Like commercial airports worldwide, government airports require military aircraft ground support equipment (GSE) to help their daily operations run smoothly. With the importance of successful military operations and the massive impact they can make, governments must choose their GSE carefully to ensure it's suited for the challenging constraints put on flightlines around the world. Military tugs are required to move and push back military aircraft – they are a critical factor in both the start and completion of military operations. Tow tractors also play a crucial role in commercial industries, but when it comes to military aircraft, certain features and considerations must be taken into account to aptly perform operations in accordance with the high military standard.

In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the unique needs required for military aircraft ground support equipment – namely, military tugs – to outline the critical features one should keep an eye out for when selecting a military aircraft tug.

Military Aircraft Tugs Must Meet Certain Demands

So, what demands do military aircraft ground support equipment need to meet to remain effective for military operations? Above all else, military aircraft ground support equipment needs to be completely reliable and extremely durable. This means your military tugs need to be operational at all times – remember, the mission waits for no one. Further than that, military aircraft tugs need to be able to meet the application demands of both sudden and planned missions. On a daily basis, you must have supreme confidence your military aircraft ground support equipment can handle the following:

  • Position military aircraft in hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) or protective aircraft shelters (PAS).
  • Park planes on military aircraft carriers for Air Force and Navy operations.
  • Tow helicopters and other military rotorcraft.
  • Maneuver military aircraft inside flightline hangars for inspection and repair.
  • Perform successful operations in harsh weather conditions and terrains.
  • Be transportable by air.
  • Minimize downtime and reduce the risk of mechanical failure.

Must-Have Features of Military Tugs

The features of your standard commercial tow tractors are great for their intended purpose, but military aircraft tugs require the addition of unique features to keep operations running smoothly. With the critical nature surrounding military operations and the unique challenges they face, Navy and Air Force ground support equipment must offer the following characteristics.

1. Powerful Traction

Military crew chiefs and other operational personnel run operations all over the world and sometimes in extreme environments. Therefore, military tugs need to have a high operational capacity to work on a wide range of terrains and in harsh weather conditions. For maximum traction over various terrains, you'll need military aircraft tugs with drive trains that feature limited-slip differentials.

2. Versatility

Because military units are often operating abroad, it's also critical to minimize the amount of military aircraft ground support equipment they need to transport with them. A single military aircraft tug that can tow multiple aircraft types can help provide maximum efficiency to operations.

3. Lightweight Construction

Military aircraft ground support equipment is generally required to be airlifted to where it's needed the most. For this purpose, you'll want to find a military tug that has all-wheel drive (AWD) capabilities. Having AWD makes it possible for a military aircraft tug to provide at least as much drawbar pull (DBP) as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) tug — while weighing only a third as much.

4. Agility

In exceptionally tight spaces such as minimized runways and aircraft hangars designed to house previous military aircraft, ground crews need military aircraft tugs that can handle the tightest of turns. This is another reason to choose AWD military tugs. RWD tugs can only push aircraft at angles no sharper than 45 degrees before their wheels begin to lift off the ground and lose grip. AWD military tugs can handle tighter bends without losing traction.

5. Reliability

When it comes to military missions, there's no time for equipment failure. Look for military tugs that have been proven in military applications and have a solid warranty. You'll also want to choose military aircraft tugs with standardized parts and quick access to support, should any repairs be needed.

Why Choose Eagle Tugs Military Tugs?

Eagle Tugs military aircraft tugs and tow tractors are the only vehicles in their class that offer AWD, limited-slip differentials, standardized parts and a 3-Year/3,000-hour warranty.

They've also been proven to perform in military applications. In fact, some Eagle Tugs vehicles have been specifically designed for military use at the request of the U.S. government. Additionally, custom-built tugs can be created if needed.

The following are some of the most popular and effective military aircraft tugs available.

Request A Quote

USATS Military Aircraft Tugs

Originally created at the request of the U.S. Military, USATS aircraft tugs are ideal for special forces operations – especially those involving helicopters and other rotorcraft. Both the USATS-6 and USATS-8 offer AWD, a powerful DBP, factory-direct support and a 60" x90" flatbed that's ideal for helicopter transport.

The USATS-6 can carry payloads up to 2,000 lbs. on its bed or tow an aircraft of up to 45,000 lbs. in all weather conditions. The USATS-8 features a bed the same size and can carry up to 500 lbs. or tow up to 60,000 lbs. on all surface conditions.

TT Series Aircraft Tugs

The TT series of aircraft tugs packs a great deal of power and value into a compact, low-profile vehicle. This series offers up to 12,000 lb. drawbar pull with different vehicles for different types of aircraft.

ETT Series Aircraft Tugs

eTT Series aircraft tugs are the only AWD, four-wheel-steer (4WS) and 80V A/C electric aircraft tugs in their class. They offer both exceptional maneuverability and plenty of power, all at a low cost-per-hour of operation. Plus, the fact that they're powered by electricity also makes them zero-emissions vehicles, which is better for the environment.

Find Military Aircraft Ground Support Equipment That Pulls Its Weight at Eagle Tugs

When it comes to military aircraft ground support equipment, your operations can't afford to settle for unproven or inferior alternatives. Go with the proven leader by shopping Eagle Tugs' selection of military aircraft tugs. If you have any questions about our aircraft tugs, feel free to contact us at any time. Our dedicated team of experts is always standing by and ready to help. Or, if you already know what your operations need, request a quote today.

Shop Military Aircraft Tugs

Related Articles: Military Aircraft Ground Support Equipment

GSE MILITARY MODELS VS CIVILIAN GSE The Differences (and Commonalities) Between GSE Military Models and Civilian Aircraft GSE Military aircraft ground support equipment (GSE) is used in completely different environments and conditions than civilian aircraft GSE. We're taking a look at the core differences between military aircraft GSE and civilian GSE. While you'll notice there are quite a few things that set these two apart, there are just as many features and standards that they share.
COMPARING MILITARY TUG TRACTORS Comparing Military Aircraft Ground Support Equipment While aircraft operations are challenging for ground support equipment (GSE) at any airport, military GSE typically works under much harsher conditions. Military GSE must always be fully mission-capable and reliably work under all circumstances, no matter the situation. A military tow tractor must be rugged, easy to operate, maintain and repair, and support the mission at a moment’s notice.
CHOOSING NAVY GROUND SUPPORT EQUIPMENT How to Choose the Right Military Aircraft Ground Support Equipment for Naval Operations Seaside and naval flight operations are typically conducted in some of the harshest conditions on earth. From extreme weather to around-the-clock operations, Navy flight support equipment goes through the wringer on a daily basis. Because of this, Navy ground support equipment (GSE) needs to be durable, reliable and versatile in order to meet the military's ever-evolving and demanding needs.