JCB has started 2017 by winning the second biggest single order in its 71-year history – a $142-million deal to supply the US Army with a fleet of more than 1,600 new 527-58M rough terrain forklifts. Engineered from JCB’s range of commercial Loadall telescopic handlers, the machines will be deployed at tasks around the world including loading and unloading aircraft and shipping containers.

The largest single deal in JCB’s history also came from the US Army in 2005 when a $206 million order was placed to produce hundreds of high-speed military versions of JCB’s backhoe loader. That machine, the High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE), is capable of speeds of up to 100km/hr and went on to be sold to allied forces around the world, including the UK, Sweden, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Like the HMEE, the new 527-58M light-capability rough-terrain vehicles will be produced at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. They will be powered by the 84hp DieselMax engine produced at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire, UK.

At 2m-wide and 1.98m-high, the military spec 527-58M travels at a top speed of 33km/hr, has a maximum lift capacity of 2.26t and a lift height of 5.8m. Over the past three decades, JCB has supplied more than 4,000 machines to armed forces in 57 countries.