JCB has been awarded a contract expected to be worth up to $140 million to supply the U.S. Army with a backhoe-loader capable of convoy speeds up to 57 mph. The contract award by TACOM, the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, follows a three-year development program. Full production is expected to commence in 2007 at JCB's Savannah, Ga., facility, and deliveries are scheduled to continue until 2012.
The High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) vehicle combines backhoe-loader capabilities and JCB's Fastrac agricultural tractor, which has full suspension and anti-lock brakes. The 12-ton HMEE will boast a 5.9-liter diesel engine, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, lift more than 2 tons, and dig to a depth of almost 4 meters.