The End of the Masshy Wagon

The march of the ISO containerised system continues.

Instead of the old box body ‘masshy wagon’ Royal Engineers, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines engineers can now make use of the containerised ‘Deployable Machine Shop’

Marshals Land Systems completed delivery of the new shelters in April this year and they have been a great success.

Using a 20ft ISO DROPS compatible container the new units can be transported by C130J, C130K, C17, A400, Chinook, road and rail. Each is equipped with a number of field testers and tools as well as larger machine tools such as a lathe, milling machine or pillar drill depending on variant, chop saw, buffer/grinder, plus tool draws, vices, work benches and a degreaser. Once positioned it can be operational in 30 minutes with power provided by the Field Equipment Power Supply (FEPS) unit, a diesel-powered three-phase generator, that is trailed off the tail bar at the back of the DROPS vehicle. When working in the vicinity of sensitive electronics and things that go bang it is vital that EMC shielding and compliance is built in, not an afterthought, the system is fully compliant with relevant defence standards for EMC

The DMS allows more equipment to be inspected, maintained and repaired in forward locations, this prevents costly and time consuming backloading to facilities further back up the chain.

The Deployable Machine Shop (DMS) compliments the larger and more complex Deployable Equipment Workshop (DEW) that comprises 12 containers and interconnecting tents with the trades either allocated as single use or shared access as follows;

  • ME Fabricator and Blacksmith – two containers
  • ME Carpenter and Joiner – two containers
  • ME Fitter Equipment and Welder – one shared container
  • ME Fitter Utility and & Petroleum Fitter ACR (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration) – one shared container
  • ME Electrician and ME Fitter H&P (Heating & Plumbing) – one shared container
  • Planning Staff & Draughtsman – one shared container
  • ME Building and Structural Draughtsman – one shared container
  • Main Work Area Storage Container – doubles as a Stores Container when Main Work Area Shelter is deployed
  • Forward Deployment and Utility Container (FDUC) – provides a forward deployable capability independent of the main hybrid. System acts as a general Utility Container when not on deployment
  • RACU Container – housing the environmental conditioning equipment for the Main Work Area shelter

The self-build Main Work Area (MWA) provides a large work area (242 square metres W 11.5m x L 21m) allowing full vehicular access and handling of large work pieces. The shelter provides an effective entry way at the centre to ensure that a variety of work pieces, machinery and vehicles can not only gain entry from either end of the structure, but that unnecessary movement of other maintenance tasks to allow entry / egress is eliminated. The system can be integrated with up to four 20 ft containers (2 on each side) using breezeway attachments which provide weatherproof connections between the trade containers.

In future, other trades and services could easily be integrated into this system. DEW is a truly versatile system providing the UK MoD with the agility to deploy tradesmen quickly to the most inhospitable places, at the same time allowing them to perform their tasks to a high standard.

With a suitable area to site the various containers, paired containers and tents, the DEW can be operational within 12hours, although planning assumptions are longer to allow site preparation.

As good as they are we only have 4

Not often reported, especially on blogs, but both the DEW and DMS are a great capability that provide invaluable support to operations.




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August 24, 2010 10:06 pm

It’s so easy to forget this sort of thing when you think of military deployments. I’d never put any thought into it, but this seems like a pretty good solution.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
August 24, 2010 10:48 pm

Could it be that it’s good because it happened quietly and in the background, without any “political” scrutiny and spin? A sign that without the press/politicians hounding them for a solution MoD can turn out a great solution to a problem?

August 25, 2010 1:12 am

yay – so we could buy another set, load up on a Dutch style JSS and replace the diligence :-)

paul g
August 25, 2010 11:32 am

when i was at an aircraft workshop we had marshall shelters drops mounted and had scissor type floors so when demounted it’s width was doubled turned into a massive workshop, we went up to the marshall site in cambridge for a day out, they are a very under recognised company, the hospital set up similar to the above was years ahead and the work they have done with the C130 is amazing. Yet we only hear about BAe and the usual suspects. good article

by the way how do you get an avatar next to your comments?

paul g
February 16, 2011 1:50 pm

six months on, and i’ve just remembered something!!! 2nd picture shows a DEW, in the bottom corner there are 2 generators “stealth” gennys, they were nicknamed, when these were being trialled a ssgt REME tech (not me!) noticed that the A frame at the front was quite small and passed this up the chain stating that all box bodies overhang, nonsense was the reply we’ve tested it was the answer from the clever people (higher ranks).
Turns out they used a flat bed to do the tests so first time it deployed, first corner “crash bang wallop” ended sitting in compounds for months waiting new A frames (not a simple swop as centre of gravity effected) oh and not the manufactuers fault either as the MOD supplied the measurements therefore another cheque heading the companies way.
Good to see the guy on the ground who had experience with the kit being ignored, too low down the food chain!