The 57 MPH Backhoe Loader

Posted on October 5, 2005

JCB has been awarded a contract, expected to be worth up to $140 million, to supply the U.S. Army with a high-speed backhoe loader for military engineering tasks. The High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE) vehicle has been designed to meet the requirements specified by U.S. Army TACOM for a backhoe loader capable of speeds up to 57 mph.

The contract awarded by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), follows a three-year program of design, development and testing to produce a military machine to meet stringent performance criteria. Following the approval of production validation test machines during 2006, full production will commence in 2007 at JCB’s Savannah, Ga. facilities. Deliveries are scheduled to continue until 2012.

The HMEE combines the capabilities of JCB’s backhoe loader and its high-speed JCB Fastrac agricultural tractor, which has both a full suspension and anti-lock brakes. 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 low-loader trailer. A fully armored version is under discussion.

The 12-ton HMEE will be equipped with a 5.9 L diesel engine, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, lift more than two tons and dig to a depth of almost 13.12 ft. It is designed to be air-transportable by Hercules C-130 aircraft.