By Mr. Wayne Lovely, Military Test Plans Analyst, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers are airdrop testing a small forklift system, making way for movement of large amounts of equipment and supplies quickly in austere battlefield conditions.
Airdrop operations of the Light Capability Rough Terrain Forklift 5K II (LCRTF 5K II) demonstrated its operational effectiveness and suitability for low-velocity airdrop within current cargo aerial delivery doctrine when deployed from U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 cargo aircraft.
“The LCRTF 5K II is being tested for a number of reasons to include operating over rough terrain once being airdropped from an aircraft,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ross Martin, LCRFT 5K II Test Noncommissioned Officer, with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.
The primary mission of units equipped with the LCRTF 5K II is to load and unload palletized supplies, including ammunition, from International Standards Organization shipping containers and tactical vehicles, to move supplies across the beach and rough terrain, and transfer loads from aircraft landing zones.
Engineer battalions, artillery units, transportation support battalions, combat service support units, and various aviation units can employ the LCRTF 5K II.
“I enjoy working at ABNSOTD, learning new things about how new pieces of equipment like the LCRTF 5K II, which was airdropped during operational testing,” said Spc. Robert Cook, 249th Quartermaster Company, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade.
“The experience that I am gaining here at ABNSOTD, I will be able to use when I return to my unit,” he added.
According to the chief of airborne testing, such tests are an opportunity for test units to train hard while having the opportunity to offer their feedback to improve Army equipment.
“Soldiers enjoy getting involved in operational testing,” said Lt. Col. Greg Oquendo, ABNSOTD’s Chief of Testing. They have the opportunity to operate and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in support of combat missions.”
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas, and its mission is about ensuring that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.
The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.