Army orders 98 new armored backhoe construction vehicles and vetronics in $36.3 million order
WARREN, Mich. – U.S. Army combat engineering experts are looking to JCB Inc. in Pooler, Ga., to provide as many as 98 armored backhoe construction vehicles and vetronics for clearing rubble and debris from routes and airfields, as well as other battlefield construction jobs.
Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., announced a $36.3 million order to JCB on Tuesday for as many as 98 High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) Type-I vehicles. These vehicles provide survivability positions for critical assets like communication, control, radar and logistics, and improved river fords.
HMEE-I is an off-the-shelf military vehicle fielded to the Army’s brigade combat teams and other combat engineering units. It also can repair and improve roads, trails, bridges, and airfields. The vehicle can carry a two-man crew.
The high mobility of the HMEE-I enable these earth-moving machines to maintain pace with the Army’s other armored combat vehicles like M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Stryker systems.
The vehicle can move as quickly as 60 miles per hour on improved roads in two-wheel drive and 55 miles per hour in four-wheel drive, though top speed may be limited by onboard computer systems for safety. It has cross-country mobility from its independent hydraulic suspension of each wheel.
The HMEE-I can be fitted with an armored cab, can be flown on C-130 cargo aircraft, and has a diesel engine. It replaces Small Emplacement Excavators in brigade combat teams. The vehicle also can be transported by sea, truck, or train.
The heavy-duty backhoe loader is designed for blast and ballistic protection. It also has a blackout facility for night operations. JCB is working on next-generation crew protection solutions to provide a higher degree of protection and reduce the vehicle's overall weight.
The crew protection kits provide ballistic and blast protection against small arms fire and improvised explosive devices. Some configurations also provide stand-off mitigation against rocket-propelled grenades.
Army units that will use the HMEE-I include brigade combat teams involving infantry, armored vehicles, Strykers, multi-role bridge companies, and engineering support companies.
JCB unveiled the HMEE-I in December 2007, and production began in October 2008. New Zealand, Israel, the United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates also have also purchased the HMEE-I. The first armored vehicles were flown to Afghanistan aboard a C-5 military transport aircraft without configuration change.
On this order JCB will do the work at locations determined with each order, and should be finished by April 2018. For more information contact JCB Inc. online at www.jcb.com.
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