Palletized load system

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Palletized load system on Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck

The Palletized Load System (PLS) is a logistics supply program that entered service in the United States Army in 1993. It performs line haul (long distance), local haul (short distance), unit resupply, and other missions in the tactical environment to support modernized and highly mobile combat units. It provides rapid movement of combat configured loads of ammunition and all classes of supply, shelters and containers.


The system consists of a prime mover truck (the "tractor") with an integral self-loading and unloading capability, a payload trailer (M1076), and demountable cargo beds, referred to as flatracks. The PLS prime mover truck carries its payloads on its demountable flatrack cargo beds, or inside 8×8×20 foot International Organization for Standardization (ISO) intermodal containers, or shelters. The PLS prime mover truck comes in two mission-oriented configurations: the M1074 and the M1075. The M1074 is equipped with a variable reach Material Handling Crane (MHC) to support forward-deployed artillery units. The M1075, without MHC, is used in conjunction with the M1076 trailer in support of transportation line haul missions. The M1076 trailer, capable of carrying payloads up to 16.5 short tons, is equipped with a flatrack that is interchangeable between truck and trailer. The tractor and trailer form a self-contained system that loads and unloads its cargo without the need for forklifts or other material handling equipment. Without leaving the cab, the driver can load or unload the truck in less than one minute, and both truck and trailer in less than five minutes.

PLS moving cross-country

Two additional pieces of equipment enhance PLS flexibility. The M3 containerized roll-in/out platform (CROP) is an A-frame type flatrack which fits inside a 20 ft (6.1 m) ISO container. A container handling unit (CHU) enables PLS to pick up and transport ISO containers without using a flatrack. Flatracks and CROP are interchangeable between PLS and the HEMTT-LHS.

The PLS prime mover features a central tire inflation system that significantly improves off-road mobility. Current NATO agreements require PLS to maintain interoperability with comparable British, German and French systems through the use of a common flatrack.

PLS is a major enabler of the Army’s drive to achieve a distribution-based logistics system. The PLS-Enhanced (PLS-E) program procures the Movement Tracking System, which provides a multitude of tactical wheeled vehicles with Global Positioning System capability and two-way digital messaging. The MTS enables the commander to track logistics assets over the range of the battle space. The two-way messaging allows redirection of logistics assets as needs develop.

Different modules give the PLS various abilities, including concrete mixing, road paving and water dispersion. Engines are up to 600 hp Caterpillar or MTU Detroit Diesel. The US Army has ordered 700.[1]

Operational use[edit]

First used in Bosnia by logistical units of the 1st Infantry Division. Used for distributing supplies from central logistic point to outlying basecamps. It has also been used extensively from the very start of Operation Iraqi Freedom to haul supply containers, loose cargo and damaged vehicles between camps in Iraq and from ports in Kuwait to camps in every corner of Iraq and back again, as well as Kosovo and Afghanistan.[1]

On 19 June 2015 Oshkosh Defense announced the company had been awarded a five year requirements contract by the U.S. Army to Recapitalize its Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV). The potential value of the contract is $780 million and it covers an estimated 1,800 FHTVs. All work performed under the contract will be completed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with deliveries occurring from 2015 to 2019. Under the contract, in addition to Palletized Load System (PLS) trucks, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) will be Recapitalized to the latest model configuration and the same zero-mile, zero-hour condition as new production vehicles. The contract also includes the production of approximately 1,000 PLS trailers. Oshkosh has worked with the Army to restore more than 12,000 heavy vehicles since 1995.[2]

Through recapitalization, used vehicles are returned to Oshkosh Defense, stripped to the frame rails and completely rebuilt to like-new condition. Recapitalized vehicles are assembled on the same production line as new vehicles, and put through the same performance tests and inspection procedures as new vehicles. The vehicles also receive the latest technology and safety upgrades and are delivered with a new bumper-to-bumper warranty.[2]

Technical description[edit]

  • Curb weight: 55,000 lb (25,000 kg) includes flatrack
  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): 88,000 lb (40,000 kg)
  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR):137,520 lb (62,380 kg)
  • Truck payload: 16.5 short tons (14,969 kg)
  • Trailer payload: 16.5 short tons (14,969 kg)
  • Truck length: 431 inches (10.9 m)
  • Trailer length: 327.4 inches (8.32 m) (includes trailer tongue, with flatrack)
  • Truck width: 96 inches (2.4 m)
  • Trailer width: 95.7 inches (2.43 m)
  • Truck height: 128 inches (3.3 m)
  • Flatrack dimensions: 8 ft × 20 ft (2.4 m × 6.1 m)
  • Fuel capacity: 100 gal (379 liters) 185 gal with optional second tank
  • Engine type: 500 hp (370 kW) V8 Detroit Diesel (8V92)
  • Transmission: Allison 6-speed automatic (5-speed forward, 1 reverse)
  • Transfer case: Oshkosh 2-speed with lockable planetary differential
  • Range: 300 mi (480 km)
  • Fording capability: 48 inches (1.2 m)
  • Air transportability: C-5A, C-17 aircraft
  • Cab: 2 person
  • Max speed: 62 mph(100 km/h)
  • Axle configuration: 10 x 10 (5 axles) full-time all-wheel drive
  • Axles: AxleTech with diff. lock and planetary hubs
  • Crane: 5,400 lb (2,450 kg)
  • Central tire inflation: 4 preset selections HWY • CC • MSS • EMERG


Other users[edit]

There are other users in addition to the US Army, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Garvey, William. PLS, today's go-anywhere caisson Aviation Week. Accessed: 9 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Oshkosh Defense Awarded Contract to Recapitalize U.S. Army’s Heavy Tactical Vehicles". 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army document "Palletized Load System (PLS) Fact File United States Army".