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Marine Corps Awards John Deere $47M to Build TRAMs

Sat December 30, 2006 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

U.S. Department of Defense has awarded John Deere Construction & Forestry Company an estimated $47 million contract to build 300 tractor/rubber-tired/articulated steering/multi-purpose (TRAM) units on Dec. 4.

The TRAM units are being built under contract with the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. and will be delivered to military bases throughout the United States and overseas. Based on the popular John Deere 624J wheel loaders, these machines will be extensively modified to meet the Marine Corps’ specifications. The TRAMs will be sized to operate as four-in-one, multi-purpose bucket loaders with a minimum capacity of 2.5 cu. yds. (1.9 cu m), and as forklifts with 72-in. (182.9-cm) forks and a minimum lift of 10,000 lbs. (4535.9 kg) at 48-in. (121.9 cm) load center.

“The TRAM units will have many unique capabilities — they will be highly customized to deliver optimum performance and durability in this extreme-duty application,” Sandra Bridge-Chase, manager of Government Sales of John Deere, said. “These units will be used in combat and combat support, so they must be capable of operating over extremely rough and unprepared terrain, including sand, snow and mud.”

The contract includes warranties, dedicated field service representatives, logistics support, technical manuals, training aids, operator/technician training, and a specially designed armor package. Also included are additional options that if exercised bring the total estimated value to approximately $243 million. The units will be manufactured at John Deere’s Davenport Works facility in Davenport, Iowa, with an initial delivery of eight TRAM units targeted for completion before the end of 2007.

In the late 1980s, John Deere was awarded a contract to build an original TRAM unit for the Marine Corps — the first of its kind. These units later were updated by John Deere and have been used extensively in the increased U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new contract awards the company the opportunity to create and build the replacement units for these original machines, according to Bridge-Chase.

“We’re thrilled by this vote of confidence in John Deere equipment and engineering,” Bridge-Chase said. “This contract gives us an opportunity to support our troops. We are hoping to extend this equipment to other branches of the military in the future.”

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