Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory


Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory

Futures Directorate

Quantico, VA
Dense Pack Access Retrieval and Transit

By Kyle J. O. Olson | Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory | March 18, 2015

March 12, 2015 --

TACOMA, WA - When cargo ships like Steam Ship (SS) Cape Island transport densely packed cargo that has been loaded for a specific mission, a very serious problem is presented when that mission changes and that particular load needs to be reconfigured to meet new priorities. The ship's crew can't break out a handful of mover's dollies and shuffle around shipping twenty-foot shipping containers and more realistically, the heavy machinery required to lift and move these massive containers cannot maneuver through a loaded ship. The current solution is to offload the cargo, while in port, and reload it according to the new mission.

The Department of Defense recognizes this challenge and is determined to find a solution. A handful of Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors recently spent time aboard the SS Cape Island in Tacoma, Wa. during the Dense Pack Access Retrieval and Transit (DPART) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) Limited Operational Utility Assessment 1 (LOUA-1) to operate and evaluate the operational utility of the Container-Lift and Maneuver System (C-LMS).

The C-LMS, not much larger than a 20-ft container, is designed to provide a two-person team the ability to safely approach, capture, lift, maneuver, place, and retreat from a single, fully loaded 20-ft, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container with a maximum combined weight (container and contents) of 60,000 lbs.

After several days of classroom work and practical application, the teams and the technology were put through their paces.

Safety checks, operational checks, slow, steady, and purposeful movement, gaps sometimes only inches wide, and routes that seemed impossible. This was the obstacle course aboard the SS Cape Island.

Once the teams were comfortable with the controls, they deftly maneuvered the diesel-powered beast through the course. The C-LMS maneuverability was a key component. It has the ability to steer like a fire truck by turning both front and rear tires to improve the turning radius; rotate on it's axis; turn like a tank; pivot around the front or rear end; maneuver like a front or rear wheel drive car; and move crab-like side to side.

The LOUA-1 is the first of three planned assessment events. Input from this assessment will be combined with data collected from the other events and used to provide utility recommendations to the DPART JCTD Operational Manager and US Pacific Command.