The NATO standard 1×1.2m pallet is the foundation on which defence logistics rest and yet handling them in forward locations is generally devoid of any investment. Instead, we rely on breaking them down into smaller loads for onward distribution.
The humble General Service trailer is still in widespread use, we should combine the two, improving flexibility and maximising investment. The current general service trailer can fit a pallet, but it has no ability to self-load and unload. It is also fair that they are used to carry a miscellany of items, not multiples of the same thing.
The quad bike trailers from Logic are slightly too small for a full-size pallet and again, don’t usually carry homogenous loads. They are also payload limited to approximately 150kg.
We no longer have the ATMP in service, and with them went the Self Loading Pallet Trailers.
Pallets can be for liquids, fuel or potable water. For fuel, pallet tanks can be self bunded and come fitted with basic dispensing equipment, water can be carried in a rigid tank or collapsible bladder.
More modern systems such as JMICs can also be used.
If we take the ability to lift a single pallet as the baseline, and we don’t want complex mechanical, electrical or hydraulic arrangements a simple forklift trailer can be used, something like in the video below for ATVs and quad bikes.
For more substantial loads at road speeds, manufacturers include EHS, Lift n Go and Perimeter Security, the latter also produces an adjustable version that can be used for small containers and concertina wire coils. The Dutch company Pallet Trailer produces a number of models for road use, the largest able to lift and carry a 1.8-tonne pallet.
The principle of operation s the same for all of these, reverse onto a pallet load, align the forks, lift, lock and drive away. The lift mechanism can be manual or electrical.
The Haulit Trailer takes a different approach, using a tilting load bed and rollers
This is perhaps quicker into use but relies on some mechanical handling to load, and is maybe too large for this application.
What about the ability to just throw multiple things into a conventional trailer, easy, just use a pallet box with sidewalls.
The British Army is reducing in size, it should squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of the force that remains, wherever it can.
By utilising the standard pallet footprint, various different types of load can be carried and quickly deployed by relatively small vehicles or even UGVs, not just pallets. Imagine a small UGV dropped off by an ATV, a quad pack of VLS ATGW, a non-explosive entry tool kit for assault pioneers in an urban setting, or just a collection of defence stores, the possibilities are endless.
Expanding the utility and versatility of a humble trailer, is not a bad place for a quick win.