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Military Pallets, Boxes and Containers – Part 5 Boxes and Packaging

PE8 Demolition Charge Box

In the previous parts of this series of posts I have had a look at containers and pallets, but what about boxes that go on pallets that are put into containers?


To characterise military packaging as being simply a box does the packaging industry a great disservice, yes, they can be a simple folding cardboard box that contains rations, but they can also be a system that must keep a missile at exactly the correct environmental condition or even a Trident warhead.

Ultimately, most military equipment comes in a box of some sort.

It should come as no surprise that military packaging is subject to a number of standards, DGS PS 5104 for example, describes the requirements for ‘Cleanliness and Packaging Requirements for Naval Nuclear Primary Plant’. There are a number of other standards, all described in our old friend JSP 886, specifically, Volume 7 Part 8.

The JSP 886 policy states that;

It is MOD policy that all PHS&T requirements for all items within the project are considered so that they are packaged and labelled, stored, handled and transported as appropriate via the supply chain so that items reach the user in a usable and acceptable  state.

PHS&T stands for Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transport, the four key elements governing the whole subject. Munitions, clothing, fuels, lubricants and dangerous goods are also covered by other packaging standards. Factors that inform the PHS&T plan for a given item include the physical characteristics of the item, timing and mode of movements, movements agency requirements, both Defence and Commercial, specific asset management requirements, operational requirements and the lifeing of articles (shelf life).

Specifically for packaging, if any manufacturer or service provider wants to work with the MoD (in respect of packaging for those items covered by Defcon 129 or ‘JSP886  Volume 7 Part 802) they have to be certified against the new MPAS (Military Packaging Accreditation Scheme). MPAS is administered by Allan Webb Ltd in conjunction with the MoD and certification bodies like LRQA, DNV and BSI.

It is essentially, ISO9000 with an additional 8 sets of military packaging specific requirements.

Packaging is also recycled, for the MoD, this is done by Leeds company Austin Hayes under 5 year £18.5m contract awarded in 2010.

Military Packaging Recycling
Military Packaging Recycling

There are a wide variety of factors that the packing designer must address as diverse as sharp edge protection and space filling. Wood is still an entirely valid material to use alongside metals and plastics and there is even a preferred hierarchy of packaging, from paper or plastic bags to specialised packing cases. Some of these must also be re-useable.

Items like ammunition boxes have extra complications that go beyond packaging, storage and transport efficiency, they must of course be attuned completely to the needs of the user. Even what might seem a minor issue like which way an ammunition box lid opens in relation to the feed side of a weapon will actually be a major issue for the user. For heavy items like ammunition, box sizes must also consider how many can be packed to a standard pallet.

Palletised H83 ammuntion containers
Palletised H83 ammuntion containers
A980 ammunition container
A980 ammunition container



‘Special to Contents’ is used to define a box designed solely for one type of item, a missile for example, or even a Reaper UAV.




[tab title=”Reaper Transport Container 3″]

Reaper Transport Case 01

Although there are many defined sizes for crates and boxes in all the materials I read there did not seem to be anything specific about how they could fit together like lego for efficient utilisation of pallets and containers, unlike the Euro Box which is predicated on being able to fit in all manner of combinations and permutations onto a standard Euro Pallet (more on that in a future post)



[tab title=”PE8 Demolition Charges”]

PE8 Demolition Charge Box



[tab title=”Sight Case “]

Sight Case


Weapons Case 1

Weapons Case 2


[tab title=”Weapons Case 3″]

Weapons Case 3

Weapons Case 4

Communications Equipment


[tab title=”Electrical”]

Equipment case

Hell-fire rocket transportation conatiner

Light Gun Ammunition


[tab title=”Medical”]

Medical Equipment

Timber case for ejector seat cartridges




I think it is interesting that the light gun image above shows the use of a moulded plastic case for the ammunition rather than the more traditional types and pallets, progress never stops though I guess.

To close the post, a look at a box, or is it a pallet?


The Cliplok system uses engineered plywood and and ingenious metal clip to create flat packed boxes that can also have integral forklift truck pockets so it is both a box and a pallet.

Cliplok Box
Cliplok Box

Cliplok have created a number of interesting solutions from this basic system including fuel bladder containers, ammunition boxes and a number of special to contents boxes.

Cliplok Helicopter Rotor Blade
Cliplok Helicopter Rotor Blade

Cliplok Fuel Bladder 01


[tab title=”Fuel Bladder 2″]

Cliplok Fuel Bladder 02

Cliplok = Ammunition


[tab title=”Ammunition 2″]

Cliplok - Ammunition Box

Cliplok 02


[tab title=”Cliplok 2″]

Cliplok 03

The rest of the series…

Part 1 – Introduction and General Principles

Part 2 – Pallets

Part 3 – Containers and Flatracks

Part 4 – Container and Flatrack Handling

Part 5 – Boxes

Part 6 – Air Transport Pallets and Containers

Part 7 – Air Despatch

Part 8 – Issues and Solutions for Pallets, Containers and Boxes

Part 9 – Trucks and Trailers

Part 10 – More Thoughts  on Trucks and Trailers

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10 Responses

  1. Years back I got the chance to visit Def Pkg when they were at Aquila Site Bromley. Another gem of in-house expertise now closed down and contracted out… some good pics of the vibration and noise test facilities after closure at

    To this day i recall the CEO briefing us that if 10% of through life costs for most spares was packaging (more for repairables) , why would you not be interested in it ?

  2. It’s something no-one really thinks about, but I’d agree with the above. You wouldn’t believe the prices of some of the STC we use. Some are 4 and 5 figure sums.

  3. Important topic. Has not been proven, but allegedly the regiment at Isandhlawana should have been able to defeat the zulus with their skill level and rate of fire… But the ammo boxes could not be cracked open at a rate to sustain what had been practised over and over again.

    No Empire left to embarrass, but similar repeats not welcome anyway.

  4. @TD

    I don’t know but well into 5 figures easy, maybe £100k+, wouldn’t surprise me. All you need is an NSN and a friendly stacker ;)


    I thought that was an urban myth?

  5. @Topman
    ‘But the ammo boxes could not be cracked open’

    ‘I thought that was an urban myth?’

    It is an urban myth, the boxes could be smashed open with the butt of the rifle and it was common practice to do so amongst the old and bold.

  6. I think you’ve missed an important bit of packaging. The introduction in the 1960s of screw top plastic tubes for mortar bombs and arty (& tank?) propelling charges. These were delivered in metal boxes or in the case of 155mm in the ULC (with shells in paperboard tubes). I think the US may still be using paperboard tubes for mortar bombs and steel tubes for 155mm propelling charges.

    H83 containers last well, I’ve still one of the original batch used for 5.56mm ammo and delivered as part of the UOR Armalite deal.

  7. Comment…Several things;, firstly Allan Webb & MPAS – it acts as a data manager uploading / down loading the SPIS Designs and runs the Expert (for Certification) course for the MOD. It also runs some web based training modules as does DA-CMT for MOD packaging. Secondly, there is a successor unit to DPkgA called DES IMOC SCP PKg – 2.5 persons instead of 35.
    As for STCC containers, of course they are expensive they are designed to protect very expensive kit – what would you use for a 2.5 Million item to protect, store and move around for its entire useful life?

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