The RAF’s fleet of bespoke air-transportable forklift trucks is set to remain operationally effective for at least another 10 years after undergoing a complete refurbishment by Briggs Defence.
Introduced in 2004, the Dantruck is the RAF’s forklift of choice for Out of Area deployment by No.1 Air Movements Wing. Used primarily at the Air Head at RAF Brize Norton, the 8-tonne forklift features a three-stage hydraulic mast and very low closed height for rapid loading of specialist roller pallets for military cargo.
All 22 of the forklifts have been given a new lease of life by engineers at the specialist division of Briggs Equipment. As well as replacing the Detroit power unit and rebuilding transmissions, drive axles and hydraulic systems, they carried out upgrades to the alternator and cooling system. Briggs Defence also created a safety case, which did not feature on the original Dantruck machine, and re-designed one-off roller tines, supplying 22 pairs.
As part of the contract Briggs Defence engineers rewrote the RAF’s Army Equipment Support Publication, a detailed maintenance manual containing all technical data. Civilian part numbers were converted so that parts can now be ordered direct through the NATO parts ordering system from anywhere in the world.
To keep the Dantrucks serviceable at all times Briggs Defence delivered specialist training to RAF engineers, whilst a new, bespoke e-learning programme provides all eligible personnel with access to technical information.
Gary Clements, Managing Director at Briggs Defence, said: “This was an important initiative for the RAF and we were able to capitalise on our engineering expertise to deliver a cost-effective solution that will prolong the operating life of its Dantruck 2 fleet.
“Since these forklifts require access to fuel and munition dumps, one of the primary objectives of this mid-life upgrade was to ensure Cat C certification for storage and marshalling. With the final truck now in operation at RAF Brize Norton, we anticipate that our role will switch to engineering support and the delivery of a ten-year maintenance programme including parts supply.”
Dantrucks are heavily utilised for rapid loading/offloading of the RAF’s fleet of military transport aircraft, including the Airbus A400 Atlas, C17 Globemaster and C130 Hercules. Providing vital cargo handling capabilities, the forklifts support not only day-to-day logistics, but also military and humanitarian missions. They are in use in the Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Ascension Island as well as at RAF bases around the UK.