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Oshkosh Defense, a manufacturer of forklifts and other heavy equipment for the US Armed Forces, has been awarded a $54 million contract to build modified extendable boom forklifts for the US Marines.
The vehicles originally were commissioned in September 2014. Since then, the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, based defense contractor has been performing all the government required testing and evaluation in preparation for beginning production of the combat-ready vehicles.
The extendable boom forklifts will feature armored cabs and initial fielding spare parts kits that will facilitate their use in expeditionary forces that can be dispatched at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world.
The contract also requires Oshkosh Defense to provide training classes for the Marines who will be operating them in the field.
Built to Combat Specifications
As a retired Marine Corps colonel, John Bryant, the company’s senior vice president, knows a thing or two about using heavy equipment in potentially hostile environments. In a news release, he said the company’s forklifts will be up to the task.
“The Oshkosh modernized EBFL delivers the protection, loading functionality, and sustainment that the Marine Corps needs to optimize their expeditionary forklift fleet,” Bryant said.
The maximum amount that can be spent on the vehicles under the contract is $99 million. All of the EBFLs will be built at the company’s facilities in Oshkosh and are expected to be completed by September 2019.
What EBFLs Do
An extendable boom forklift, also known as a telescopic handler or a telehandler, is actually more than a crane than a forklift. As the name implies, it has an extendable telescopic boom that can extend forwards and upwards from the vehicle.
On the end of the boom, different attachments can be fitted, including a bucket, pallet forks, a muck grab, a winch, and other.s
The most common use of an extendable boom forklift is to move loads to and from places that conventional forklifts can’t reach, such as on rooftops and other high places. They can be used when a crane is either too big, impractical, or not time-efficient.
When fitted with a bucket grab, extendable boom forklifts can be used in place of a backhoe or wheeled loader. They often are used to reach directly into high-sided trailers or hoppers that can’t be reached with conventional equipment, at least not without a loading ramp, conveyor, or other specialized equipment.
Extendable boom forklifts also can work with a crane jib along with lifting loads with attachments including dirt buckets, grain buckets, rotators and power booms. The also can be fitted with three-point linkage and power take-off, depending on the job at hand.
Limitations of EBFLs
One of the drawbacks of the extendable boom is its lower lifting capacity compared to a standard forklift. Although it has counterweights attached to its rear, the length of the boom can act as a lever, causing the vehicle to become increasingly unstable the more weight it is lifting.