JCB has won a £14 million order from the French military for a fleet of its market leading backhoe loaders.
The deal – the biggest ever won from the French armed forces – was secured after a lengthy tendering and evaluation period during which JCB fought off competition from other global manufacturers. The first of the specially armoured and camouflaged machines, made at the company’s World Headquarters in Rocester, have now started to be delivered and are expected to be deployed in conflict zones around the world by engineer regiments.
JCB Sales Managing Director David Bell said: “There was an extremely long and detailed process to go through to win this business and we are delighted that the contract has been awarded to JCB. While we have supplied the French military before, this contract is the biggest ever awarded to us by the French armed forces.
“The order was won on the back of three main criteria: the availability of an ‘off-the-shelf machine’; the service support that JCB France can provide and the fact that the JCB Group has its own government and defence unit, which underlined our commitment to this sector.”
The 4CX backhoe, which travels at speeds of up to 40kph, on which the French military machine is based was taken from the commercial range of JCB construction equipment and adapted to the technical specifications needed by the Army. They have also undergone adaptations to make them air transportable.
In order to protect the operator when the machine is working in hostile areas, the cab has ballistic protection using special glass and steel.