UPDATED 18 December 2009


VIDEO: How the U.S. Army Airborne should Power Project by Parachute Airdrop




The supply by air of Airborne forces in the enemy's rear areas is basically a technical problem which can be solved...."
--Gen. Franz Halder, German Chief of Staff WWII

War is full of lost opportunities:
Falaise Gap (40,000 Germans escaped)
Anzio (Rome not taken)
Drive over Belgium in 1944 and later
Arnhem; (Rhine crossing bridge lost)

Often these opportunities are not exploited because adequate supplies were not there to support an advance upon the enemy. In WWII, the Allies basically fought every German unit in every battle we met them in a broad-front attrition struggle. Attempts were made to make a breakthrough and focus a spearhead to cut the enemy's "jugular" but either the Germans at the spearpoint were too good or our forces/supplies were too thin to properly exploit success.

Part of Attrition warfare is the need for huge amounts of supplies to enable the force to kill every Soldier on every battlefield. Many commanders felt then, and many do today that large logistics bases are needed to conduct this style of warfare. Unfortunately both Amphibious warfare (usmc) and Airborne warfare (XVIIIth Airborne Contingency Corps) forces are now in the mind-set that their mission is to be the specialists "who knock the door down",--and let someone else reinforce and finish the job of defeating the nation-state war (NSW) enemy. This is Amphibious/Airborne base seizure not warfare, or an "Anzio" mentality of "Seize & Hold". After flanking the Germans at Anzio, the road to Rome was undefended but ignored as supplies were built-up on the beach. By the time the force was ready to move out, the Germans had moved in, almost pushing the entire force off the beach.

We dropped Gavin's Paratroopers in the nick-of-time to save the beach-head, when if we had Seized & Maneuvered right away, we would have taken Rome--the capital city of Italy and knocked her out of the war in 1943 by collapsing the Axis Mussolini government! Instead of SS Colonel Skorzeny rescuing him, U.S. Paratroops should have killed/captured him in an Airborne raid--like we nabbed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in 1989. We would have already been in southern Germany by early 1944 ready to support the cross-channel D-Day landings instead of being a drain on its supplies.

Studies/improvements since that time have only led to a larger foothold being desired by these forces; be it force beachhead line, airhead recon/security zone etc.


In the 1999 U.S. Army Command & General Staff College School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) Report "Provide by Parachute: Airdrop in Vietnam, 1954-1972" by Major John A. Tokar above, he explains how parachute airdrop resupply had progressed beyond the French failure at Dien Bien Phu to the Siege of Khe Sanh where airdrop saved the trapped and ungrateful marines who let themselves get surrounded in the low ground--just like the French.



When North Vietnamese Army (NVA) artillery closed down aircraft from airlanding on the runway, the USAF went to work parachuting supplies to sustain the trapped marines and ARVN Rangers until the helicopter-airmobile, 1st Air Cavalry Division could break the siege and open Highway 9 so the gyrenes could flee from the base. The foot-slogger, line-infantry, narcissist, USMC refused to make the Secretary of Defense McNamara's sensor-security line to keep out NVA closed-terrain infiltration, then failed to even patrol overmatching maneuver forces from Khe Sanh to protect themselves from outside enemy artillery range--much less secure South Vietnam. We were inviting a replay of the Dien Bien Phu defeat all over again--had it not been for USAF airdrop resupply and wily General Giap only wanting Khe Sanh to be a diversion from the upcoming 1968 Tet offensive.

By 1972, we had improved our CARGO resupply capabilities so parachutes would delay their opening so delivery aircraft could stay above enemy anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) range to relieve the siege on An Loc.

What's disturbing is the Russian VDV can also drop THOUSANDS OF PARATROOPS by delayed opening, drogue-chute-deployed personnel parachutes, too--something we cannot even do this today due to our antiquated static-line parachute systems. The Russians can jump above 300 mph and 10, 000 feet mass tactical--putting the U.S. Airborne to shame for failing to live up to the legacy of our Airborne leaders like Generals Gavin, Ridgway, Yarborough. American personnel drop technology has not caught up with our cargo delivery means because we are simply lazy cowards living off the legacy of better men who have made the initial Airborne way for us. To LEAD we have have to break NEW ground--not live off the legacy of the past.

In 4th Generation Warfare (4GW), openings must be grabbed--the "window of opportunity" in an age of mass communications is too small. For example, the Panamian Defense Forces (PDF) knew about the invasion of Panama hours before because of the volume of radio traffic increasing; they couldn't decrypt the messages but they knew.

Opportunities exploited: Operation Just Cause in Panama

But U.S. Army Generals Thurman and Stiner crafted an amazing plan for the invasion of Panama. Did the 82nd Airborne Division after parachuting into Toucomen airport just set up an airhead? A Recon & Security line? Within hours after landing the 82nd Airborne' Paratroopers were on assault helicopters flying to take out key units of the PDF.


M113 Gavin and M551 Sheridan light tanks were flown in to surround the PDF headquarters building, La Commandancia with armored shock action and heavy, vehicular firepower. No foot-slogging here. They were not in a defensive mode, preventing disaster, rather they were in an offensive mode speeding success. So must it be in future warfare in order to collapse an enemy quickly by destroying his center(s) of cohesion. But Panama was "a special case with U.S. logistics bases already in place" some will say....But with precision-guided munitions (PGMs), every battle will be "special", if we are not daring and unpredictable, we'll be dead. The enemy is gaining precision strike capabilities on the ground and in the air--we must not be wed to vulnerable fixed bases! Every battle/campaign must be planned on a case-by-case basis, not by inflexible "cookie-cutter" plans. Even the Russians after seeing Desert Storm concluded that "stereotypical deployment of forces must be avoided at all costs". An example of this was M551 Sheridan light armored fighting vehicles being low-velocity airdropped into Panama and M113 Gavins airlanded from USAF transports for mobile fire support in support of the Paratrooper advance.



It is through innovative logistics means that strategic and tactical surprise will be achieved on the modern battlefield.

Opportunities lost: Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia/Iraq

The "Official" Version of Events

Fascinating display at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum @ Fort Eustis, Virginia

Date: January 1991
Unit: 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor, 82nd Airborne Division
Operation: Desert STORM
Troopers: 900
Country: Saudi Arabia/Iraq
Drop/Landing zone: Log Base C
Aircraft: C-130E/H Hercules turboprop aircraft (1, 000 sorties)
Equipment airlanded: 45 x M551 Sheridan light tanks, Humvee trucks, 250,000 gallons of fuel, 9,000 tons of supplies
Type Air delivery: STOL airland

USAF moved 80% of 3/73rd Armor Bn (M551 Sheridans) by C-130E/H 700 miles west from the King Faud International Airport to a small landing strip outside of Rafha SA near the SA Iraq border. They moved all of the tracked vehicles in the Bn - the C2 M577 [Gavins] (flatbedded) to that location. Some wheeled stock moved by air but the majority moved over the road to get into assault position for the "Hail Mary" left hook into Iraq. This included their scout platoon who was test evaluating LAV-25s (LAV-1s) because the LAV-25 did not fit into the C-130 and could not fly. This was meant to be a somewhat stealth operation.

XVIII Airborne Corps had the guts or the feeling it "was worthy" to use air resupply so it had expertise and contacts within the USAF to seize a section of paved highway and get them to airland supplies and troops. USAF CCT traffic controllers would be necessary to guide in landings, mark the runway etc. since Army Pathfinders are not "worthy" and trained to do this job.

Notice a specialized Army unit was there to fiddle around with fragile 463L pallets as C-130s spent 12 minutes on the ground; me thinks SeaBox's ECDS pallets with forklift slots would have been faster by dropping them off then taxiing to take-off position. However let me guess. Due to "cutbacks" Army no longer has units to transfer cargo from aircraft yadda yadda yadda fuking BS. All the more reason to go with ECDS pallets and AIP pallets that anyone with a forklift can pick up and move--even a bulldozer with Butch Walker's "Bucket Lift" attachment or his Amaze-N-Tow forklift trailer.


Notice the bypass around the commandeered road-turned-into-airfield so ground vehicles could get back onto the road; wheeled vehicles can't just go anywhere even in the dry desert lest they get stuck. General Gavin would be pleased since he wrote about such bypasses in his book, "Airborne Warfare" in 1947. Again, more reason to go with an all-tracked U.S. Army.

4. In 1, 000 flights, 9, 000 tons of supplies, 250, 000 gallons of fuel and 900 Soldiers were delivered. Let's break this down:

A C-130 can carry 40, 000 lbs or 20 tons of supplies. 450 flights moved the 9, 000 tons of supplies.

A C-130 can carry 6 x 500 gallon bladders of fuel so 3, 000 gallons per sortie means 100 flights

A C-130 can airland 92 troops so that's just 10 flights

This all comes to less than 500 flights, so what was carried in on the other 500 flights?

Probably lots of BS Humvee trucks; possibly 1, 000 Humvee trucks...

If we had tow kits they could even TOW the fuel bladders with them acting as their own wheels...if towed by wheeled trucks they might get stuck....but if they were towed by TRACKED XM1108 Gavins its not likely...

So we now know that Airborne logistics could enable re-positioning of forces before a major 2D maneuver attack, but what of 3D maneuver to BLOCK the enemy from escaping our overland stampede?

Why Airborne 3D Maneuver was overlooked:


Why Air Assault 3D Maneuver was overlooked:


In both cases, 3D maneuver from both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft was overlooked out of pure "us" and "them" light vs. heavy internal U.S. Army factional envy and egomania, not by logic, military science or mission necessity. The results of this failure to employ 3D maneuver have been disastrous and fills our TV screens and newspaper headlines each day. Saddam's Republican Guard escaped and we had to come back to Iraq over a decade later and we are STILL THERE since we had heavy "mech pussy" CENTCOM planners conceive the Baghdad operation having wheeled USMC trucktards almost ruin the whole mission by being 6 days AWOL and not having a 3D Airborne Seize & Maneuver element kill/capture Saddam and subordinates so they couldn't start a guerrilla war against us--that continues to the present day. The 173rd Airborne is at fault for not having M113 Gavins ORGANIC to them so they would jump with them and immediately fan-out to block Saddam's escape routes. If due to politics the 1st Infantry Division (M) has to provide the Gavins, THEN MAKE THEM GET OFF THEIR MECH PUSSY ASSES AND BE JUMP-QUALIFIED. If not willing to do this, take the Gavins from them and make Paratroopers learn to drive and TC. Either make tankers jump or jumpers tankers. Both of their excuses--in either directions--are not acceptable.

Fixed or Mobile Supply?

It is painfully obvious that as the war in Vietnam progressed, the U.S. land presence increased, huge facilities to keep helicopters, men and machines together became vulnerable rear areas for enemy attack. Much combat power was spent protecting these "safe" areas that could have been used elsewhere to destroy the enemy. This was a deliberate tactic on the enemy's part to dilute our efforts; earlier against the French, it diluted the latter's forces throughout the countryside so they couldn't mass to breakthrough to the garrison at Dien Bien Phu.

Airborne operations unfortunately are stigmatized by two operations in WWII, Crete and Arnhem. From Crete, the idea that we must seize a supply base preferably a runway (airhead) to rush in airlanded reinforcements; Arnhem that paratroops must be dropped close to if not on top of the objectives. Both of these conclusions are reactions to the technical problems that existed with the Airborne operation in WWII that do not exist today. The Germans couldn't jump with their actual infantry weapons, so they were 100% reliant upon separate equipment drop containers, when these were landed between them and the Allies, a costly struggle ensued....Not to mention the "Ultra Secret" which allowed the Allies to intercept German messages and be waiting on the exact drop zones, yet they were still pushed into the sea by the German Airborne. The British Airborne's handful of gun-jeeps slated to rush up to the Arhem bridge failed to survive the glider landings or were blocked on roads. The science of airdropping supplies is reliable enough to supply troops in the field without need of a runway so they can drop AWAY FROM ENEMY AIR DEFENSES, and with lightweight airdroppable M113 Gavin armored fighting vehicles so EVERY Paratrooper can move at high speed x-country over the battlefield.

Here's an U.S. Army Command & General Staff College School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) report by Infantry officer, Major William Sutey on the need for cross-country MOBILITY (XCM) from M113 Gavin light tracked tanks to improve LIGHT INFANTRY FORCE mobility, protection and firepower. READ IT.


So why land Paratroops and have them fixate on defending terrain features to preserve an aircraft line of supplies when they could move out immediately from the drop zone and strike decisively while surprise and opportunity is on their side?

Of course, this is EXACTLY the Seize & Maneuver that U.S. Army Major Bolzak is documenting in his SAMS report we need to do!


What many forget is that after pulling themselves together on Crete, the German Airborne and Mountain troops formed into mobile Kampfguppes using special motorcycle half-tracks and powerful 75mm recoilless guns, both of which the Allies did not believe were air-deliverable, and drove three times as many Allied men into the sea. The is true Airborne warfare and is what the 82nd Airborne did in Panama when it (along with other U.S. forces) collapsed the Panamanian Defense Forces from the-inside-out through 3D maneuver.

What needs to be done is to develop the supply air delivery and battlefield mobility means to free the Airborne from having the need to seize airfields, and objectives from close range parachute assault, first by logistically light high mobility devices. This is described in detail in the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) Director Mike Sparks' article from long ago, "The Need for Indirect Parachute Assaults", in Tactical Notebook 6/93.

The next step is to have a MOBILE, moving "airhead" to enable Airborne troops--ALL OF THEM to concentrate on decisive victory without having to waste forces (and most importantly time) defending vulnerable field supply bases. The two technological advances that make this possible are reliable world-wide satellite communications and precise navigation systems.


USAF Major Christopher Ireland proposes in his 2006 SAMS report that we use airdrop resupply of our FOBs during sub-national conflicts (SNCs) underway in Iraq/Afghanistan to avoid our pathetic wheeled truck convoys from driving constantly into rebel land mines. In other words, if the Army and marines are too stupid to employ TRACKED resupply vehicles that can go cross-country then pay a slightly higher cost and airdrop--which is what we ARE doing in Afghanistan. Shame on us for being so incompetent and inflexible!

Caveat 1, we violently disagree with our COIN CONOPS that refuses to PICKET MSRs and secure every inch of roads we use to do cargo truck resupply. We CAN do this by not having so many FOBBITs and its more benign COIN than doing kill/capture raids into people's homes that turns folks into rebels. MANNED observation/attack planes--not BS UAVs can provide 24/7/365 constant air surveillance/pressure to deny rebels a free hand to lay land mines.

Caveat 2, the answer to resupply truck linearity on roads is a TRACKED resupply vehicle that is cross-country mobile (XCM) to resupply non-linearly.

Having said the above, note that to WORK-AROUND Army unwillingness to ADAPT we are airdropping supplies to FOBs and maneuver units, which is great progress for our gang of lemmings. Our point is that the USAF author timidly offers airdrop onto secure DZs marked and secured by the supply recipients. Yes, they should recover airdrop parachutes and gear for re-use to save monies.

Moreover, what about AIRDROPPING THE MANEUVER ELEMENTS with M113 Super Gavins--so they can get to an area of operations and avoid land mines, too?

Rhodesian FireForces: QRFs we Need today

We call this AIRBORNE operations.

Now the REALLY bad news.

22 June 2006: U.S. troops in Afghanistan in break-bulk lightfighter clusterfuck

The picture below says it all:

AP - Fri Jun 23, 12:20 PM ET U.S. Soldiers from the 2ndsup> Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division carry water to their mountain post on a stretcher in south Afghanistan, Thursday, June 22, 2006. U.S. troops had to carry food and water air dropped by plane from the valley floor to the ridge top as part of operations in support of Operation Mountain Thrust. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

* Supplies dropped or pushed off on plywood skidboards with no forklift (MHE) slots

We've been dropping supplies on plywood skiboards dating back to the Korean War! Here's a C-119 dropping supply bundles that do not have forklift slots to be picked up and thus are stuck on the drop zone exposing men who have to break-bulk them onto truck beds and Soldier's backpacks possibly under enemy fire.

* No motorized MHE device (truck bed/ramp + winch, forklift, ANT trailer etc.) to pick-up supplies dropped by plane even if they HAD forklift slots

* No motorized vehicle to transport supplies; POS M-GATOR's rubber tires are constantly busting on jagged Afghan rocks

* No human-powered vehicle to move supplies by rolling conveyance (carts, bikes) Other pics show a single pack mule in use; obviously not enough to prevent the break-bulk clusterfuck


* Even the stretchers didn't have wheels.

Roll-Ez company offers them as a clip-on attachment back in the 1980s....

* Water was obviously purified back at a FOB but placed in lots of Soldier-sized water bottles that can't fit into a 1 quart canteen cover securely (no one other than 1st TSG (A) Director Sparks thought to use bottles that are shaped like a 1-quart canteen for best interface)


All in all, a complete clusterfuck asking for the enemy to start dropping mortar shells on their fleshy, but "physically fit" narcissist bodies so they can be ripped to shreds and bleed to death for a flag-covered glorious funeral back in CONUS.

Internet sources for the pic

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/ss/events/iraq/010403armedforces/im:/060623/481/5 ba0f623579b4223974ce48e25f3331e;_ylt=Au7kQE7xzXZSDBTgCibYqsXKps8F;_ylu=X3oDMTA 3dmhrOGVvBHNlYwNzc20-

The good news is STILL that the solution is in hand. We just have to implement it. One of the few good things the Air Mobile units in Vietnam did was to use collapsible plastic gallon jugs for water resupply. We propose we relearn the technique.





CASA C-212 air resupply to a FOB in Afghanistan

40" x 48" Palletizing is great if you are using small cargo aircraft like CV-2/C-7 Caribous, C-123 Providers, C-212s, C-27J Spartans etc. (JCA)/Chinooks, you pack your items ONCE and they stay palletized all the way to the troops. If done right, a skidboard is on the bottom and these pallets can be "kicked" out to the troops.

Two of these pallets will fit on a 88" x 108" 463L/ECDS pallet to "stuff" USAF large cargo aircraft; C-130s/C-17s. Weight penalty is 300-600 pounds per 463L/ECDS pallet.

The collapsible water jugs make a lot of sense over rigid 5 gallon water cans since when empty they can be tossed into a rucksack. We think after Vietnam, the too-expensive-to-operate helicopter vanished from the Army consciousness and water cans carried by ground vehicle became the normal pain-in-the-ass means to convey water to troops.


The bad news is that light infantry doesn't have vehicles that can pick up 40" x 48" pallets so they have to be broken down into truck beds and manpack loads wasting time and exposing troops to enemy fire.


Loading supplies by pallet is efficient and good....

But on the delivery end...having to break-bulk the pallet into man-pack loads or having to leave them in dumps is dangerous and time-consuming...

Stranded Supplies...

Not shown in the video is the fact that wood pallets can be worm infested, and catch fire to easy so they can't be shipped overseas.


The massive amounts of fuel needed to fly helicopters. Their lack of mobility on the ground if they have skids. The needs for a fossil fuel pump to get fuel into choppers.

Slopping hot food into insulated containers and flying them to the troops.

CONCLUSION: one giant mess.


In WW2, airdrop containers had wheels and were easily gathered together and transported...


1. Adopt the aluminum RHINO pallet as the standard, U.S. military re-usable pallet. Make ALL drop and kick pallets use the RHINO pallet as its base so there's forklift slots for MHE to pick them up without having to break bulk them.


2. Don't use so many fuel-hungry helicopters for 3D mobility; use fixed wing aircraft STOL airland and airdrop. The Alaskan Bush pilots are a prime example of using STOL means to economically resupply folks on the ground--if we don't economize we are going to LOSE SNCs in Iraq/Afghanistan by our own inefficiency/racketeering since we are a BUREAUCRACY and not a PROFESSION. Use helicopters for point-to-point scouting and small recon/raid force insertions.

3. Use 98" wide, 72" tall, 10.5 ton M113 Gavin light tanks for armored mobility for staying power on the ground--these can even be airlanded and parachute-dropped by Army C-27J rear-ramp cargo aircraft.


4. Use the Gavin's tracks to squeeze fuel out of FLEX-CELLs to fuel ground and air vehicles after airdrop resupply.


Buy some S-64 SkyCranes with CH-47F engines and have them carry bulk fuel in an ISO container/pump module; a filling station that can land with 37, 000 pounds (6, 000 gallons) of JP-8 anywhere that can avoid rebel roadside ambushes. A Gavin can take 95 gallons of fuel; add a 5 gallon emergency can, that's 100 gallons. A S-64 SkyCrane with fuel pod could refuel 60 x M113 Gavins. A Delta Weapons Company with 35 x Gavins giving A, B, C armored mobility means almost two light mech infantry BATTALIONS could be refueled by ONE S-64 SkyCrane sortie. If they are regular diesel engined; that's 300 miles of range above the 300 they started with = 600 miles to reach a Baghdad from Kuwait. If they have Hybrid-Electric Drive, that's another 600 miles on top of 600 for 1, 200 miles of range to reach more distant objectives.

5. Tow an Amaze-N-Tow/LIft-N-Go trailer by M113 Gavins and have winches in back of XM1108 Gavins with cargo beds to pick-up as-is pallets after air/land/sea delivery without break-bulk. This could even be large ECDS pallets or the AIP liner on top of the 463L pallet (give 463L back to USAF).


6. Have each company sized unit have a school-trained chef and make them cook for themselves in the BATTLEBOXkitchen and in the field with portable stoves like French Foreign Legion and other elite units do. Abolish the DFAC in both garrison and FOB ops overseas.


7. Bring back collapsible 5 gallon water jugs


8. Supply light infantry with their own M113 Gavins and deploy the BATTLEBOX system of modified ISO containers both of which can use solar, wind and generator power to OBTAIN WATER FROM AIR HUMIDITY so we don't have to so much water to forward units. Details:


Enhanced Container Deliver Systems (ECDS): Palletize & Mechanize Airborne Logistics

New ECDS pallets stacked!

Problem 1: USAF 463L 108" by 88" pallets are $1500 each and fragile. They are not airdropped as Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles, skid 3/4" plywood is used (see photo at top of this web page of CDS bundles exiting a C-130).

CDS Bundle being loaded onto a rear-ramp, T-Tail cargo plane: A-22 Canvass Bag holds supplies, tied by 550 paracord and nylon straps to shock-absorbing paper honeycomb on a plywood skid board with a cargo parachute on top!

Even 463L Pallets on CH-47s with HICHS rollers are problematic: can't carry troops on board at same time!

U.S. Army RDECOM magazine reports (see full article on bottom of this web page) that 463L pallets are not used even for airland deliveries by CH-47 Chinook helicopters in Afghanistan and are having trouble using even wooden "kick pallets":


"'The [108 inches by 88 inches] 463L pallet is too big to move around, and it doesn't allow any space to carry troops.' It also has limited availability, with the HICHS allocated to one-fourth of the Chinook fleet. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq renewed interest in internal cargo delivery and spurred field improvisation with locally-built 'kick pallets,' according to Pitts, which still allow room for passengers.

Kick pallets are double the length of the industry-standard warehouse pallet but half the size of the costlier 463L pallet. They often became snagged inside the helicopter and sometimes had to be pushed out as the helicopter took off, he said. Increased time in landing zones increased risk of enemy fire and tipped over pallets resulted in damaged supplies.

On the other hand, kick pallets placed in the center freed 20 passenger spaces on each side, keeping troops and their supplies together."

Even "kick pallets" are not cheap: $50 per chunk of wood from your local hardware store. The plywood and honeycomb shock absorbers (airdrop only) are not cheap and are not recoverable on the drop/landing zone by Paratroopers on foot. Thus, CDS airdrop bundles are not aggressively trained on by the 82ndsup> Airborne, and kick pallets by 101st Airborne (Air Assault) units. We are not training-as-we-would-fight.

Problem 2: Since we do not train on hundreds of CDS bundles covering an equipment drop zone, in real life it takes days to clear the DZ of these supplies through laborious break-bulk of the CDS bundles onto FMTV and HMMWV trucks. In a shooting war this is too dangerous. Trucks and MHE forklifts cannot pick up and load skid board CDS bundles that rest flat on the ground.


Problem 3: The 463L pallets are pushed off the rear ramp of USAF aircraft after airlanding but break in TRAINING after just two short drops. Even if they do not break, they cannot be picked up by forklift because they are flat and rest flush against the ground/runway etc.

SeaBox has a new "Enhanced Container Delivery System" (ECDS) pallet that has 4-way sleeves for a forklift to pick them up after airdrop or airland. Cost is $4,950 each.

However, after just 2 uses of 463L combat off-load, the 463L is destroyed. After 6 missions 463L losses alone will pay for the ECDS which is durable and indestructible (infinite amount of uses).

To be more durable than the balsa wood core of the 463L the ECDS has a heavy duty extruded aluminum core.

SeaBox's ECDS is 650 pounds vs the 463L's 358 pounds.

The SeaBox ECDS at 250 pounds heavier over 463L is worth it because:

a. Its reusable unlike plywood so we will actually start training as we fight; supplies can be rigged for airdrop for assault echelons on DRB-1 status at all times without fear of deterioration like plywood is susceptible to

b. Is strong enough to be dropped without damage---unlike 463L

c. Will save $ in long run over 463L and lost plywood

d. Can be picked up quickly off the drop zone by rough terrain fork lifts

e. Can be attached to the top of a CROP platform to be picked up by PLS





Perform line haul, local haul, unit resupply, and other missions in the tactical environment to support modernized and highly mobile combat units. Rapid movement of combat-configured loads of ammunition and all classes of supply, shelters and containers.Entered Army Service 1993

Description and Specifications

The Palletized Load System (PLS) consists of a prime mover truck with an integral self-loading and unloading capability, a payload trailer (M1076), and demountable cargo beds, referred to as flatracks. The PLS prime mover truck carries its payloads on its demountable flatrack cargo beds, or inside 8 x 8 x 20 ft International Standards Organization (ISO) containers, or shelters. The PLS prime mover truck comes in two mission-oriented configurations: the M1074 and the M1075. The M1074 is equipped with a variable reach Material Handling Crane (MHC) to support forward-deployed Artillery units. The M1075, without MHC, is used in conjunction with the M1076 trailer in support of transportation line haul missions. The M1076 trailer, capable of carrying payloads up to 16.5 tons, is equipped with a flatrack that is interchangeable between truck and trailer. The prime mover truck and trailer form a self-contained system that loads and unloads its cargo without the need for forklifts or other material handling equipment. Without leaving the cab, the driver can load or unload the truck in less than one minute, and both truck and trailer in less than five minutes.

Two additional pieces of equipment enhance PLS flexibility. The M3 containerized roll-in/out platform (CROP) is an A-frame type flatrack which fits inside a 20-ft ISO container. A container handling unit (CHU) enables PLS to pick up and transport ISO containers without using a flatrack. Flatracks and CROP are interchangeable between PLS and the HEMTT-LHS.

By converting the XVIII Airborne Corps to ECDS, it can revolutionize the way it sustains itself in battle by in a matter of minutes clearing the DZ of all of its supplies via rough terrain forklifts moving them to a covered and concealed position or loading them onto trucks to become completely mobile. Supplies are not destroyed and men are less likely to be killed fumbling around on the DZ with ECDS. Supplies stay in their palletized form until they reach their users who break bulk them down.

Mechanized Units that are not in the Airborne mode of operation can be resupplied by ECDS airdrop and load their bulk supplies of ammo, food, water and even fuel rapidly onto their cargo trucks from a nearby impromptu drop zone (DZ). The 3rd Infantry Division had to "thunder run" to take Baghdad without ANY air resupply after Army attack helicopters tried to attack an Iraqi armored division all by themselves. Their wheeled trucks were destroyed trying to resupply the combat tracked tank forces holding Baghdad and almost didn't make it in time.


ALL Army units need to be ready to be resupplied by USAF and eventually Army fixed-wing aircraft via parachute and free drops. Smaller FMTV trucks can have PLS capability as the picture above shows, and/or have a winch and a ramp to hoist ECDS pallets onto their cargo beds by sliding. Ideally, our resupply should be armored and tracked using air-transportable XM1108 variant Gavins. No wastage and trash need occur---the honeycomb stays under the supplies and the cargo parachutes can be thrown on top and returned eventually to the Rigger unit saving vast amounts of Army funds. But right now with our airplane-to-unmechanized resupply system air items are thrown away because the Paratroopers on foot do not have a way in combat to recover large cargo parachutes weighing hundreds of pounds.



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ECDS bundle: SKEDCO "Magic Carpet" for dragging?

Theory vs. Practice.

In theory, you can drag the ECDS across the drop zone to first get it out of the line of fire. BUT WILL WE DO IT REGULARLY AT PLACES LIKE SICILY DZ AT FORT BRAGG? Will the Army scratch up and mud-encrust up the bottoms of their expensive ECDS pallets?

No, no, a thousand times no!

We "Know" how these guys think. ECDS has to go on a USAF airplane this means IT HAS TO BE TIDY BOWL CLEAN.

Conclusion: they ain't gonna be dragging ECDS bundles as-is.


Why not have the ECDS bundle DZ clearing vehicle have on its back end a SKEDCO "Magic Carpet"---a large piece of plastic with walls that the ECDS bundle is pulled onto and then......the back wall is closed and then the SKEDCO takes the mud and scratches for the ECDS until it gets to the ECDS bundle collection point. This way the ECDS can stay the way it is...and in fact the "Magic Carpet" could be used to retrieve plywood skid CDS bundles, too.

BREAKTHROUGH! A WAY TO PICK-UP & MOVE ECDS BUNDLES AND KICK PALLETS: the Amaze-N-Tow (ANT) combination forklift/trailer!

VIDEO: ANT-463L-Transporter in action!

Inventive genius, Butch Walker's AMAZE-N-TOW (ANT) aka LIFT-N-GO could emplace and move ECDS pallet bundles such that Airborne units can do this themselves! The ANT is a combination MHE forklift and trailer. All they need is to parachute airdrop the ANT-463L-D version on its own ECDS (dis-assembled) or on a Type V airdrop platform with even a pathetic Humvee or M-GATOR or the superior Polaris Ranger All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) truck as the prime mover connected to it and ready to roll after de-rigging on the DZ. All that needs to be done is have the Airborne/Special Operations Test Board at Fort Bragg and Fort Lee Air Delivery Center to certify the exact airdrop rigging procedure after some test drops.

For Air Assault helicopter and fixed-wing airland operations, you must understand that the 463L and ECDS pallets are "fuselage stuffers", meaning they are 108 inches long x 88 inches wide which is essentially all the way to the fuselage skin on the C-130 and CH-47. For a MHE device like ANT to lift 463L/ECDS pallets and have itself fit inside the aircraft is a difficult task because MHE has to be bigger than the things they lift. On all C-130 and larger fixed-wing aircraft, 463L/ECDS pallet rollers are standard without interfering with troop seating so the rollers are always there. The ANT-463L at 244 inches long and 98 3/4 inches wide assembled can be placed on top of a pair of 463L/ECDS pallet or Type V modular airdrop platform of appropriate length with the designated prime mover and easily fit inside a C-27J Spartan, C-130 Hercules or larger aircraft which has a floor width to accept the 108 inch length of 463L/ECDS pallets and actually widens as the fuselage curves up to 120 inches of width.

The CH-47 Chinook's 90 inches of internal width through the rear ramp is not wide enough for 463L/ECDS pallets lengthwise but carry them width-wise on the 88 inch sides and thus cannot carry the large ANT-463L-T Transporter assembled. When HICS is used, 463L/ECDS pallets have to be loaded in 88 inch width-wise to fit into CH-47s. The smaller ANT-463L-D that transports 40" by 48" warehouse pallets can be dis-assembled and strapped to the cargo hooks on the CH-47 floor as long as at least 5 Soldiers are on board to carry its parts off the helicopter and re-assemble it on the LZ. This concept has been used in combat successfully--the 75mm pack howitzer in WW2 broke down into 5 pieces that could be parachute dropped separately and/or moved by pack-mules and pack-humans. The British Army each year runs a team obstacle course competition where a small howitzer in pieces must be taken over obstacles, re-assembled and fired to finish the event for time. With the kick-pallet system, 5 Soldiers and a kick-pallet or M-GATOR or Polaris Ranger ATV prime mover could be carried with the dis-assembled ANT-463L-D. Another option is to have the HICS rollers installed and strap the ANT-463L-D dis-assembled onto a 463L/ECDS pallet and roll it off with other 463L/ECDS pallets of supplies, some Soldiers and an ATV prime mover. Once the ANT-463L-D is re-assembled on the LZ by the Soldiers, it can pick up pick up other pallet loads etc. The benefit of rolling the ANT-463L-D off on a 463L/ECDS pallet would be it could be pre-packed this way.

SIDEBAR: AIP: plastic pallet on top of 463L/ECDS that the grunts take off and keep with them



Pallet shortage: Necessity is the mother of invention

By Damian Housman
Warner-Robbins AFB-ALC Public Affairs

A critical shortage of serviceable 463L pallets, vital for shipping cargo in aircraft, trucks and ships, has prompted research into reducing their losses.

"The 463L is just too useful in the field," said John Brogden, 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing Support Equipment and Vehicle Support Group program manager, and former pallet program manager here. "Folks use them for tent floors, bunkers, road signs and just about anything you might imagine. We lost 50,000 of them in Desert Storm alone. Something had to be done."

Mr. Brogden and Alan Sowash, the present pallet program manager, doubled production through the contractor, from 2,500 units per month to 5,000.

However, with the critical shortage and continuing attrition, even increased production wouldn't close the gap.

"We are working with industry to repair damaged units that come back," said Mr. Sowash. "The contractor, AAR Mobility Systems, has 40,000 pallets in their repair inventory. An additional 25,000 are in the field waiting to get to the repair depot. The same company manufactures new 463L pallets. Repair is economical - a new 463L pallet and net set costs around $1,600," said Mr. Brogden. "On average, the cost to repair a unit is $800."

Something still had to be done about the inability to get field units to return pallets once cargo is unloaded.

"We want to keep control of the 463L pallet as much as possible," said Mr. Brogden, who has been at Robins since 1981. "We don't want it going forward from the airhead to the field,"

The answer was a new pallet.

The new pallet, called the intermodal platform, is made of plastic. The pallet set, which incorporates a retainer net just like the 463L unit does, sits atop the aluminum pallet and carries the cargo. Once the cargo arrives at its destination airhead, the 463L pallet set is removed for return to the system, and the intermodal transport goes with the cargo to the forward operating unit.

"We said why not use a cheap plastic pallet, with fork lift pockets, that can go forward," said Sowash, who has managed the intermodal transport project for just over a year. "It wasn't such a stretch, really. The food industry has used a similar plastic pallet for years. Ours is slightly larger."

"If they keep (the plastic pallet), it only costs about a third as much as the 463L," said Sowash, who came to Robins from Kelly Air Force Base in 2000. He thinks the two projects together can redress the pallet shortage eventually.

The intermodal transport is currently in field testing by U. S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command and the Defense Logistics Agency under the direction of David Blackford, Transportation Specialist at Headquarters USTRANSCOM. The one-year test period began two months ago.

"Tests are encouraging," said Mr. Sowash. "It's robust, it won't rust or corrode, and it should save a lot of money." If successful in tests, a production decision is expected at the beginning of next year.

1st TSG (A) asks: Why not smaller AIPs?

When we "stuff" aircraft with fuselage-sized 463L pallets, why don't the AIP(s) on TOP be already sized so a light infantry unit with just a trailer towed by a MGATOR ATV or a Humvee can tow it?

While our VERY LARGE ANT-463L Transporter Amaze-N-Tow forklift trailer can winch aboard 463L, ECDS and singular AIP pallets, 6, 000 pound pallet loads and our 2, 000 pound trailer are a lot for a MGATOR ATV/Humvee truck to tow and creates a lot of break bulk for the Light/Airborne/Air Assault infantry. The Airborne really needs ECDS/single piece AIP and should just improve their prime mover of ANT-463L-Ts to a M113 Gavin tracked armored vehicle, which they need anyway to help clear the drop zone and have follow-on cross-country maneuver.

If however, you can make your AIP into 2 or 4 pieces, then when the 463L or ECDS arrives by either airland or airdrop, our smaller ANT-463L-D forklift trailer can pick-up these smaller AIP pallets (one 42" x 108") or (two 42" x 54") from their expensive "mother" air pallet. In fact, you could have the folks at RHINO Pallet make your smaller AIP pallets out of fire-proof aluminum--instead of flammable plastic if you like.

Right now Light units are having to break-bulk everything as our slides explain and solves with a soup-to-nuts proposal:


Using a smaller AIP for Light/Air Assault units not likely to use the ECDS pallet would enable them to avoid break-bulk and use our smaller ANT trailer which also rolls on/off from inside Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters. smaller AIPs can also be used as "kick" pallets pushed off from CH-47 rollers, too so the chopper can get off the LZ faster to reduce exposure to enemy fire.

SIDEBAR: Light Units that don't have to Parachute Jump: 10th Mountain Division, 25th Light Infantry Division can use 40" x 48" warehouse pallets simpler and lighter than ECDS pallets

Certainly, the ECDS should replace the 463L pallets in U.S. Army use. However at 650 pounds they are heavy and cut into the payload of smaller aircraft than the 21-ton lifting C-130 fixed-wing aircraft like the 12.5 ton limited CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Butch Walker has a smaller ANT-463L-D MHE forklift/trailer than can roll-on/off towed by a prime mover from inside a CH-47 Chinook during Air Assault operations. This smaller ANT would lift/move 40" x 48" warehouse pallets simpler and lighter than ECDS pallets, effectively improving light force's logistics from the current time consuming break bulk by hand of items into and out of truck beds in small quantities.

A double-wheel ANT/LNG trailer can have band tracks placed on top to improve cross-country mobility like our MOBIL-TRAC trailers with MICLIC rocket line charges have.



ANT Military Models

ANT-463-T Transports 463L/ECDS pallets, 10K Heavy Lift

  • Load 10,000 lbs
  • Load Width 96.5"
  • Weight 3,960 lbs
  • Length Open 30'6"
  • Length Closed 21'
  • Width 100"
  • Piston 4 "
  • Tires* LT225-R16
  • Spindle 6,000 lbs


Click here for more info


ANT-463L-D Dis-Assembled delivery on a 463L/ECDS pallet
Power Points

  • Load 4,000 lbs
  • Load Width 66"
  • Weight 1,380 lbs
  • Length 162"
  • Width 94"
  • Piston 2.5"
  • Tires* LT235-R16
  • Spindle 6,000 lbs
  • Forks 92"
  • View Video (2.3mb)

Click here for more info



  • Load 5,000 lbs
  • Load Width 66"
  • Weight 1,460 lbs
  • Length 132"
  • Width 94"
  • Piston 2.5"
  • Tires* 6ply 235-16
  • Spindle 6,000 lbs
  • Forks 50 "


Click here for more info

Butch Walker's smallest military ANT, the ANT-463L-D (Dis-assembled delivery on a 463L or ECDS pallet) is designed to carry standard 40" x 48" wood, metal or plastic "small" or "kick" pallets. Light infantry units could easily speed their resupply by palletizing their logistics with the ANT-463L-D to avoid having to break-bulk by hand supplies into and out of truck cargo beds. Currently, light units after receiving a "kick" pallet from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter must break the pallet apart and distribute its supplies into manpack loads or reload a truck cargo bed wasting time and exposing them to enemy fire because they have no way to pick the pallet up and take it with them as-is. If each light infantry rifle company had just one ANT-5000MT towed by a Humvee, M-GATOR or larger vehicle, they could receive palletized supplies dropped off to them and lift them off the ground in seconds and move them freely across the battlefield. ANT mobility for small pallets opens the door for special pallets pre-loaded with triple strand concertina wire to rapidly lay out protective wire barriers in minutes compared to the current hours required to hand emplace them. The 5, 000 pound (2.5 tons) cargo capacity by towing exceeds the truck bed capacity of the Humvee (1.25 tons) and M-GATOR (500 pounds) offering light forces greater ammunition for superior firepower, more food/water for longer mission reach.

For "large" pallets like 80" x 84" inch 463L, Enhanced Container Delivery System (ECDS) pallets, the ANT-463L-T (Transporter) 10K Heavy Lift model is available. These large pallets are used for aircraft airland ands airdrop delivery of supplies for Airborne, Air Assault and any Army unit that uses an air line of communications and resupply. Since these pallets are costly and need to be recovered for re-use, ANT-463L and ANT-10K are ideal tools for Airborne, Air Assault units to train now as they would fight instead of throwing away costly plywood skidboards. When training dollars are scarce, the purchase costs of the ANT and reusable pallets will quickly pay for themselves over throw-away plywood and insures America's Soldiers can train exactly as they would fight.

* NOTE: All ANTs can have their civilian tires/rims replaced by MIL-SPEC Humvee tires/rims with run-flats for greater combat durability. We suggest you buy ANTs with civilian tires/rims to keep purchase price down and use them in training. Prior to war-time use, order Humvee tires/rims and retrofit to ANTs using the supply system to increase resistance to enemy fire.

We can do this. ANTs run for less than $10K.

Details: www.liftngo.us/military.htm

(800) 688-7627

Armored Airdrop Resupply Recovery Vehicle (AA-RRV)

The vehicle shuttling ECDS bundles off the open, danger area DZ must be ARMORED and TRACKED to protect the Paratroopers as they do this, and to have maximum traction in all weather and vegetation and soil conditions. The armored cargo-carrying variant of the parachute-airdroppable, amphibious, helicopter-transportable M113 Gavin 10.5 ton light tracked armored fighting vehicle (TAFV) is called the XM1108. The XM1108 has a stretched hull distinguishable by its 6 road-wheels common to the mobile tactical vehicle light (MTVL) upgrade but behind the armored cab its a cut-down flat bed for cargo. As an Armored Airdrop Resupply Recovery Vehicle (AA-RRV) for Airborne units the XM1108 would be parachute airdropped into the heavy equipment drop zone on a type V airdrop platform for immediate recovery by designated personnel to clear the HDZ of ECDS bundles. The AA-RRV would tow the SKEDCO "magic carpet" or Amaze-N-Tow up to the ECDS bundle as one Paratrooper mans a gunshield-protected .50 caliber heavy machine gun to kill/suppress any enemies trying to interfere, as another Para would get out, hook the ECDS bundle onto the magic carpet or ANT, get back into the armored cab and they'd zoom the ECDS bundle to the designated supply collection point. Another option would be for Light Mech Sappers (Combat Engineers) to pitch in and help clear the drop zone of supply bundles by their M113 Gavins with bulldozer blades fitted with Butch Walker's "BucketLift" attachment.

The AA-RRV would be a hybrid-electric drive (HED), 500+ hp vehicle with 600 mile range on one 95 gallon load of internal fuel for many days of ECDS bundle shuttling as well as stealth silent mode if covertness is required. A fold down ramp and winch would be on the rear of the cab to carry ECDS bundles on back as an armored transport means after the shuttling ECDS bundles off the DZ mission is complete. The winch can also help the already powerful AA-RRV's tracked propulsion means get other less-capable wheeled vehicles out of mud/ditches. The Palletized Loading System (PLS) load/offload means could also be on the AA-RRV rear area for resupply using larger PLS flat racks. Fold-down or detachable side walls at the cargo area with a sacrificial face to pre-detonate RPGs would protect the cargo on AA-RRVs from destruction during transport.

ECDS Weight, Complexity & Costs?

The Cost threshold when you no longer train as you would fight

If the "disposable" thing is so costly that it passes the threshold of where you cannot train on it in full quantities and as often as you like, it needs to be a re-usable item so we do not throw money away every time we use it.

CDS bundle skid board plywood is an example. In theory a $100 sheet of plywood per every two CDS bundles should not empty the unit budget if the plywood is recovered on the DZ. But the plywood is NOT recovered on the DZ, and soon the hundreds of dollars of plywood becomes thousands and thousands of dollars of plywood and units stop training as they would fight with many, many CDS bundles with a war time budget that can afford to throw stuff away. So in training we will drop a few token CDS bundles and "guard them" where they drop so the riggers get their stuff back which ruins the training that the users need to get so they can optimize resupply recovery equipment and techniques. Its a sham.

Complexity Bad: trash on the drop zone

Let's say money is not a problem even in training, and you drop multiple CDS bundles with plywood skid boards and you do not care that the troops leave them on the ground or the more industrious ones use them for overhead cover roofs for fighting positions. In a top-down dictatorial, demeaning outfit like the Army we can just order lower ranking Soldiers to clean up the mess for the main body. First, we are being a "penny wise" and a "pound foolish" here. The plywood skidboards cannot be lifted by forklifts to rapidly clear the DZ or stack to make supply dumps. In the wide open, DZ a danger area---supplies will have to be "break bulked" from their CDS bundles and placed into trucks. There is no guarantee that the men trying to do this will not be killed and the supplies destroyed. Without resupply and only jumping in with a 3-day supply of ammo, water and food the entire Airborne operation could fail. Even if the DZ is secure enough to break bulk CDS bundles into truck or manpack loads, it will leave enormous amounts of plywood, honeycomb, straps trash in addition to expensive cargo parachutes that must be cleared before aircraft can land. If we are airdropping stuff to refugees or independent, "flying columns" of ground troops/vehicles and do not care if any of the airdrop means are returned, sure we can toss away plywood, honeycomb and just eat the loss of expensive parachutes and nylon straps. But THROW-AWAY AIRDROP RESUPPLY should not be the preferred way to airdrop resupply U.S. forces that have a two-way flow of supplies going in and casualties and empty containers going out. U.S. forces need efficient resupply means that limits trash and headache/time loss for troops who need to be focused on fighting the enemy.

Complexity Good: Dual-Use is the answer to recovering items

ECDS solves this because its a re-usable airdrop platform and at the same time a ground pallet that forklifts can lift on and off trucks and make stacks with to create supply dumps.

Since ECDS has a dual air and ground use, the question is why not have EVERY UNIT IN THE ARMY USE ECDS PALLETS FOR GROUND RESUPPLY NOT JUST AIRBORNE UNITS FOR AIRDROP RESUPPLY?. Then if an Air Delivery Unit (Riggers) drop say 100 x ECDS pallets to the 3rd Infantry Division maneuvering to capture an enemy capital city, all they would need to do to get their 100 x ECDS pallets back would be to get 100 x ECDS pallets from the 3rd ID rear, NOT insist that the exact 100 x ECDS pallets held by the 3rd ID's maneuvering units locked in mortal combat stop what they are doing and return them by dangerous ground movement. FYI: EXACTLY as Major Ireland argues so persuasively in his 2006 SAMS paper.

In other words, airdrop resupply items by NOT BEING JUNK; by being items that have a ground purpose that is well thought out and in use by ground units, we insure they are returned by better yet exchange for like items. By being a forklift pallet, ECDS enables units to not have to break bulk on the DZ, but can shuttle supply bundles quickly and intact off the DZ and into covered, guarded supply dumps, where they supplies can then be break-bulked as needed. The entire Airborne force with enough motor transport remains mobile to relocate to an entirely different area or go into the attack with all its supplies. No more will the Airborne be stuck to fixed airheads; airdrop resupply could come to them wherever they are on the battlefield at that moment via the GPS precision we now have.


The ECDS is a little too heavy at 650 pounds which cuts into aircraft payloads and makes them difficult to man handle on the ground when empty but skeletonizing them should save 100-200 pounds of weight.

Modular Airdrop Ballistic Blankets (MABBS)

So let's proceed with airdrop resupply that is over 100 pounds in bulk ECDS bundles. On the non-linear battlefield where the enemy can attack at any time in any direction, there is no guarantee that supplies on top of unarmored, rubber-tired trucks from the DZ are going to make it to the troops fighting the enemy. In fact, during the 3rd ID's march to Baghdad in 2003, they ran dangerously low on ammunition and fuel and two resupply columns in vulnerable trucks were wiped out by the enemy and did not get through. Fortunately we had just enough ammo to prevail, but next time we might not be so lucky. Luck ran out for the dead resupply Soldiers who tried to make an ill-conceived linear battlefield (NLB) supply system work. The days of a 100 division U.S. Army clearing out all enemies in large geographic areas so "Red Ball Expresses" of trucks can shuttle men/supplies in vulnerable, unarmored trucks is over. The 10 division Army must bypass enemy forces and collapse the enemy's center of governmental and military gravity to collapse the enemy not annihilate him slowly and everywhere he is found. Flying columns that go for the enemy's "jugular" must be resupplied and airdrop that is precise is an important means to this end because it flies over enemy ambushers on the ground. However, once the supplies are on the ground, they are still vulnerable to ambush and confiscation for use by the enemy or destruction.

The current CDS A-22 bag/cover is a flimsy canvass that does little more than keep dirt/dust out of loads. Once on the ground, and a bundle is break-bulked, its yet another pain-in-the-ass to recover along with the cargo parachute (s). It should be replaced with a kevlar or other ballistic protective material "blanket" offering protection from 7.62mm x 39mm AKM bullets and shrapnel/explosions destroying the cargo as its transported from DZ to the troops. Let's now look at the "Modular Airdrop Ballistic Blankets System" (MABBS) in terms of weight, complexity and cost.

MABBS will surely weigh more than thin A-22 canvass, perhaps twice as much. However, this weight will pay for itself because its moot point if the cargo gets destroyed because the thin canvass A-22 bag doesn't protect it from enemy fire effects. MABBS would be more complex because its heavier and slightly harder to rig than an already pain-in-the-ass A-22 container (as hard as that would be), perhaps not on second thought! If MABBS is done right, it would be MODULAR, meaning it could plug into truck beds to act as a protective liner after its no longer used as a cover for the ECDS bundle. Again, the dual-use capability. Every time an ECDS bundle is received by the ground unit and break-bulked, it now has a ballistic liner to line its truck beds to protect cargoes and troops or to do the same to ISO container "Battle Boxes". All the Rigger unit has to do is keep a running tab on how many MABBS they have given to the supported ground units and ask for them back at the end of the war. MABBS is one item that we need to mass produce and give freely to our troops who need every ounce of ballistic protection on the NLB against roadside bombs, RPGs and ambushes. In times of peace, after the training exercise is over the ground unit returns the MABBS to the Rigger unit.

Reuseable ORANGE/TAN plastic "trash" bags for recovering cargo parachutes & air items

With ECDS + MABBS, we have now reduced the throw-away portion of a CDS bundle down to just honeycomb cardboard. ECDS doubles as a forklift pallet, and MABBS as ballistic blankets on the ground. This leaves us with the cargo parachutes themselves and nylon strappings, D rings etc. The MABBS would have a pouche on its side to hold a VERY, VERY LARGE, inexpensive but reusable plastic trash bag TAN on one side and ORANGE on the other. To recover the cargo parachutes and other nylon air items, this plastic trash bag is removed from the MABBS pouch and stuffed inside. If speed of recovery is paramount, the blaze ORANGE side is shown for troops/vehicles to drive by and toss them onto the back of a cargo bed. If tactical covertness or a dangerous situation exists, the TAN side would be shown out.

New Ways to insure airdrops land where they need to: GPS & SATCOM microwave radios

Signals go straight up to a satellite which then bounces the signal back down to be received anywhere on the earth. Today's "General Urqhart" doesn't have to have communications break-down when keeping units coordinated. The Airborne can call for supplies and the request will be heard.

Navstar GPS "Plugger"

Inside the transport aircraft, the Airborne mobile column's grid coordinates can be flown to using navigation satellites that emit signals to give aircrews and Paratroops a precise fix over the earth.

Very Low-Altitude and FREEDROP: cargo lands exactly where its needed!

Another surprising fact is that cargo parachutes can deploy at very low altitudes--under 500 feet for very little wind drift.

And many items to include rations and ammo can be FREEDROPPED---no parachutes, no drift! Look at the photos above!

Paratroopers can also jump from as low as 250 feet routinely using the British Irvin parachute system.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS!!! Re-Usable, Rotary-Wing Gliders: Haffner's Dream Fulfilled


Retired U.S. Army LTC Chuck Jarnot's AirTailer autogyro cargo glider is ready to do VTL precision resupply fulfilling Haffner's work begun in WW2.


Eventually AirTrailers that can deliver Super Gavins will be fielded--making TANKS FLY.


Jarnot Aerospace Corporation
7225 Old Milford Road
Milford, Kansas 66514
Office Phone: (785) 200-3500
Fax Number: (785) 200-3499

Disposable Rotary-Wing Airdrop Resupply System: "CopterBox"

Face it: we don't parachute airdrop resupply our Army units in contact. Only for the Airborne/SOF.

This is wrong.

During the 3rd ID's thunder run into Baghdad they ran perilously low on ammunition. If we had a cheaper and simpler way to airdrop resupply we could have delivered critical 12.7mm (.50 cal) and 7.62mm ammo into a precise location in urban Iraq and made it not needed for ground resupply trucks to try to get through enemy opposition which risks our Soldier's lives. In 4th Generation War, where we seek to bypass enemy rear guards and take out their military and governmental "centers-of-gravity" we need a way to air resupply our maneuvering forces with precision to reach units in urban areas and at a low-cost to be disposable.

The fact is that conventional parachute resupply costs too much money in parachutes, honeycomb and plywood for small CDS bundles such that even the Airborne doesn't do it as they should in training.

Air Bags to Reduce Cardboard Honeycomb will still be Expensive

If it is done, we have all sorts of trash on the DZ and no way for foot-grunts to pick it all up! (result: it ain't being done). Its about 300+ pounds of airdrop materials just to make a G-14 CDS bundle work! Who wants to hump out all these materials on their back? A 12-man SF A-Team or 9-man infantry squad cannot afford to divide 300 pounds of supplies and airdrop junk onto their backs.

If you are in an armored vehicle, parachute CDS supplies can be recovered and if the combat situation permits, returned to their air delivery unit. You can even do fuel resupply by FLEX-CELLs, bladders or 55-gallon drums that a single man can roll--if your vehicles are not 500 gallon fuel hogs like M1 Abrams heavy tanks with turbine engines.

However, what if you are on foot or in the middle of a firefight? Achmed gets a $1,000 nylon parachute tent for his girlfriend for free courtesy of Uncle Sam. OK if he's a civilian refugee from a natural or man-made disaster, bad if he's the enemy!

If you are in a ground vehicle, parachute CDS makes sense because you can throw the expensive cargo shoot on board and recover it back to the Air Delivery Unit Riggers. But if all you need is ammo and water, and you are on foot you need the minimal amount of airdrop packing for supplies that are in man-pack sizes.

In high-altitude regions like Afghanistan, aircraft cannot simply airland to resupply troops. Even if they can find a suitable assault zone to airland on, 463L pallets are notoriously fragile (aluminum covered balsa wood) and when they are pushed off the rear ramp of the USAF or Army ramp equipped aircraft they often break. Now you have a broken 358 pound 463L pallet with netting and more supplies than a small team can handle on foot. We need to push out loads from aircraft overhead so they do not have to land or expose themselves to enemy fire, but not have them drift away under a parachute or crash into rocks and break if free-dropped. Freedrop is great but some fragile items like morphine ampules need a slowed, cushioned descent.

The result of all of this is the potential of small airdrop resupply is NOT being done throughout the Army like we used to do in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. LTC John Paul Vann saved the day in Korea free-dropping ammo from his O-1 Bird Dog observation/attack plane to surrounded U.S. troops.


CopterBox in Flight!



In Australia, HELIBOXes are used to economically resupply units.

Retired Colonel Chuck Warren, an Army Combat Infantryman and fixed-wing Aviator who has done air resupply by Bird Dog aircraft in Vietnam himself has come up with the definitive solution that enables almost any under 60 pound cargo to be dropped with a slow descent using the cardboard rotors of a helicopter instead of a costly parachute.


The CopterBox: A Lightweight, Disposable Air Cargo Delivery System

The CopterBox can deliver up to 100 pounds of emergency supplies from a wide variety of aircraft with drop speeds of up to 130 knots. The corrugated paper box employs three rotor blades that use the principle of autorotative lift to slow it and its payload to a gradual descent prior to ground contact. The CopterBox can delay opening its descent rotors for High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) insertions so the delivery aircraft can stay well above enemy air defense weapons as we did at An Loc in Vietnam.

The CopterBox makes economic sense in applications where a parachute would not be practical or prudent. The CopterBox requires very little time and training to pack and rig prior to launch.

A welded wire rotor hub is used to protect the box prior to launch and to withstand the aerodynamic and centrifugal forces of flight during descent.

Please email us with your questions and comments. Videos of developmental testing and a brochure are available via the link below or via CD-ROM. We need your input.

U.S. Patent 5,947,419

Video & Brochure Download:

To see our video, brochure, pictures, news and our white paper, click HERE.

Call us for pricing information! We are now taking orders for our current configuration.

Contact Information:

DropMaster, Inc.
3600 Abernathy Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28311
(910)630-DBOX (3269)

Charles V. Warren, President
(910) 630-2997



A few weeks back, we looked at the Army's "medical missile" for shooting supplies to wounded Soldiers in hot zones. Well, apparently, there's more than one flying first aid kit out there.

With funding from the Army, Fayetteville, NC's DropMaster, Inc. has developed a "CopterBox" -- a fast-spinning, cardboard cylinder equipped with rotating blades -- that can be used to airdrop supplies to Soldiers in need.

Chuck it out of a helicopter or a plane, and the CopterBox will slow a 60 lb. payload to 34 feet per second. And "since it spins at about 400 RPM, it cuts through trees and always reaches the ground, unlike parachute-based systems," writes DropMaster's engineering director Chase Warren. Plus, the things are cheap, Chase says: just $300 a pop.

But right now, the Pentagon ain't buying, Chase complains. Despite a small business grant from the Army -- and nine years of work by "my father, 5 other people and me" -- Chase says the answer has been the same from every branch of the U.S. military he's approached: "We don't have a requirement for your concept. No one has come to us asking for this."

THERE'S MORE: The Australian military has been using a similar product for years, notes Defense Tech reader GK.


These "heliboxes" have maximum weight of just 7.5 kg, he says, but they're just right for rations, water, and the like.

Posted by noahmax at August 13, 2004 12:32 AM


Copterbox has this all solved!

And its PRECISE without expensive GPS electronics to steer parachutes.

Expensive UAV Resupply...

But of course UAVs are huge $$ money-makers for the MICC-TT and they have been offered as expensive resupply means...

Is it a wonder we are wasting $10B a month in Iraq and the country is on the verge of economic collapse?

Affordable Airborne Logistics Means are Available Now...

What are we waiting for?

Mobile Airborne Warfare

In WWII, airdrop had progressed to where a force of Chindits led by visionary British General Orde Wingate, parachuted/glider landed into Burma where they engaged the Japanese supply lines/communication using mobile warfare, continuously resupplied by air. Light STOL "Grasshopper" planes evacuated casualties off dirt strips, and even gliders were "snatched" by low flying C-47 transports. Outnumbered, the Chindits could not afford a set-piece battle, choosing to say moving which tired the men to exhaustion in the thick jungle. Later, more conventional forces like General Slim's "Admin box" were saved by air resupply drops during the battle of Kohima-Imphal in 1944. The Allies could not have beat the Japanese in the CBI theatre without airdrop. Today, things could be even better.

Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicles, folding All-Terrain Bicycles, All Terrain All-purpose Carts can be airdropped with Paratroopers and used as mobility means to prevent men from having to carry themselves and their gear on foot all over the battlefield. Paratroopers with organic Survival Evasion Resistance Escape skills, and a lightweight holistic field living/load bearing system could live off the land if need be, allowing air logistics to concentrate on food/ammo since in most areas water could be collected/purified by hand-pump reverse osmosis water purifiers. The 1st TSG's Project Hi-Speed suggestions now an entire web site at www.combatreform.org/aesindex.htm can guide units and individuals towards achieving the capability of the Airborne force to carry 30 plus days of supplies with them into the battle--plenty of time before ship resupply can commence. Who says Airborne forces have to be hamstrung logistically?

The Airborne mobile column would be its own "supply base" taking with it only what it needs for the immediate fight, with resupply coming in on schedule, on call over Satcom and on target via Navstar global positioning satellite. The Israelis did this often in the 1967 and '73 wars to keep armored columns on the move (see picture above). Even the lazy and apathetic marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom would clear a 3,000 foot stretch of highway of all debris and have KC-130 Hercules aircraft airland to deliver 6,000 gallons of fuel bladders per sortie to keep their fusterclucks of rubber tired trucks rolling (See Smith/West's The March Up pages 127 & 142). The amazing FLEX-CELL fuell bladders could be dropped without any pumping equipment as the tracked vehicles run over the FLEX-CELLs to pressurize hoses to refill themselves. The "Blackstar" technique of infrared chemlights on airdropped cargo bundles and then using night vision goggles to spot them can be used to prevent enemy location of the Airborne mobile column from spotting the resupply parachutes. Reinforcements could parachute directly into the mobile column's temporary defensive position via low-altitude parachutes and accurate world-wide mapping on computers, made into color photocopied topographical maps for deploying Paratroopers.

The air defense weapons of maneuvering Airborne units also double as protection for resupply aircraft from enemy fighters, though being on them move is the best defense. Local air supremacy is possible using ground-based missiles coupled to a highly mobile force; with the Afghan freedom fighters robbing the Soviet Air Force from the skies by using hand-held Stinger should-fired surface-to-air missles; the first time this has occurred in modern history. Today's Airborne has even more advanced Stingers; a missile that has knocked aircraft down from the Falklands to the mountains of Southern Asia. A fixed base invites counter-attacks; being small and mobile can be a blessing, especially if your combat power is compact, flexible and resilient.

The re-supply aircraft should infiltrate using terrain masking flight when over enemy controlled areas, using free and high velocity airdrop from high altitudes to evade any enemy air defense weapons whenever possible. These aircraft could sortie out from a nearby allied base outside of the war zone (C-130 Hercules-intra-theater airlift) or even from the Continental U.S. (C-141B, C-5B, C-17 inter-theater airlift) during the initial deployments and in emergencies.

Fixed-wing and Helicopter CopterBox resupply to inland Airborne forces from navy amphib ships needs to be practiced and perfected, in the spirit of the mc's oft-neglected 4th Mission. Better yet would be a handful of SL-7 fast or LMRS Bob Hope class RO-RO medium-speed sealift ships with flight decks for carrying attack/transport helicopters that would speed to the scene to resupply the Airborne force. These ships would be U.S. Army owned and manned efficiently by small civilian sealift command crews. This would insure a seamless transition of supplies to the Airborne force and would maximize the use of current Army LACV-30 and USN LCAC air cushion vehicles for over-the-horizon resupply. LACV-30s and LCACs are light enough to be lifted by 110-ton cranes so they can be carried aboard Army sealift ships and not need expensive, custom-built flooding well-deck amphibious ships. The LMRSs and SL-7s are standard cargo ships in U.S. military use.

Paratroopers can be delivered to ANY spot on the globe


1. Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal, CMH, 1985

2. Malcom McConnell, Just Cause, 1992

3. Ian Hogg, Great Land Battle of WWII, 1987.

4. www.rdecom.army.mil/rdemagazine/200502/itf_deliveries.html

Ramps Speed Chinook Deliveries
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center

NATICK, Mass. -- Bad enough spending time and effort muscling a loaded pallet of supplies off a CH-47 helicopter, cargo often got banged up when it tripped and tumbled out the door.

Help is on the way. A request for off-loading equipment last summer by a member of the Army's Rapid Equipping Force operating in Southwest Asia eventually led to the Aerial Delivery and Engineering Support Team at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here, developing a field-expedient fix within 90 days.

Commercially-available conveyor rollers along with wooden ramp extensions, complementing existing off-load extensions, provide a quick, easy and inexpensive way to move out cargo without sacrificing troop transit, said Bob Pitts, an equipment specialist and project officer for the CH-47 Rapid Off-Load. "Everybody down there said 'I wish I would have had this when I was there,'" Pitts said about the pilots, crew chiefs and flight engineers with combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq taking part in an evaluation at Fort Campbell, Ky. After the evaluation, 120 roller systems were sent to Southwest Asia, with another order of 60 on the way.

Since the 1960s, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter has delivered troops and equipment to almost any type of terrain. They have been flown for airborne missions, casualty evacuation, downed aircraft recovery, disaster relief, and search and rescue missions during war and peace, according to Pitts. He said flying cargo externally with a sling load is an option with the CH-47, but crews don't prefer it because extra drag reduces speed and increases fuel consumption, and because of the type of flying they do.

To keep it inside, the Helicopter Internal Cargo Handling System (HICHS) has been available for more than a decade. The system provides low-friction loading and unloading conveyor ramps along with conveyors for moving cargo within the aircraft.

"It's a good system for the loads that it is designed for, but it has drawbacks," Pitts said. "HICHS was not in there most of the time. Once configured, you want to leave it that way because it's difficult and time-consuming to install. The 463L pallet is too big to move around, and it doesn't allow any space to carry troops." It also has limited availability, with the HICHS allocated to one-fourth of the Chinook fleet. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq renewed interest in internal cargo delivery and spurred field improvisation with locally-built "kick pallets," according to Pitts, which still allow room for passengers.

Kick pallets are double the length of the industry-standard warehouse pallet but half the size of the costlier 463L pallet. They often became snagged inside the helicopter and sometimes had to be pushed out as the helicopter took off, he said. Increased time in landing zones increased risk of enemy fire and tipped over pallets resulted in damaged supplies.

On the other hand, kick pallets placed in the center freed 20 passenger spaces on each side, keeping troops and their supplies together.

The Aerial Delivery and Engineering Support Team worked with packaging and materiel experts as well as CH-47 crew members to shape the requirements and design concepts leading to a system working with both kick pallets and warehouse pallets.

It met the criteria of allowing up to four pallets to be unloaded within 10 minutes, clearing the ramp area by 30 feet, giving enough pallet clearance without having to taxi the helicopter forward and working on any type of terrain. Chinooks with the new system can be configured to carry all cargo or a combination of passengers and cargo.

"We did nothing that modifies the aircraft at all. It's compatible with the armor protection," Pitts said. "We still get the same volumetric capacity as before without losing troop carrying capacity using rollers and pallets you can get anywhere."

The rollers, which could be wide or the thin skate-wheel variety, are ladder-shaped and strap down onto the cabin floor. When it's time to exit, the rollers are extended into place along with the wooden wedges slid underneath to support the weight as pallets move down the line.

Chances of a spilled pallet are lowered, and extra wood planks underneath the rollers help reduce friction when a pallet is pushed or pulled along the rollers. Pitts said changes ahead might include adding a smooth surface underneath the pallets for extra stability on the rollers and developing a roller system based on the warehouse pallet.

A roller system using warehouse or kick pallets could also be added to light tactical vehicles, such as the Humvee, he said. With stick on cardboard honeycomb affixed to the side, it's possible to drop pallets directly from the rear of any vehicle or a helicopter.

(Submitted by U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center Public Affairs Office)



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