JCB has won one of the largest single orders in its 71-year history, a $142 million deal to supply the United States Army with more than 1,600 light-capability rough-terrain forklifts. The machines will be deployed around the world on tasks such as loading and unloading aircraft and shipping containers.

The new 527-58M forklift is engineered from JCB’s range of commercial Loadall telehandlers, which this year celebrates 40 years in production.

“This order is fantastic news for JCB and a great way to start the New Year,” said JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald. “It is the second-highest-value order in the company’s history, and I congratulate everyone who has worked to secure this valuable contract in the same year that we mark 40 years of telescopic handler production.”

The single largest order in JCB history also came from the U.S. Army in 2005 when a $206 million order was placed to produce hundreds of high-speed military versions of JCB’s backhoe loaders. That machine, the High Mobility Engineer Excavator is capable of speeds of up to 60 mph and went on to be sold to allied forces around the world, including the U.K., Sweden, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

The new 527-58M light capability rough-terrain forklifts will be produced at JCB’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Ga. The machines will be powered by the 84-hp JCB DieselMax engine produced at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire, U.K.

With a travel speed of 20 mph, the machine has a maximum lift capacity of more than 5,000 pounds and a lift height of 19 feet. The machine has been adapted to the water to meet operational needs during wading and fording activities.

“Over the past three decades, JCB has supplied more than 4,000 machines to armed forces in 57 countries, and we have acquired a deep understanding of how the Army uses equipment and the unique features needed,” said Arjun Mirdha, CEO and president of JCB North America.

“JCB now offers more than 300 ‘commercial off-the-shelf” solutions for the military,” said Chris Giorgianni, JCB vice president - product support and government & defense. “Being chosen to produce this military-specific forklift builds on the broad range of JCB products that can be modified to meet the most grueling military conditions. The 527-58M is designed to minimize military operational costs with a two-year service warranty and extended service intervals with parts available from distribution centers in JCB’s worldwide network, making it faster and more efficient for the U.S. Army to maintain and service the new forklifts.”