Staffordshire firm JCB's 'record' Army machine order

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Media caption, Blake: Machines 'involved in clearance, reconstruction and moving equipment'

Mechanical engineering firm JCB has announced an order for 236 machines for the British Army.

The Staffordshire-based firm say the contract is their "largest order for machines for the British Army in more than 25 years."

They will deliver 138 backhoe loaders and 98 wheel loading shovels, with Nato paint work and storage for weapons.

The loaders are made at JCB's Rocester headquarters and the wheeled loading shovels at JCB Earthmovers in Cheadle.

JCB chief executive Alan Blake said: "JCB has now become the primary supplier of plant and mechanical handling equipment to the British Army.

"As a British company it is fantastic that we have been awarded the opportunity to support our armed forces in this way and help ensure they are successful on operations, training and in their many other tasks around the world."

Image caption, The backhoe loaders are painted in Nato colours

JCB said it is the firm's second largest military order, beaten only by a $230m (£144m) order from United States military in 2005 for their High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE).

The wheeled loading shovels are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the summer, while the backhoe loaders will be handed over by the end of January 2011.

The machines will have enhancements such as Nato green livery, personal weapons stowage inside the cab, convoy lighting and increased wading ability.

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