29 Jun 06. BATTLESPACE always chooses two vehicles for the ‘DVD Vehicle of the Show Award’ after drives by the Editor. Last year we chose the DURO III and the range Rover Sport.
This year we choose the JCB HIGH MOBILITY ENGINEER EXCAVATOR (HMEE) and the WeeViL.
THE HIGH MOBILITY ENGINEER EXCAVATOR (HMEE)
The Fastrac tractor, launched in 1989, was the first agricultural tractor that could cope with rough terrain and travel on roads at speeds of up to 50mph because it had a full suspension chassis and ABS anti-lock brakes.
Using this proven technology, JCB designed and developed the HMME to the specification of the US Army’s Tank, Automotive and Armament Command procurement organisation (TACOM) , who wanted a machine capable of road speeds of up to 55mph (80kph) coupled with the versatility of a backhoe loader, four wheel drive and four wheel steer.
The Editor did not drive the HMEE but was taken on a white knuckle drive by the JCB driver which rivalled Bill Wadell’s in the Pinzgauer last year! The HMEE is capable of speeds up to 60mph with excellent cross-country performance. The U.S. Forces can now take their Engineer vehicles up to the front line in convoy form without the requirement for low loaders, unlike the British who still require them. When asked why the British had not purchased the vehicle a spokesman said that the bae Terrier vehicles Are fulfilling this role. JCB may have unwittingly developed a new market for the HMEE for ‘Boy Racer’ civil contractors!
Developed from a proven, high performance off-road racecar, the WeeViL has been designed to fulfil a potential niche operational requirement for extreme rapid intervention, assault and reconnaissance applications, particularly for Special Forces. Importantly, the vehicle has been re-engined to incorporate a diesel power plant – and thus fulfil military preference for a single battlefield fuel. Some development machines will use a petrol-engine and CVT or manual transmission powertrain, a configuration which will be retained subsequently, but only as an option for some world markets. (See: BATTLESPACE MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS Vol. 5 Issue 3, 28 June 2006, DVD 2006 NEWS, DAY 1, SPEED COMES TO DVD) Although not allowed to drive the high speed vehicle, just the standard WeeViL, driving behind the high-speed evrsion was enough in itslef to prove the speed!