has gone on to sell the machine to armed forces in the UK, Sweden, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and other allied nations.

JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: “Over the past 30 years, JCB has supplied armies in 57 countries with over 4,000 machines and we are delighted to build on that success by securing this latest contract with the United States Army.”

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Arjun Mirdha, president and CEO of JCB North America added: “The fact that the US Army has once again chosen JCB to produce this extraordinary piece of equipment is a testament to the quality and innovation of the JCB HMEE. We are very proud to manufacture a machine that protects the lives of our servicemen and women in the course of their military duties.”

The 16t HMEE, which is engineered in Britain and produced in the USA, is capable of speeds of up to 60mph and so is able to keep up with military convoys on the road, eliminating the need to transport the machine using a truck and a low-loader.

The machine also comes with blast protection systems, so effective that on several occasions it has saved the lives of operators who have encountered improvised explosive devices while on duty in conflict zones.

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