JCB LAUNCHES NEW HIGH MOBILITY MILITARY RANGE
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
20 Jun 06. At a Press launch today, JCB announced the launch of a new range of High Mobility vehicles to meet the growing demand for such vehicles for the world-wide military. Building on their unique design of its Fastrac tractor and the announcement last October that the U.S. Army had ordered 600+ of its High Mobility Engineer Excavator(HMEE), in an order worth £140m, JCB surprised the audience by announcing not one but two new vehicles, the High Mobility Variable Reach Truck (HMVRT) and High Mobility Utility Vehicle (HMUV), the latter will compete head on with the current choice of vehicles on the market, the HMT, Duro, Pinzgauer and Mercedes Unimog. These vehicles are on display at the DVD Show.
This is a smart move by the company as, using its extensive R&D capability and its huge world-wide parts and support organisation, JCB can now offer a high mobility, medium weight, vehicle for military systems use that not only has a common platform and spares to its other range of vehicles, it provides the MoD with the comfort that JCB can support the vehicle for the whole of its service life and beyond, providing not only spares and service support but technical publications, training and development.
JCB is no novice in the military market. The Company first became a supplier to the military in 1984 when the company sold around 1,000 410M wheeled loading shovels to the Army and RAF. More than 20 years later, around 700 of those machines are still in use. Through innovation and extensive experience in the sector JCB develops and designs machines specifically to meet the demanding requirements of military operations. Over more than two decades, JCB has supplied 45 different military organisations across the world with more than 3,500 JCB machines. Recent customers include New Zealand, France and Pakistan as well as the extensive PFI contract with the AMEY LEX Consortium.
The company showed BATTLESPACE its assembly hall where it produces 11000 backhoe loaders a year, one every 8.45 minutes! We saw how metal comes in one end and a vehicle the other built by using 65% of parts built by JCB. The company also announced record turnover of £1.42bn and profits. The company is No 4 in the world in construction equipment with a 9.6% market share, No 1 in backhoes, No 2 in telescopic handlers and No 3 in rough terrain forklifts. JCB built 45000 machines in 2005 and celebrated its 60 anniversary last year after Joe Bamford founded the company in a garage in Uttoxeter in 1945. The company employs 6300 people in 150 countries with 1000 outlets and a range of 257 machines. JCB has 17 plants world-wide in the U.K., U.S. Brazil, India, and China. In addition the company has just opened its brand new engine plant in Wales and is celebrating this by going to break the world diesel record in a car built by Ricardo and JCB.
As well as the assembly plant, JCB also showed it’s World parts Centre which is a fully automated parts distribution centre which has a staggering degree of automation sending parts to 1000 dealers, 2000 outlets world-wide 24/7. This gives any military and the MoD in particular huge comfort in the company’s ability to support vehicles anywhere in the world.
John Patterson, Managing Director and CEO, JCB, told BATTLESPACE, “These two innovative military trucks represent a bold step for JCB and show our tremendous ability to meet the needs of the military. We understand the ever-changing demands of modern armies and we react with urgency because it has always been part of the JCB ethos.”
These machines are part of the world’s first high speed, high mobility and logistically compatible family of military vehicles. The new machines share the HMEE’s all-important capability to travel at high speed.
As military organisations increasingly focus on the need for logistics vehicles to be capable of convoy speeds of over 50mph