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Special Report

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation From the Berlin Airlift to the Withdrawal from Kabul: Trends in Air Cargo Containers Air Cargo Containers for Now and the Next Generation Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation on Operation Making a Choice Between Air Cargo Containers for Low Intensity Conflict

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


Rapid Deployment Rapid deployment requires aircraft travel in many cases. During such

transportation issues have been resolved, allowing command to concen-

operations, your cargo – be it perishable, precious, vulnerable or e.g.

trate on planning the next step. VRR applies decades of experience with

inflammable – requires the appropriate care. VRR manufactures custom

military and civil operations with innovative engineering and manufacturing

built air cargo containers and pallets for Air Forces around the globe

solution to create practical, lightweight and durable end products.

with a relentless attention to detail. Just so military command knows

More info at www.vrr-aviation.com. VRR, out of the box, into the sky.

Unique Load Devices VRR head office | Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV | Stolwijkstraat 57 | 3079 DN Rotterdam | The Netherlands T +31 10 479 81 00 | F +31 10 479 54 78 | E info@vrr-aviation.com | I www.vrr-aviation.com


SPECIAL REPORT

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation From the Berlin Airlift to the Withdrawal from Kabul: Trends in Air Cargo Containers Air Cargo Containers for Now and the Next Generation Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation on Operation Making a Choice Between Air Cargo Containers for Low Intensity Conflict

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dubb Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Contents Foreword

2

Mary Dubb, Editor

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation

3

Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV - VRR

Air Transportable Containers NATO Seat Pallets Fire Containment Containers Company Information

From the Berlin Airlift to the Withdrawal from Kabul: Trends in Air Cargo Containers

6

Mary Dub, Editor

Historic Logistics Problems at Kandahar Airfield in 2011 Why Air Cargo Supply is so Important to the Sustainment of the ISAF forces in Afghanistan Logistics of the 2014 Drawdown

Air Cargo Containers for Now and the Next Generation

8

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Risk to Air Cargo Presented by al Qaeda The Implications of the Security Challenge for the Air Cargo Container Industry Hardened Blast-Proof Air Cargo Containers Financial Pressures to Improve Efficiency of Freight Plane Use Comfort Cabins on Military Transportation

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation on Operation

10

Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

Analysis of the Demand Environment Growth in MENA Facilities Intermodal Sustainment The Military Management of Containers Prioritising Cargo

Making a Choice Between Air Cargo Containers for Low Intensity Conflict

12

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Future Low Intensity Conflicts Will Rely on the ‘Use of Aerial Logistics’ Air Cargo Containers for Disaster Relief Low Velocity Parachutes for Delivery of Vital Supplies to Forward Operating Bases Finally, the First and Last Mile Concept

References 14

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Foreword

A

ir cargo containers are “the safe pair of

The third piece makes an appraisal of the

hands� that allow secure delivery of time-

upcoming developments in technology for

sensitive, fragile and high technology loads to

air cargo containers. Financial pressures to

their destination. Airfreight is a rapidly growing

improve efficiency and flexibility of use of cargo

business and its expansion has highlighted the

planes have resulted in ingenious designs for air

important role of the air cargo container industry.

cargo containers.

This Special Report opens with an article that

Effective organisation of supplies down the

examines the role of air transport containers and

final mile to the military user in foxhole or

how these can be used not only in the sphere of

communications centre is always a challenge.

aviation but also for road, sea and rail transport.

This is even truer in 2012 in a counter insurgency

It goes on to describe the flexibility of containers

war, like Afghanistan, where soldiers on operation

and how they can be adapted to carry either

need to be sustained from the air, while strategic

cargo or personnel. In this connection, an anti-

drawdown of materiel is taking place.

rattle system has been developed to reduce

How to make sound tactical choices between

noise that could be disturbing to passengers.

products for future counter insurgency warfare

The risk of fire is an ever-present problem and fire

or humanitarian relief is the theme of the final

containment containers have been developed in

article. The demands of supplying an airfreight-

which hazardous cargo such as lithium batteries,

dependent, high risk, diffuse frontline at operation

can be transported safely together with regular

tempo will be a continuing challenge to air cargo

cargo or luggage.

container manufacturers. However, their success in

Spanning the years from the 1948 Berlin Airlift,

responding flexibly to customer needs to produce

when products in sacks and bags were bundled

effective and economical designs will ensure their

out of planes, to the high tech but glitch prone

role in the future.

world of global military air cargo management, the second article reveals a realistic picture of the challenges faced by the industry.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

2 | www.defenceindustryreports.com


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation

Out of the box, into the sky.

Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV – VRR

The ABB mobility container is based around a military HCU6E (463L) type pallet base for acceptance in military and civil freighter aircraft. The containers required to be intermodal and have the ability to be operated on land with limited infrastructure. As such, winching rings have been installed at the lower area as well as lifting eyes on the roof section to ensure safe lifting of a fully loaded container.

W

hen military action is required, regardless of such action being intervention, humanitarian relief or else, these actions typically take place at areas other than the main warehouses and bases of Defense Material Organisations. Thus, both people and equipment require shipping to the particular area or theatre as necessary. As time is often a critical component for any action, air transport can be the answer when shipping over great distances or to remote areas. VRR offers a range of air transportable mobility containers. These mobility containers can be customized to meet mission specific requirements. Whilst the focus during development may be on air transport, aviation must comply with the most stringent requirements of all modes of transport. To this end, mobility containers offer a wide range of deployment capabilities. Road, sea and rail transport are not excluded from these products.

Air Transportable Containers The United Nations have recently taken delivery of air transportable mobility containers which

are referred to as ABB air cargo containers for the UN. These containers help in reducing load and offload times and provide storage and workspace when on site. In addition to being functional whilst being shipped in civil or military aircraft, these containers can be stacked two high and coupled to quickly make a semi-permanent encampment in remote areas. A mezzanine flooring system including stairs provides convenient access to the upper level. Containers that need to be intermodal can be operated on land with limited infrastructure. As such, winching rings have been installed at the pallet area as well as lifting eyes on the roof section to ensure safe lifting of a fully loaded container. The overall construction is robust; a rigid superstructure is constructed through the use of reinforced aluminium extrusions, while the framework is cladded with aluminium sandwich panels. Inside, there are multiple tiedown points and provisioning for demountable shelves. The shelves assist in organising goods – it would be possible to have a complete preloaded

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

As logistic commands are increasingly making use of commercial flights, either via chartered or scheduled flights, it is of vital importance that both military and commercial

Transporting people and cargo in one hold requires improved protection,should a fire occur. This container has much improved fire containment properties and a pragmatic, yet efficient fire extinguishing system.

aviation certification requirements are met.

mobility system which could be quickly dispatched in case of need. The interior allows various configurations with removable divider panels and adjustable shelves. A hazardous material panel allows access when needed during flight Obviously, doors and panels can be sealed or padlocked.

NATO Containers developed for NATO serve a different purpose. These containers were developed to allow a quick dispatch of spare parts for B737 and B757 aircraft. The NATO air cargo containers have the common footprint of 88 inches x 108 inches, the standard in military aviation, and can be shipped in commercial narrow-bodied aircraft. A bespoke interior with access doors on both front and aft provides quick access to an otherwise sealed and theft-proof container.

Seat Pallets VRR offers military transport aircraft the possibility of having various palletized seating configurations to quickly transform transport aircraft into passenger aircraft. Various configurations are possible; pallet footprint, pallet layout, interfacing arrangements depending on particular aircraft, can all be developed to customer demand. Palletized seating solutions have been developed for transport of VIP passengers such as high-ranking officers or for troops, as well as for working stations for surveillance aircraft. 4 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

An innovative Anti-Rattle System (ARS) reduces the traditional play between the cargo loading system and the pallet itself to prevent the pallet floating when meeting required clearances. Even with minimal floating, this could still be disturbing for the passengers. Galley monuments, pedestals and cabinets can all be integrated in the design to provide storage space for auxiliary e quipment or simply to provide walkways for passengers and crew.

Fire Containment Containers Much has been said about the risks of having lithium batteries on board aircraft. However, as normal as these household items may seem, they are the cause of various incidents in aviation, as they can catch fire and are very difficult to extinguish should a fire arise. Unfortunately, the standard fire extinguishing systems on board aircraft do not suffice in putting out fires resulting from lithium batteries. In addition, when transporting troops and cargo together in one hold, air cargo regulations may be breached. Regulations for transport of passengers differ vastly compared to the requirements for transport of cargo in general, and on fire precautions in particular. Cargo and passengers must be separated and whereas this occurs where there are different cargo holds, in certain aircraft configurations this is simply not feasible or cost effective. VRR has developed various fire containment containers in which either lithium batteries or


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Out of the box, into the sky.

The ABJ container is based around a military 463L pallet as it will mainly travel aboard military aircraft. However, one of the further requirements mandated a proper fit with transport per civil B747 and A300 freighter aircraft – the ABJ containers are strongly contoured to allow side-by-side loading in the latter aircraft.

regular cargo or luggage can be shipped, when no separate cargo holds are available. Depending on the size and load, these containers may feature fireproofed sandwich panels, a fireproof fabric or a special coating – all of which meet the toughest aviation requirements, based on a kerosene fuel burn with temperatures reaching nearly 1000 degrees Celsius. VRR provides Airbus with crewrest containers which have to comply with the same requirements – rather than shipping cargo in the passenger hold, the crew spends rest periods in the cargo hold. VRR has well over a decade of experience of manufacturing these crewrest containers for Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft. Recent work in this area includes the supply of a semi-permanent storage facilities on the rear ramp of Airbus C-295M aircraft. Some fire containment containers have been provided with a fire suppressing system to facilitate combi transport. Rapid deployment is becoming increasingly more important and the military command requires that everything is in place to achieve such rapid deployment. Although not every eventuality can be planned for, much can be prepared in advance to facilitate a smooth and fast roll out when required.

Company Information VRR’s air transportable containers and pallets fulfil numerous vital functions in logistics for

military (rapid deployment) forces. Regardless of whether supplying a container or pallet, the final product must be lightweight, mobile and easy-to-use for storing and transporting supplies and other goods. As logistic commands are increasingly making use of commercial flights, either via chartered or scheduled flights, it is of vital importance that both military and commercial aviation certification requirements are met. This is often overlooked in the logistical process which could put safety at risk. What sets VRR apart from other container manufacturers, is the flexibility in adapting to customer requirements whilst ensuring airworthiness. Airworthiness which, and this must be stressed, is received through design and production approvals of the governing airworthiness organisations such as EASA and the FAA. VRR supplies a variety of air cargo products to Air Forces, NATO, airlines and to airframe manufacturers such as Airbus or Tier-1 suppliers. Head Office is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where sales, engineering, certification and production is based. Maintenance of air cargo and catering equipment is provided through our facility close to Amsterdam Airport. A sales office in Singapore supports our Asian clientele. VRR holds design, production and maintenance EASA airworthiness approvals along with an AS9100 quality approval.

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

From the Berlin Airlift to the Withdrawal from Kabul: Trends in Air Cargo Containers Mary Dub, Editor

The handling methods of the military on operation require extraordinarily resilient containers, as anecdotal evidence of their handling reveals.

I

t is June 1948 and at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport Berliners are helping unload sacks of coal and flour from American planes to feed and fuel the besieged city during the Russian Cold War blockade. Contrast this scene with June 2012 at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan where American-led ISAF forces unload palletised units of electronics and thermostatically controlled medical supplies by forklift truck. Through the bitter winter of 1948/9 the airlift of food and fuel allowed the West to defy the Russian Cold War pressure to encircle and occupy Berlin. In Kandahar today the strategic airlift of high technology supplies allows the ISAF campaign to secure and mentor the Afghan National Forces to take over the task of working for the government of Afghanistan after drawdown of Western forces in 2014. The air cargo container options for the commander of logistics in 2012 are highly specialised to provide protection against the rigours of transportation by air across the globe.

Historic Logistics Problems at Kandahar Airfield in 2011 But the supply of food and fuel for a modern coalition of armies is never without its glitches. For the commander of logistics in 2011/2, the management of air cargo containers at Kandahar Airfield remains a challenge however good the quality of the air cargo containers. Indeed, the handling methods of the military on operation require extraordinarily resilient containers, as anecdotal evidence of their handling reveals. Writing in December 2011 Staff Sergeant Joseph Radermacher of the 43d Sustainment Brigade’s support operations supply and services section (SPO S&S) described the situation on Kandahar Airfield. “When the 43d SPO S&S took over operation of this SSA (Supply Support Activity), it found 6 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

an operation suffering from several years of neglect and mismanagement by previously assigned units and contracted companies. The extent of the problems at the SSA was monumental, including more than 8 months of backlogged items needing to be received, poor container management, and storage areas that had never been properly maintained. Pilferage was rampant, and security was an issue. Customer issue lanes were filled with items that had been there for weeks.”1

Why Air Cargo Supply is so Important to the Sustainment of the ISAF forces in Afghanistan Captain Owen A. Rose, the transportation officer of the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during its deployment to Afghanistan, picks up the story. First, Afghanistan is a landlocked nation surrounded by high mountain ranges. Road transportation is highly problematic: “During our deployment from May 2010 to May 2011, we completed more than 400 convoys that moved more than 10,000 pieces of equipment. These movements were primarily executed using military-escorted HNTs (Host Nation Trucks). This in itself posed significant problems because the poor quality and unreliability of the trucks exposed our convoys to dangerous situations on the road. Some movements were accomplished using palletized load systems, but their use was restricted to transporting munitions, palletized sensitive cargo, and 20-foot containers. Eight carrier companies operated under the host nation contract. They had varying rates of reliability, and none was particularly distinguished in the quality of its performance. The carriers used many local drivers, who frequently switched between carrier companies and had no loyalty to any one carrier. The quality of the trucks supplied by the carriers under the host-nation contract was deplorable in every sense of the word. The


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Out of the box, into the sky.

When transporting highly explosive Liquid Oxygen in vast quantities, additional anti-ballistic protection was requested to ensure a safe operation. Rather than permanently integrating heavy anti-ballistic panels into the aircraft, ANTI-BALLISTIC MATERIAL WAS INTERGRATED INTO A DEDICATED PALLET.

age of the fleet and the general condition of the trucks resulted in frequent breakdowns during missions. The rate of breakdowns became such a problem that the battalion instituted an internal quality assurance/quality control program for the trucks. This initially caused a mass outcry from the carriers because 80 per cent of their trucks failed the checks performed according to the guidelines in the performance work statement.” 2 Furthermore, in some areas road transport is subject to attack by insurgents: “Driving the trucks through some areas was dangerous, and at times some drivers refused to travel certain routes. The fear of being identified as sympathetic to the United States and labelled as such by the Taliban, coupled with the bribes being paid to Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army officials at checkpoints, contributed greatly to the unwillingness of the drivers to travel along certain routes.” Not only was the security of the convoy itself at risk, but the content of the convoy was subject to pilfering: “Equipment accountability has always been a challenge. On a few occasions during our rotation, sensitive items were reported missing

from escorted vehicles; in a couple of cases, whole vehicles were missing. All of the missing vehicles were eventually recovered, but the missing sensitive items continued to be a mystery. In response to this, the battalion convoy standard operating procedures were amended to require that customers remove sensitive items from vehicles before shipping.”3 The speed and directness of air cargo offers obvious advantages.

Logistics of the 2014 Drawdown Given the hazards and drawbacks of the road journey into and out of Afghanistan, the withdrawal of the materiel already in place in Afghanistan and its return to the West is highly problematic. And while the drawdown is being organised, ISAF troops are still on the ground in need of sustainment and supplies to complete their security task. The continuing need for high quality air cargo containers to move important critical supplies safely to their final customer, the soldier on the ground in Forward Operating Bases, continues to be a high priority, as does the longer term need to dismantle and remove materiel from Afghanistan back to bases in the West.

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Air Cargo Containers for Now and the Next Generation Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

It is difficult to categorise the diversity of air cargoes that are carried, but unique scientific instruments, highly specialized tools and equipment, and even thoroughbred horses are a few examples sometimes quoted.

T

he security environment in which air cargo containers are currently marketed has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. The aftershock of the bomb in the cargo hold of Pan Am flight 103 that was destroyed over Lockerbie, in Scotland on Wednesday, 21 December 1988 during the Libyan civil war is a case in point. The political impact of the bomb resulted in calls for screening of air cargo travelling on passenger planes and cargo aircraft. The new awareness of the need for security and hardened containers post-Lockerbie was heightened in the light of 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission report for the United States Congress. And the pressure for high levels of security for air cargo has not let up in recent years. One example makes the point: “On October 29, 2010, intelligence and law enforcement agencies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and in the United Kingdom discovered explosive devices concealed in packages shipped as air cargo bound for the United States. According to media reports, the explosives were not detected by initial screening, but were discovered upon re-examination after authorities received a tipoff from a member of the al Qaeda terrorist organization who had turned himself over to officials in Saudi Arabia prior to the incident.” 4

The Risk to Air Cargo Presented by al Qaeda According to the report to Congress, the devices originated in Yemen and were believed to be the work of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This is the same terrorist group that is also believed to have been responsible for the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound passenger airliner on December 25, 2009. The group had also claimed responsibility for the crash of a UPS cargo airplane near Dubai on September 3, 2010, although the initial investigation of that crash did not uncover any evidence of a bomb. The devices found in the incidents and used 8 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

in the December 2009 attempt contained penta erythiritol tetra nitrate (PETN), a powerful explosive, in quantities considered sufficient by explosives experts to cause catastrophic damage to a large airliner if detonated during flight.5

The Implications of the Security Challenge for the Air Cargo Container Industry The call for and need for high levels of screening and security have been difficult for the air cargo container industry. While the air cargo industry and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have argued for the implementation of risk-based approaches, Congress mandated 100% screening of all cargo placed on passenger aircraft using approved methods by August 2010. This has been another issue for the air cargo container industry. But container manufacturers have risen to the challenge providing a host of different types of containers to meet the needs of very specific cargoes. It is difficult to categorise the diversity of air cargoes that are carried, but unique scientific instruments, highly specialized tools and equipment, and even thoroughbred horses are a few examples sometimes quoted.

Hardened Blast-Proof Air Cargo Containers One manufacturer has produced hardened air cargo containers that meet the need to be blast proof yet are light and resilient. The patented design uses DuPont Kevlar™ and proprietary manufacturing techniques to satisfy the very stringent requirements for blast resistance. The result is a lighter weight container, which can be used for baggage, cargo or mail, and can be easily used alongside other conventional containers in an airline’s fleet. “We are now developing other blast-resistant container designs, based on similar technology for use on both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft. Telair’s Hardened Unit Load Device (HULD) has been tested and certified to


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Out of the box, into the sky.

These ABY air cargo containers were designed to transport B707 AWACS aircraft spare parts to facilitate local maintenance in remote areas. The containers are preloaded and can remain on standby as mobile workshops or storage for any operation.

withstand a blast of comparable force to that believed to have caused the Lockerbie disaster.� Axel H.R. Hauner, President, Telair International GmbH, said HULD technology could provide passengers with enhanced security.6 Other new air cargo container fabrics have been developed to enhance the resilience of the container and its ease of handling by forklift trucks. DyneemaŽ has been introduced for cargo containers in an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE), which is 15 times stronger than steel, which means it meets all major aviation regulations.7

Financial Pressures to Improve Efficiency of Freight Plane Use Security pressures on air cargo container manufacturers are not the only concern. Financial pressures in a slower growing Western market have also had to be met. Air cargo container manufacturers have responded by producing pallets that allow military and civilian cargo planes to be converted quickly and effectively to carry military and civilian passengers as well as goods. VRR has a product that allows long-haul international flights to carry two flight crews so the offduty flight crew can use containerised crew rest compartments to sleep during the flight. Using the same intention to enhance

flexibility, with attention to the economical use of air cargo planes, palletised seating has been designed for military and civilian use. VRR offers various palletized seating configurations for tactical transport or commercial freighter aircraft. Seat pallets have been developed with operators, conversion companies and air forces in mind for civil and military applications. An innovative anti-rattle system (ARS) reduces the traditional play between cargo loading system and the pallet itself to prevent the pallet floating due to required clearances. And the seat pallets for regular use and VIPs offer static load capability up to 9G.

Comfort Cabins on Military Transportation VRR also have a container that offers comfort cabins for the C-130. The thinking behind the design is that high profile passenger transport requires a different seating layout than the traditional longitudinal seating in the C-130. So a set of comfort cabins for direct positioning on a 463L cargo loading system has been designed. The cabins significantly reduce noise levels and provide comfortable air travel using business class quality seats. Although the design was originally developed for the C-130, it can be converted to other aircraft operating 463L cargo loading systems.

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation on Operation Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

The improvement in airfreight is not widespread, with weakness in European and Chinese consumer confidence keeping demand for airfreighted commodities down in those regions.

T

he growing use of civilian contractors for military air cargo transportation means that the civilian and military air cargo markets are inextricably mixed, although there will always be a unique military operation as well as the civilian one. The IATA cargo chart book provides a useful assessment of the changing world market for air cargo containers and global trade trends, based on the assumption that demand for air cargo containers is dependent on demand for air cargo in general. Beyond the Western world the trend seems optimistic. Downward pressure on cargo profitability eased slightly in Q2 following an improvement in air freight demand, a small rise in yields, and a decline in oil prices, the IATA report noted. Freight load factors bottomed out at the end of 2011, along with a hesitant and narrowly based upturn in demand – worldwide FTKs (Freight Tonne Kilometres) have expanded by 2% in April compared to the lows of Q4. Improvements in business confidence and growth in world trade have supported this expansion, as has the absence of an overhang in business inventories. However, the improvement in airfreight is not widespread, with weakness in European and Chinese consumer confidence keeping demand for airfreighted commodities down in those regions. Furthermore, expected increases in belly-hold capacity are likely to continue to make asset utilization a challenge. Looking forward, cargo heads surveyed in April 2012 expect downward pressure to ease on cargo yields over the next 12 months; but risks associated with the Eurozone remain a threat to this improved outlook.

Analysis of the Demand Environment The all important demand environment is experiencing a mild upturn: the demand environment for air cargo is showing signs of improvement, as the IATA Q2 report put it. The Purchasing Manager’s Index started to 10 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

turn upward at the end of 2011, and has now been signalling modest expansion in business confidence for 5 consecutive months. World trade has continued to rise, albeit at a slightly slower pace in Q1. However, this optimism is qualified by concern about all-important shipments of semi conductors. It is also important to note that there has been an increase in capacity. Freight load factors have turned up, after bottoming out at the end of 2011. Improvements in airfreight demand have helped support load factors, as have limited increases in the freighter fleet. However, capacity has still been added to the market via increases in wide body aircraft, particularly in Q2. Most importantly, there has been an easing on yields: downward pressure is now expected to ease on cargo yields over the next 12 months, after significant weakness at the start of 2012.8

Growth in MENA Facilities While the demand for air cargo containers and cargo traffic remains slow, in key areas of the Middle East and North Africa investment in capability is evident. In Dubai, the new Al Maktoum International Airport, a 30 minute drive outside the city, is planned to carry a significant growth in passenger traffic, but more importantly to become a global cargo hub linked to Jebel Ali Sea Port. In addition to the dramatic growth in passenger traffic, Dubai’s embryonic cargo terminal is also growing at an impressive rate. “Logistics will always remain one of Dubai’s key sectors and its key strength,” says Ayesha Sabawala at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “With the gradual shift in trade from West to East, I don’t think Dubai can afford not to continue to improve on its logistics capabilities. Moreover, the air cargo terminal is linked to the world’s sixth-largest container terminal, Jebel Ali Sea Port, which helps cement Dubai’s role as an ultra-efficient commodities trading hub that links Africa with Asia. As key 21st century markets like China, Africa, India and


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

While the volume of traffic, inspections and many other factors are critical to effective load management, choosing what should be of the highest priority is possibly the most significant job.

Latin America grow, Dubai’s airport infrastructure allows it to maintain its centuries old status as a key trading crossroad.”9

Intermodal Sustainment Intermodal transfer of containers from seaports to airplanes is a critical part of the sustainment of the forces in Afghanistan, because of the difficulties of road transportation access through the mountains to key military bases. Captain Christopher Sheehan puts it succinctly when he describes the process of supply from boat, to plane to foxhole: “Afghanistan presents a transportation nightmare because it is a landlocked nation and it is surrounded by nations with less-thansecure lines of communication, to put it lightly. Since Afghanistan has no seaport of debarkation and very limited and unsecure overland transportation, most supplies, troops, and equipment come into the country by strategic airlift. Planning to deploy any brigade into combat presents many logistics challenges, but deploying a maintenance heavy aviation

brigade into three different airfields, with further support to be provided to at least six forward bases, presents a near impossibility.”

The Military Management of Containers

Out of the box, into the sky.

As always with logistics and military logistics in particular, the devil is in the detail or in this particular case in the efficient locking and labelling of the containers and ensuring that they can be tracked and sealed. “We found ourselves short on zip ties, bolt cutters, one-time locks, document protectors, and duct tape”. Although mundane, all of these items were crucial to preparing cargo for air load. “The zip ties were used to affix paperwork and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. The bolt cutters became important because we had to open all of our containers so that the Air Force joint inspection (JI) team could certify our loads. The extra one-time locks were then used to reseal all containers. If your unit is involved in intermodal operations, after completing load certification you will be required to affix pallet identifier forms (Air Force Form 2279) to all equipment. To ensure that this paperwork stays intact, you should use document protectors and duct tape. You also should use duct tape when you mark your equipment’s centre of balance and identify its gross weight during the JI process.” It is ordinary non-specialist products like the duct tape and bolt cutters that are the most important tools in the logistics process!

Prioritising Cargo While the volume of traffic, inspections and many other factors are critical to effective load management, choosing what should be of the highest priority is possibly the most significant job. “One of the main tasks in moving equipment can be determining cargo priority. Although UMOs should be able to execute movement operations with minimal oversight, this does not mean that they should plan movement operations without the commander’s guidance. The prioritization of cargo, or which equipment needs to be in a theatre first, should be something closely scrutinized by the entire chain of command to ensure that the right equipment arrives at the right place at the right time.”10

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

Making a Choice Between Air Cargo Containers for Low Intensity Conflict Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Logistics support can be much more flexible by using helicopters and airplanes to support logistics operations and bypass enemies HCU-6/e pallet

threatening logistics routes on the ground.

A

s warfare changes and low intensity conflict becomes the dominant type of conflict for which modern militaries prepare, logistics for low intensity conflict and their associated demand for strategic airlift and flexible air cargo containers have become a priority. The Israeli analyst Eyal Ziv and his co-authors, Dr. Haim Shnaiderman and Dr. Hanan Tell make incisive comments from recent Israeli, American and Soviet experience in their book on Logistics in Asymmetric Conflicts. Their observations are relevant to the air cargo container industry. First, most of the conflicts were operations against insurgents and terrorist organizations not sovereign nations. Secondly, most asymmetric conflicts11 were nonlinear and did not feature any real front lines. So logistics forces were typically caught in the line of fire and were sometimes targeted by the enemy. In some situations, the civilian population also received humanitarian support from military logistics forces. Importantly, the militaries had to adopt new concepts and tactics and use unconventional logistics tools. For example,

12 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

water supply was often a problem and could not be supplied by road, so bottles of water had to be delivered by air. Finally, most conflicts featured close-to-combat medical coverage where the medics needed supply and rapid evacuation – what is sometimes called ‘scoop and run’.

Future Low Intensity Conflicts Will Rely on the ‘Use of Aerial Logistics’ A key feature of low intensity conflicts (LIC) was the high tempo of operations and the need for immediate solutions and therefore “use of aerial logistics”. Most LICs are executed in an environment in which threats to aircraft are relatively low and usually there is no shortage of aerial platforms for logistics functions such as supply and medical evacuations. Therefore, logistics support can be much more flexible by using helicopters and airplanes to support logistics operations and bypass enemies threatening logistics routes on the ground.12 An emerging theme of their book is the repetition of the need for timeliness,


SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

The Afghans now depend instead on air transport by the US-led coalition, at a time when the U.S. is working to prepare its Afghan counterparts to manage their own security affairs. speed and flexibility in the use of air support for troops involved in conflict or disaster relief. These themes point to the value of air cargo container manufacturers that can tailor flexible solutions for air cargo to be taken to wherever the frontline appears to be. VRR’s flexible helicopter pallet seems an ideal example of a container responding to the needs of the military to use aerial logistics operations flexibly with simplicity and timeliness.

Air Cargo Containers for Disaster Relief A superb example of air cargo container flexibility for humanitarian or disaster relief is VRR’s MGX container. This container for the telecom industry allows everything that might be needed to restore networks and service to be supplied in one critical container. Another example of a container with a strong future is the cool container made by Envirotainer for highly sensitive health care products. This container allows the sensitive product to be stored at a constant temperature despite changes to ambient temperature during transportation. For example, when flight delays occurred due to poor weather, the container was stored in a warehouse and connected to the mains while

awaiting the next available flight. No other precaution was necessary to protect its sensitive and valuable cargo as the RAP e2 electrical heating and cooling container only needed electrical power to run, either from its own internal batteries or from the power grid. Over several days the container kept the temperature at the desired level before it was shipped when improved weather conditions permitted flights to resume.13

Out of the box, into the sky.

Low Velocity Parachutes for Delivery of Vital Supplies to Forward Operating Bases Afghan terrain is so hostile to troop sustainment by road that air drops of critical supplies, food, gas and ammunition are frequently used. Low velocity drops below about 1,200 feet are valuable because they do not need a more expensive high-altitude GPS-guided parachute system like JPADS.14 However, the use of aerial supply to ISAF troops in Afghanistan may be short-lived – by 2014 US troops will have handed over to Afghan National Forces. But it is highly likely that Afghan National Forces use of air cargo solutions will present a more mixed picture. In May 2012, it was reported that the fleet of 15 C-27A cargo planes that is meant to provide the logistics backbone for the Afghan military, is now “non-mission capable”. The Afghans now depend instead on air transport by the US-led coalition, at a time when the U.S. is working to prepare its Afghan counterparts to manage their own security affairs.15 The absence of sustained good maintenance and a supply of spare parts have exacerbated the problem.

Finally, the First and Last Mile Concept In logistics the cliché has always been that the most difficult job in the total process is to achieve the first mile from the supplier and the last mile to the customer, whether it is the soldier in a foxhole or a civilian running an information network in a disaster area. In the high tempo environment of the 2014 drawdown from Afghanistan, which has been a prolonged but intense counter insurgency conflict, the ingenuity of air cargo container engineers to produce solutions to emerging problems to keep the high technology dependent soldier fighting tomorrow’s battles will be a demanding task.

Unique Load Devices VRR Van Riemsdijk Rotterdam BV The Netherlands E info@vrr-aviation.com I www.vrr-aviation.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: AIR CARGO CONTAINERS FOR MILITARY TRANSPORTATION

References: 1

 Army Supply and Sustainment: Vol 43 Issue 6: Supply and Services Operations in Afghanistan by Staff Sergeant Joseph Radermacher http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/NovDec11/Supply_Services_Operations.html Army Sustainment Professional Bulletin of Army Sustainment May/June 2012 Logistics Movements in a Changing Afghan Environment by Captain Owen A. Rose. Captain Owen A. Rose is completing the Engineer Captains Career Course. He was the transportation officer of the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during its deployment to Afghanistan. He has an associate’s degree in biomedical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in construction management and is pursuing a master’s degree in project management from the University of Alaska at Anchorage and in geological engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

2 

3

Army Sustainment Professional Bulletin of Army Sustainment May/June 2012 Logistics Movements in a Changing Afghan Environment by Captain Owen A. Rose http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41515.pdf Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress Bart Elias Specialist in Aviation Policy December 2, 2010

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http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41515.pdf Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress Bart Elias Specialist in Aviation Policy December 2, 2010

Award-winning blast resistant cargo container in Dubai air show spotlight United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, July 15 - 2003 at 10:57 Press Release http://www.telair.com/02-01News/02Feb8-A.html

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http://www.dyneema.com/applications/composites-and-laminates/aviation.aspx Next generation cargo containers. The Dyneema® brand

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Cargo E-Chartbook Q2 2012 Overview http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/Documents/economics/eChartbook-Q1-2012.pdf

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/business-15717729 Dubai Airshow: Dubai emerges as global aviation hub, 14 November 11 09:31 By Jorn Madslien Business reporter, BBC News, Dubai Airshow

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Army sustainment Volume 44 Issue 33 May/June 2012 Boat to Plane to Foxhole: Seven Key Steps to Intermodal Operations by Captain Christopher Sheehan Logistics in Asymmetric Conflicts by Eyal Ziv An Israeli and his colleagues examine several contemporary operations to determine what characterizes logistics in low-intensity conflicts Logistics in Asymmetric Conflicts by Eyal Ziv An Israeli and his colleagues examine several contemporary operations to determine what characterizes logistics in low-intensity conflicts

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12 Jan 2012 Vol 34/6: Envirotainer’s next generation e-containers for healthcare products

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US Military Ordering Low-Velocity Cargo Parachutes Apr 26, 2012 15:58 EDT

Updated May 25, 2012, 10:28 a.m. E http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304065704577424411417912118.html Maintenance Snafu Grounds Afghan Fleet Air Force Planes Provided by the U.S. Have Been Out of Service for Months, Hindering Development of Kabul’s Military By NATHAN HODGE

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Special Report – Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation

Special Report – Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Air Cargo Containers for Military Transportation