More compact and agile than the MJ-1 lift truck, the first-of-its-kind platform remotely streamlines Air Force cargo transport, loading and unloading to increase operational flexibility
BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stratom, a leading developer of autonomous ground vehicles and robotic systems for logistics and operational applications, today announced it has been selected to develop the SALT — small agile lift truck — prototype to streamline Air Force aerial stores and munition loading operations, increase safety and enhance adaptability.
SALT is an all-electric, autonomy-ready, modernized lift vehicle designed to replace the Air Force’s 1950s-era MJ-1 lift truck. Compatible with modern fifth-generation fighters and future flight-line operations, the SALT solution empowers Air Force personnel to operate the vehicle via wired remote, significantly reducing the crew required to load and unload munitions and aerial stores for the military aircraft of today and tomorrow.
“The current MJ-1 “jammer” platform is a dated vehicle architecture which presents difficulty interfacing with fifth-generation fighter aircraft, and impacts loading times,” said Jesse Weifenbach, Stratom’s lead vehicle systems engineer. “With SALT, we’re enthusiastic about the platform’s multimodal driving capabilities and our efforts to advance electrification in unique autonomous and autonomy-ready vehicles.”
Additional benefits of the lightweight SALT platform include the following:
- Multiple transport modes for greater maneuverability: Three times more maneuverable than the current MJ-1 lift truck, SALT offers additional driving options for positioning the vehicle under aircraft to align the payload faster.
- All-electric power: The SALT platform enables the Air Force to transition away from the current gas-powered, air-cooled MJ-1 vehicle to a solution more aligned with the Air Force’s future plans for electrification.
- Future-state full autonomy: Built with autonomy readiness in mind, SALT is currently controlled remotely via teleoperation Future-state designs include additional sensors and computers to provide alignment assist and autonomous loading functionalities.
Stratom was contracted on the SALT development project by its partner MilTech, an authorized national government partnership intermediary through Montana State University that helps bring innovative technology to the U.S. government quickly, reliably and cost-effectively. The two organizations collaborate on new technology development projects that are a good fit for Stratom’s strategic solutions development background.
“We earned this project based on our past Department of Defense project experience and well-established autonomous systems development expertise — and look forward to leveraging that knowledge to modernize the Air Force’s current technological capabilities and continue meeting our customers’ constantly evolving operational needs,” said Mark Gordon, Stratom’s president.
For more information about how Stratom empowers customers to overcome their most difficult real-world challenges, visit stratom.com.
Stratom is a global leader in the development of autonomous ground vehicles and robotic systems that solve the most pressing real-world logistics and operational challenges for commercial and defense applications. Specializing in autonomous cargo movement, robotic refueling, robotic hazardous liquid transfer and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), the company’s military-proven tools, methods, technologies and strategic services solve the most difficult logistics and operational challenges. Whether in safe, controlled settings or dynamic and challenging terrain, Stratom provides unique solutions to meet each customer’s specific needs. With its extensive expertise in R&D, engineering and system integration of autonomous technologies and solutions, Stratom, a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, is the go-to expert for global corporations, local businesses and government institutions. To learn more, visit www.stratom.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.