JCB has been awarded one of the largest British Army machine orders in its 65-year history. The order for 236 machines was won in the face of fierce global competition and will be delivered by the end of January 2011.
ALC, a joint venture between Amey plc and Babcock International Group plc, which is the service provider to the Ministry of Defence for plant and mechanical handling equipment for the British Army, awarded the contract for 138 JCB 4CX backhoe loaders and 98 JCB 436eHT wheel loading shovels. The backhoe loaders are made at JCB’s World HQ, Rocester, and the wheeled loading shovels at JCB Earthmovers, Cheadle.
It follows an ALC order in 2007 for 420 JCB Loadall telescopic handlers which are currently in service with British troops all over the world, including Afghanistan. JCB’s largest ever military order was for $230 million from the United States military in 2005 for JCB’s High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE). That order was for up to 800 machines.
JCB was selected for the latest military contract after extensive user trials, during which the ease of use and compatibility with other machines already in the Army’s fleet were considered a key deciding factor.
The machines will be predominantly commercial with minor enhancements such as NATO green livery, personal weapons stowage inside the cab, convoy lighting and increased wading ability.
JCB CEO Alan Blake said: "JCB has now become the primary supplier of plant and mechanical handling equipment to the British Army. As a British company it is fantastic that we have been awarded the opportunity to support our armed forces in this way and help ensure they are successful on operations, training and in their many other tasks around the world."
Michael Leeming, Director JCB Government & Defence, added: "This order signifies the largest replacement order from ALC for many years and now gives JCB a significant percentage of the plant and logistics handling equipment in use with the British Army."