Reusable MATPAC Packaging System for Expeditionary Airfields
Navy SBIR 2019.1 - Topic N191-009
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick -
Opens: January 8, 2019 - Closes: February 6, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Reusable MATPAC Packaging System for Expeditionary Airfields


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Battlespace, Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA251 Aircraft Launch & Recovery Equipment (ALRE)

OBJECTIVE: Develop a reusable packaging system for shipping and storing AM2 MATPACs.

DESCRIPTION: The Expeditionary Airfield (EAF) Integrated Product Team (IPT) team and the Fleet have identified a need for a reusable securing system for shipping and storing AM2 MATPACs. The EAF Marines are tasked with rapid deployment and operation of expeditionary airfields in any feasible location around the world. A MATPAC is eighteen (18) sheets of either 6 or 12-foot aluminum AM2 mat, stacked and bound. It can also be a package where AM2 mat is used as dunnage to create a secure box to ship lighting and accessories. AM2 mat is either 6’ by 1.5” by 2’ (weight 75 lbs) or 12’ by 1.5” by 2’ (weight 150 lbs).

The heaviest MATPAC, a version that contains lighting fixtures, has a total weight of 3,500 lbs. The most lightweight version contains 6’ AM2 matting and weighs 1,475 lbs. Current reusable pack banding technology, like ratchet strapping, is not strong enough and is too flexible to handle the weight of the MATPAC. These options are also not suitable for the ultraviolet (UV) conditions MATPACs are exposed to since they are stored outside in the elements. The currently fielded securing method is to use steel banding, which results in excess dunnage for the receiving location. The large number of MATPACs and the frequency of shipping have also resulted in excessive impact on the EAF budget. The banding on MATPACs in storage must be broken and replaced annually, further impacting cost and labor.

Currently, EAF is spending $1.37 million annually on steel banding, which breaks down to $20-$35 per MATPAC for standard banding and $5 per MATPAC for “belly banding.” The standard banding method is to stack the mats, place steel end frames on either end and band the end frames to one another in an “X” across the front and back of the stack. This prevents the mat from shifting around in transit. “Belly banding” is used when the mat is sent back for refurbishment. This involves stacking the mat and simply banding around the stack twice, no end frames. Standard banding uses 75’ of banding for 6’ MATPACs and 120’ for 12’ MATPACs while belly banding only uses 20’. When the MATPACs arrive on site and are cut open, the discarded banding can result in 4-5 truckloads of banding that has to be removed.

The EAF Marines are an expeditionary force so a premium is placed on weight, size, and maneuverability, which impose a few constraints on any solutions. EAF Marines must be prepared to operate in any feasible climate, a requirement that extends to their equipment as well. Any securing system proposed must be capable of withstanding the temperature, humidity, and UV conditions that it will be exposed to during shipment and in operation. MIL-STD-810G Part Three [Ref 1] contains information regarding climactic conditions. EAF equipment must function in all four climactic design types (Hot, Basic, Cold, and Severe Cold) to include all daily cycles [Ref 1 - A1, B3, B1, B2, A2, A3, C1, C2]. The mats are placed on a flat rack for shipment and to save room they must sit flush next to each other. The solution must be low profile and cannot protrude out at all from the MATPAC itself. Storage space is limited so when not in use, the solution should be able to be stored or shipped back easily. The solution can utilize the current end frames but that is not required as long as the solution protects the edges of the mat, secures the locking bars shipped with the MATPACS, provides a surface for identification markings, and fully encloses the ends of the MATPACS. A locking bar is .188" thick, .625" wide and comes in lengths of 1, 2 and 6 feet. The number and size of the locking bars included will depend on the contents of the MATPAC. The options are:
20 2-foot locking bars
22 6-foot locking bars
56 1-foot locking bars
36 1-foot locking bars
40 1-foot locking bars
31 1-foot locking bars and 2-foot locking bars
144 1-foot locking bars
120 2-foot locking bars
MATPACs are moved by a forklift and stacked on top of one another so the securing solution must be able to withstand these types of normal operation as well as accidental drops from the operational height of the forklift tines (approximately 10 feet). Currently the end frames provide space for forklift tines below the MATPAC and self-align MATPACs as they are stacked, so this can be done with a single forklift operator. The end frames have a notch on the bottom edge and a tab on the top edge so when they are stacked, the notch and tab align, guiding the MATPAC being stacked into the correct position. If the end frames are not utilized, the solution should provide these capabilities as well.

The solution should lower total ownership costs and the logistics footprint. The EAF team would like to see a return on investment in no more than 3-5 years if the upfront cost is higher than what is currently spent on banding.

PHASE I: Provide a conceptual design and prove the engineering and economic feasibility of meeting the stated requirements through analysis and lab demonstrations. Identify specific strategies for meeting performance and reliability goals. Provide top-level costs for the proposed design. The Phase I effort should include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype securing system and demonstrate prototype performance. Provide an estimate of cost, including manufacturing. Provide a failure analysis, service life estimate, and assessment of meeting stated requirements.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate the technology at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or 7 for transition to the Expeditionary Airfields program. This technology can be used to replace disposable banding methods in any industry that ships or stores large equipment, such as construction materials, and wants to decrease long-term spending and maintenance.


1. “MIL-STD-810G Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests.” Department of Defense. (2008).

2. “Expeditionary Airfields.” NAVAIR: Patuxent River.

3. “Galvanized Steel Strapping Skid Lot - 1 1/4" x .031" x 760'.” Uline Shipping Supply Specialists, 2018, p. 294.

4. “Semi-Open Metal Seals - 1 1/4".” Uline Shipping Supply Specialists, 2018, p. 294.

KEYWORDS: Banding; Securing System; Expeditionary Airfields; EAF; MATPAC; AM2



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