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Airdrop Cruise Missiles On Wooden Pallets: U.S. Air Force’s Solution To Spruce Up Its Airlift Aircraft

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Airdrop Cruise Missiles On Wooden Pallets: U.S. Air Force's Solution To Spruce Up Its Airlift Aircraft

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Is your airlifting aircraft feeling underwhelming?

The US has the solution – fill it up with guns – so that your run-of-the-mill C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III can become “heavily-armed weapons trucks capable of airdropping large bundles of munitions that deliver a massive blast.”

Until now, the US Air Force has carried only two successful tests of “palletized munitions” from the C-130 and C-17, said Maj. Gen. Clint Hinote, the deputy director of the service’s Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability cell.

“We are in discussions right now about how do we proceed to prototyping and fielding,” he said during a May 27th event held by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

And it is, of course, it is natural and understandable that every sane European (because it is likely they would be used in exercises, as well as in a potential conflict) would consider something first: hopefully they use EUR-pallets so they comply with all bureaucratic requirements.

And the answer is: no. Because the munitions and weapons are loaded onto something called a “smart pallet” which would feed the munitions tracking and targeting information as they are dropped from an airlift platform.

The request for information, published back in February, characterizes it as a “bomb bay in a box” that could allow mobility aircraft to stay out of a threat zone and launch a mass of standoff weapons.

“It’s all about capacity,” Hinote explained. “You’ve got to create enough capacity so that a long-range punch is really a punch. What we see is that no matter how big our bomber force is, the capacity that the joint force needs is always more and more. And so this is why we think that there is a real possibility here for using cargo platforms to be able to increase the capacity of fires.”

Air Force Special Operations Command conducted one demonstration of the technology on January 28th.

A C-130J performed three airdrops of simulated palletized munitions at at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

“In this case, munitions stacked upon wooden pallets, or Combat Expendable Platforms (CEPs), deployed via a roller system,” the Air Force Research Laboratory said in a May 27th release. “AFSOC aircrew released five CEPs rigged with six simulated munitions, the same mass as the actual weapons, including four Cargo Launch Expendable Air Vehicles with Extended Range (CLEAVERs) across a spectrum of low and high altitude airdrops.”

And yes, “simulated long-range cruise missiles” were delivered via off-the-shelf pallets, as well as an Air Force designed crate system.

CLEAVER is a new weapon under development by the lab as part of a separate effort, though it may be used in palletized munitions in the future.

On February 27th, Air Mobility Command conducted a similar demonstration with a C-17, which conducted two airdrops of simulated palletized munitions.

In the future tests, more advanced forms of simulated munitions as well as full-up weapons vehicles that can be configured with a warhead and terminal guidance system are planned for airdrops.

Expectedly, just using a wooden pallet to deliver a cruise missile seems somewhat crude.

Five companies responded to the request for information. And it is interesting what technological solutions they will come up with.

Then comes the question of who commands this upgraded aircraft, because the way it delivers weaponry and destruction is similar to that of a bomber or a fighter jet, in a way.

“Some kind of extremely streamlined command and control is going to be necessary, or else you must have an integrator somewhere,” said Hinote, who added that cultural barriers inside the Air Force could be harder to overcome than the technological challenges of creating palletized munitions.

Funding is also a concern, since it is uncertain that it will get funded at all.

“We’re in the last year of an administration. We’ve had to turn in the budget early with not too many changes, and we’re looking at the possibility of a continuing resolution where new starts are going to be difficult to do,” he said.

However, “that is all temporary,” he said. This optimism is just what soldiers on the ground need, since there is (arguably) no greater frustration that needing an urgent cruise missile or an armored vehicle loaded with weapons and it being a hundred kilometers away, at the least.


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Arthur Deodat Jr.

Might be good to add tracking number and address for possible reclamation.

Zionism = EVIL

and uber can deliver with the big Mac meal.

Arthur Deodat Jr.

Tey could contract FedEx and DHL for even greater punch.

Zionism = EVIL

Dumbass cunts, their cities are burning and people starving, they should be dropping the racist lardass cops in pallets over Minneapolis.

Raptar Driver

Blacks are far more racist here than whites. Whites are afraid to be racist, we will be punished harshly for any racism. The blacks are allowed to be completely racist.

Chinese Dog

One nuke on bejing and problem solved

Concrete Mike

Nukes solve nothing.

Your an idiot, bye bye.


Hey, that’s a good impersonation of Trumpish simplistic idiocy. Congrats!

Wayne Nicholson

One nuke on Beijing and your problems are just beginning. There are 1.4 billion Chinese, their industry is decentralized and their nukes are road mobile and kept in underground bunkers. It would take a MASSIVE nuclear attack to knock out China and even then they have the means to retaliate.

Liberal guy

Just one bullet in ur ass and problem will be solved u zio msm brainwashed dog

Concrete Mike

So your copying the syrian barrel bombs.

Wayne Nicholson

Funny how a $100k metal cylinder filled with chemical explosives made by a fortune 500 company and dropped by a $100M aircraft is ethical and humane but a scrap metal cylinder filled with chemical explosives pushed out of a helicopter is inhumane and criminal. It’s sad that people just repeat what they are told in the media without thinking.


Except that the US will actually try to fly this turkey of an idea.

Wayne Nicholson

They will fund it for a couple of years but will have to distribute the work among 40 congressional districts. It’ll go 500% over budget and get cancelled but the companies will be paid in full for the project, their shareholders will get fat dividend cheques and executive will get their bonuses. Congressmen in those districts will get reelected because they brought jobs courtesy of the US taxpayers great grandchildren.


Exactly how the US Military Industrial Complex works – US needs and will wage endless wars to keep themselves in business. Peace is VERY VERY bad for US Oligarchs.


Absolutely correct.

Anthony Papagallo

Its impressive how U.S commanders constantly pretend they can operate such aircraft against an adversary like Russia where they will have no guarantees of air superiority and where even their airbases across western europe will all be flattened by missile strikes.
Its good PR though and on that level makes good sense, how else will whores like Poland and Lithuania keep throwing money at them.

Simon Ndiritu

US never intends to fight Russia. It only uses the “Russian threat” to sell arms to Europe and hence develop its Arms Industries. It also uses the “Russian threat” to control Europe through Omnibus, undemocratic organizations such as NATO. However, when time is ripe, US may force Europe into a loosing war with Russia to have Europe’s industries flattened and give itself a large market. US will also seek to create an even more dependent Europe.


Instead of wasting resources, the US needs to get a handle over its social and economic problems.

Jimmy Jim



Wow… 750 billion dollars later and this is what they come up with??? Jesus!

Peter Moy

Another brain-damaged idea from the Einsteins and idiots that infest the US military. I hope they do implement this idea and try it against an adversary that has modern SAMs, air defense artillery and interceptors. This moron General Hinote should go on the first mission.

Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

Did´n they pioneer this during the Siege of Khe San 50 years ago?
Did´n that evolve into the LAPES method?

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