Tuesday, June 22, 2021

U.S. Air Force taps Wolverine Tube for next generation cargo pallets

The U.S. Department of Defense said Tuesday that Wolverine Tube Inc. won $17,4 million for a contract to supply the Next Generation All Aluminum cargo pallets.

The universal cargo handling system using the 463L cargo pallet has been the mainstay for cargo movement since the early 1960’s, with the standard aluminum cargo pallet essentially unchanged in all of this time. Repair and replacement costs associated with these legacy pallets have prompted the Air Force to look at initiatives that will provide cost savings and/or process improvement, an ongoing key objective within Air Mobility Command.

The contract award from U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center enables the company to provide for the production of the 463L air cargo pallets, which will be used for the transport of cargo throughout the military airlift system of the C-5, C-17, C-130 and additional cargo aircraft.

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Work will be performed in Decatur, Alabama, and is expected to be completed Nov. 18, 2022.

The legacy 463L pallets are constructed with a balsa wood core adhesively bonded to aluminum top and bottom skins with 22 tie-down rings and four corner brackets. They are compatible with the cargo rail system and meet military and commercial air transport requirements and certifications for all MAF aircraft including C-5, C-17, C-130, KC-135, and KC-10 aircraft.

Currently, there are over 200,000 legacy pallets authorized and in USAF inventory, representing an investment in excess of $323 million, however the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center estimates a four-year repair/replacement timeline for the legacy pallets, potentially costing the Air Force $25.8M annually.

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Colton Jones
Colton Jones is technology editor for Defenсe Blog. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere.

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