JCB develops high mobility tractor and loader range for military

Click to enlarge …

JCB has developed three new specialised machines for the US and British military. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.


Over more than two decades, JCB has supplied 45 different military organisations across the world with more than 3,500 JCB machines.

JCB 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.

JCB has developed three new machines: the High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMME); the High Mobility Rough Terrain Forklift (HMRTF) and the High Mobility Fastrac (HMF).

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 technology, JCB designed and developed the HMME to the specification of the US Army’s Tank, Automotive and Armament Command procurement organisation (TACOM) , which wanted a machine capable of road speeds of up to 55mph (80kph) with the versatility of a backhoe loader.

Following the development of the machine, JCB was last year awarded a contract, expected to be worth up to $140 million, to supply the US Army with this high-speed backhoe loader for military engineering tasks.

The objective of the HMEE concept is to have a machine capable of being part of a high speed military convoy without the need for transportation by a truck and low-loader trailer.

The 12 tonne HMEE boasts a 6.7 litre diesel engine, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, the ability to lift more than 2t and to dig to a depth of almost 4m. It is designed to be air-transportable by Hercules C-130 aircraft.

JCB High Mobility Rough Terrain Forklift (HMRTF)

The only dedicated telescopic handler capable of convoy speed, the High Mobility Rough Terrain Forklift (HMRTF) has been developed specifically for military use to British Army specifications.

The HMRTF has a cross-country capability at high speed and achieves an impressive 50mph (80kph) on the road.

Ideal for moving logistical supplies rapidly and safely, the HMRTF can lift 2.3t to a height of 5.3m. Its low-profile design are said to enable it to corner and manoeuvre on all terrains smoothly and swiftly.

The machine features a 6-speed fully automatic gearbox, selectable four wheel drive, four-wheel steering and ABS.

Unlike conventional unsprung telescopic handlers, the HMRTF boasts all-round suspension with three operating modes:
In ‘Travel mode’ the machine is fully suspended for on and off-road use.

In ‘Raised mode’ the front suspension is raised and locked for load handling.

And, in ‘Lowered mode’ the suspension is lowered and locked to allow access to standard ISO containers.

The machine can be air-lifted in a C-130 Hercules, can be slung under a Chinook or moved in a 20ft ISO container.

JCB High Mobility Fastrac (HMF)

The JCB High Mobility Fastrac (HMF) is a military version of JCB’s standard agricultural Fastrac. It can achieve road speeds of over 50 mph (80kph) and yet still be as effective as a conventional tractor in the field.

The RAF uses the HMF to tow Harriers and other aircraft from hides for operations. It can also be used for high-speed snow clearance of runways, store yards and depots.

As well as salt spreading, de-icing and, thanks to its suspension system, it can also be employed towing sensitive loads such as bombs and munitions.

Using its pto, the HMF is able to operate a variety of systems from backhoes to pumps for fuel or water. Its 4t rear deck capacity enables a wide range of kit to be carried. The HMF is able to two trailers up to a legal limit gross train weight of 24t.

According to JCB, ABS braking enables these machines to stop safely with no risk of jack-knifing.