Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Air Force Wants a Robo-Pallet For Loading Transports

File:US Navy 050106-N-9214D-114 Marines assigned to the Combat Cargo division aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), load pallets of bottled water into a Marine CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter.jpg
The Danger Room reports that since it takes so much energy to move, strack and organize standard cargo pallets the Air Force is looking into building a robotic cargo pallet that moves itself.
     The cargo pallets the Air Force uses today are basically the ones dad or your uncle pushed on and off transports during the Vietnam War. The designation for the Air Force's pallet of choice is the 463L Master Pallet or HCU-6/E, developed in the late 1950s by the Douglas Aircraft Company and a company now known as AAR Corporation. The HCU-6/E is 88 inches wide, 108 inches long , 2-1/4 inches high and can carry 10,000lbs of cargo. The HCU-6/E is constructed with a balsa wood core wrapped in a thin aluminum skin and, has 22 hooks surrounding the edge to use in tying the pallet down, each hook is rated at 7,500 lbs. Here is an illustration of the HCU-6/E's interior and surface:

     As I said in a previous post the Pentagon has a disease called "expensiveprogramitis" the disease of and fear of future expensive programs so, if the 'robo-pallet" does what most programs do and skyrockets in cost I think it is a safe bet that the "robo-pallet" will be canceled.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy, Federal Government

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