JCB to build 57 mph backhoe for Army

JCB has been awarded a contract to supply the U.S. Army with a high-speed backhoe loader designed to meet requirements specified by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.

The award of the contract by TACOM, follows a three-year program of design, development and testing to produce a military machine capable of meeting stringent performance criteria. During this three-year period, the High Mobility Engineer Excavator was born.

The HMEE combines the capabilities of the JCB backhoe loader and the high-speed JCB Fastrac agricultural tractor. Since the objective of the HMEE concept is to have a machine capable of traveling at military convoy speed without the need for transportation by a truck and trailer, the HMEE is capable of speeds up to 57 mph. The 12-ton HMEE will also have a 5.9-liter diesel engine, four-wheel drive, and four-wheel steer. It will be able to lift more than two tons and dig to a depth of almost 12 feet.

Following the approval of production validation test machines during 2006, full production will commence in 2007 at JCB Inc. The contract is expected to be worth up to $140 million.