Air Force to update support equipment that will help prevent ground crew fatigue

  • Published
  • By Brian Brackens
  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – The U.S. Air Force is in the process of modernizing the ground support equipment used to service, maintain and load aircraft between flights.

Currently, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Support Equipment and Vehicles Division is leading efforts to develop and field two new bomb loaders and a multi-capable power system.

The Military Bomb Loader or MBL-15e is rated as a 3,000-pound loader.  It is designed for munitions loading in F-15, F-16, F-22, F-35, and any future fighter class aircraft.  
“The MBL-15e is an electric powered unit and is a smaller size/profile unit that can fit in spaces that our current bomb loaders will not fit,” said Tahrea Grant, chief engineer for the Support Equipment and Vehicles Division. “The unit is remote controlled, which gives the operator the ability to walk around the unit during loading versus having to ‘drive’ the unit from a seated position.” 

With the electric manual operated lift truck or EMOLT, also a bomb loader, ground crews will be able to move equipment with much less manual labor.  The electric drive motors and electric boom lift motor will eliminate the manual labor and Airmen fatigue involved with loading. 
The EMOLT is limited to F-22 and some F-35 loading operations. 

Lastly the division is working to develop and field the MC-PAAU Multi-Capable Power & Air ACE Unit, which will combine the capability of generating 400 Hz electrical power, 270VDC electrical power, conditioned air for cooling aircraft electronics, area lighting, and convenience power for connection of power tools and computers in one piece of equipment. 
The unit will reduce the need for 3-4 pieces of equipment that was previously required to perform the same functions.  This reduces the overall weight and pallet positions when transporting this equipment.    
“Updating our ground support equipment is vitally important,” added Grant. “The newer technology is more efficient, generates cleaner power, and allows us to be able to support 5th generation aircraft which in some cases was not possible with the older legacy systems.”

The new bomb loaders and multi-capable power system are currently being tested.

Approximately 1000 MBL-15e’s, 50 electric manual operated lift trucks and more than 100 multi-capable power systems are expected to be fielded to Air Force units by 2035.