With an operating weight of 31,500 pounds (without its armor plates) and a top speed approaching 60 mph, the new JCB HMEE (High Mobility Engineer Excavator) might be just a bit intimidating if you encounter it on the Interstate. And well you might, because the HMEE has been designed by JCB to keep pace with military convoys all on its own, eliminating the need for a sizable truck and trailer to haul the vehicle. The HMEE combines the capabilities of the JCB backhoe-loader with those of the company's high-speed Fastrac agricultural tractor, which adds full suspension and anti-lock brakes to the design.
The four-wheel-drive HMEE, fitted with a 6.7-liter Cummins ISB diesel engine (rated at 220 horsepower) and a 6F/2R ZF 6WG160 transmission, is designed to lift more than two tons with its front-loader mechanism, and to dig to depths of 13 feet with its backhoe. The machine features three steering modes, as well as four suspension modes, which can be engaged to match the vehicle's operating mode, whether traveling, excavating, loading or being transported, such as on a Hercules C-130 aircraft. The new military machine also incorporates armor protection into the base design of its ROPS, says JCB, to dramatically increase the machine's ability to withstand enemy fire and the threat of roadside bombs.