Defence Secretary Philip Hammond visited JCB’s headquarters for an education in its military product range.
Accompanied by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford and JCB CEO Alan Blake, Mr Hammond MP saw examples of almost 2,500 military machines JCB has sold to over 20 nations around the world since 2005.
These included a 436 wheeled loading shovel capable of operating in temperatures as low as minus 40˚C and in water up to two metres deep; a 535-95 Loadall telescopic handler fitted with a blast and ballistic protected cab and the unique JCB High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE), the world’s fastest and toughest backhoe loader capable of speeds of up to 60 mph (88km/h) on and off-road, while offering a comfortable, protective environment for up to two soldiers.
Mr Hammond’s visited came in a time of tough economic decision making which has included swinging cuts to the government’s defence budget as well as the introduction of controversial olicies on off-the-shelf purchasing to reduce costs.
Tim Burnhope, JCB’s chief Innovation and growth officer, said that the visit offered an opportunity to highlight the importance of close work between government and industry in such a trying environment. “Innovative companies, such as JCB, can help share best practice and demonstrate how to do things ‘better for less’,” he said.
Look out for TM’s interview with Sir Anthony Bamford in the December/January issue of the magazine.