Construction equipment manufacturer JCB has secured an additional contract from the US Army for the continued production of high mobility engineer excavators (HMEEs).
Under the $21m extended contract, JCB will manufacture HMEEs at its North America headquarters in Pooler until 2021.
In addition, JCB and the US Department of Defense are in negotiations on a multi-year contract to further expand HMEE production into the middle of the next decade.
The US Army and its allies use the HMEE construction machine to carry out a range of military and disaster relief missions, including earthmoving, fortification construction and ground clearing.
The HMEE is available in several configurations, including an armoured specification. It has a top speed of 55mph, enabling it to travel with army convoys without an additional transport vehicle.
The design uses JCB’s commercial products, including the 4CX-15 SUPER, the largest backhoe loader available in North America, and the JCB Fastrac, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest production tractor. The machine is certified for military transport on ships, rail and aircraft, and for airdrop operations.
JCB North America general manager of government and defence John Kyler said: “This add-on to our existing contract means we’ll keep producing HMEEs while we finalise the next multi-year contract.
“It’s great news for the soldiers who depend on HMEEs for their important missions. And it’s great news for taxpayers as it preserves the cost efficiency of the program.”
The US Army awarded the first $209m HMEE multi-year production contract to JCB in 2005. The extensions of the contract and international sales reported to have increased production to more than 1,000 machines.
JCB North America manufactures skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and construction equipment for defence customers.