Side view of the Oshkosh palletised load system (PLS).
The US Army palletised load system, laden with building materials, passes an empty convoy of PLS trucks and MRAP vehicles.
A palletised load system (PLS) connects its container handling unit to a container at Camp Taji, Iraq.
A generator mechanic from the 659th Maintenance Company's palletised load system maintenance support team works on a PLS.
The PLS transports the loads of ammunition and all types of supplies, shelters and containers.

Oshkosh Palletised Load System

The Oshkosh palletised load system (PLS).

The palletised load system (PLS) was manufactured by Oshkosh Corporation to provide logistics support to the US Army. The first PLS entered in to service with the Army in 1993.

PLS supports the advanced and mobile combat units by performing long range haul, local haul, unit resupply and other functions. It can rapidly transport the combat configured loads of ammunition and all types of supplies, shelters and containers.

In January 1989, the US Army Tank Automotive Command awarded prototype contracts to three manufacturers including Oshkosh Truck Corporation, the PACCAR Government Group and General Motors Military Vehicle Operations for prototype PLS vehicles. Each of the three firms delivered nine trucks, six trailers and 30 flatracks to the US Army for testing purposes. Oshkosh won the final contract in 1990.

The company produced more than 6,000 PLS trucks and over 14,000 trailers by December 2010.

Palletised load system orders and deliveries

In September 1990, Oshkosh was awarded a five-year contract worth $860m for 2,626 PLS trucks, 1,050 M1076 PLS trailers and 11,030 M1077 PLS flatracks. Production commenced in 1992 and Oshkosh produced over 2,905 PLS trucks and 1,534 trailers during 1992-1997.

"Oshkosh won the final PLS contract in 1990."

Under various add-on contracts received between 1997 and 2001, Oshkosh produced 595 PLS trucks and 800 trailers, bringing the PLS fleet to 3,500 trucks and 2,334 trailers. In March 2001, the US Army placed a contract for the family of heavy tactical vehicles (FHTV), which included provision for up to 740 PLS trucks and 1,060 trailers.

In December 2009, Oshkosh received a $63m contract from US Army TACOM LCMC to supply more than 1,150 PLS trailers. The US Army placed a $258.4m contract for 728 new M1075 PLS trucks in the same month of 2009.

PLS design and features

The PLS is based on the C-section chassis made of heat-treated carbon manganese steel and control cab constructed of heavy-duty welded steel. The PLS includes a prime mover truck, a payload trailer (M1076) and demountable cargo beds / flatracks. The prime mover truck has a self-loading and unloading system and can carry loads on flatrack cargo beds or inside 8ft × 8ft × 20ft containers. It can be incorporated with engineering mission modules (EMMs) for executing specific tasks.

The PLS prime mover truck is available in M1074 and M1075 configurations. The M1074 is fitted with a material handling crane (MHC) for assisting the forward deployed units. The M1075, without MHC, is used along with the M1076 trailer in line haul missions. The M1076 has a flatrack and can carry payloads of up to 16.5t.

The prime mover truck and trailer make a self-contained system that loads and unloads its cargo, and eliminates the need of forklifts or other material handling systems. The driver sitting in the cab can load or unload the truck within one minute and both truck and trailer within five minutes.

"The PLS prime mover truck is available in M1074 and M1075 configurations."

The M3 containerised roll-in / out platform (CROP) is an A-frame type flatrack which fits within a 20ft ISO container. The containers are picked and transported by PLS with the assistance of container handling unit (CHU).

Oshkosh has rolled out the latest variant, PLS A1 in December 2010. The upgraded vehicle is equipped with a long-term armour strategy (LTAS) compliant cab, a 600hp engine, electrical upgrades and an Oshkosh TAK-4 independent front suspension for better off-road mobility.

In January 2010, the US Army signed a $290m contract with Oshkosh for more than 725 next-generation PLS A1s.


The PLS tactical truck is powered by Detroit 8V92TA diesel engine coupled to Allison 6-speed automatic transmission (5 forward, 1 reverse). The engine delivers a power output of 500hp. The new PLS A1 trucks are equipped with more powerful Caterpillar C-15 600hp diesel engine.

PLS mobility

The PLS prime mover truck is equipped with a central tire inflation system for improved off-road mobility. The vehicle can transport payloads on all types of terrain while maintaining pace with the tracked combat vehicles that it backs. All systems were equipped with GPS-based movement tracking system (MTS) under the PLS-Enhanced (PLS-E) programme.

The vehicle has a maximum speed of 91km/h and a maximum range of over 480km. It is air-portable by C-5A and C-17 transport aircraft.

US Defence Sector: Market Opportunity and Entry Strategy, Analyses and Forecasts to 2015

Detailed analysis and forecasts of the US defence market are available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence. For more information click here or contact us: EMEA: +44 20 7936 6783; Americas: +1 415 439 4914; Asia Pacific: +61 2 9947 9709 or via email.