MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Combat Logistics Battalion 7 organized a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration of a prototype trailer aboard the Combat Center Feb. 28 through March 4, 2011.
The Joint Recovery and Distribution System have multiple functions, and they are designed to load a trailer or aircraft without using extra equipment like forklifts, said J. R. McDonald, the Joint Concept Technology Demonstration operational manager.
With a 40-foot long deck that lowers, the JRaDS can directly load and unload equipment or damaged vehicles using two winches and is capable of carrying up to 68,000 pounds.
The demonstration covered many variables such as recovering disabled vehicles, conducting a Lockheed C-130 Hercules load and offload and transporting supplies.
The goal of the demonstration is to see if the system has military utility, McDonald said.
“We want to make sure the Marines get enough hands-on time to do things they would normally do,” said John Munn, an independent assessor with Nevada Automotive Test Center. “All these Marines out here know recovery. We are just giving them a different tool.”
The demonstration also allowed the young Marines, who would actually operate the system in a real-world situation, to test it out for themselves and give their feedback.
“This is their chance to influence this and put their fingerprints on it,” Munn said. “My goal is to not say whether the thing is good or bad, but if it’s not up to what they want, I need to know why.
“[It] is their chance to influence what the final design looks like,” he said.
The demonstration also focused on the capabilities and benefits of what a trailer like this can do, not necessarily the particular model.
The Marines said that while the system had potential, it is still a few improvements away from perfection.
“It’s a great idea, but it takes as long or longer to perform recoveries [with this trailer] than it did with the old one.” said Pfc. Diana Leavell, a motor transport operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374.
The plan is very flexible, McDonald said. The team will take the data collected at the demo and revise the JRaDS in any way necessary.
The Marines who worked with the equipment will give their assessment and experiences with the trailer to help improve its functions and suggest alternatives to any problem they had.