N6833520RFI0387 – Sources Sought – Multi-Utility Loader, Expeditionary (MULE)

Aug 21, 2020 | Sources Sought

THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) ONLY.  THERE IS NO SOLICITATION PACKAGE AVAILABLE.  The Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst, NJ seeks to identify potential sources for the Multi-Utility Loader, Expeditionary (MULE) to serve as a force multiplier in support of both Organizational (O) and Intermediate (I) Maintenance Level Ordnance operations at multiple Forward Arming & Refueling Point (FARP) sites in support of United States Navy and Marine Corps operations.  The MULE is required to be deployable aboard amphibious (L-Class) shipping, transported from seaborne platforms via surface connector vessels, MV-22 & CH-53 aircraft into fixed and rotary wing FARP locations ashore. Capable of performing multiple O & I level Ordnance tasks within the FARP on unimproved surfaces and over unimproved terrain. These Ordnance tasks include lifting, transporting, and loading weapons on Fixed Wing and Assault Support aircraft, handling palletized ammunition & ancillary weapon components, and towing small trailers at walking speed over rough terrain.  In addition, the MULE must have the physical dimensions, weight, deck loading, and tie downs provisions to permit internal transport within MV-22, CH-53 and KC-130 aircraft as well as on top of the A/M32K-10 Munitions Trailer towed by the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) ground transport.  The MULE shall be Common Support Equipment compatible with, and work in conjunction with, existing H-1, CH-53, MV-22, F-35, and KC-130 aircraft.

The objective is to procure a system capable of operating on rough terrain in austere expeditionary advanced bases, transported from shipboard environments that can provide a towing capability as well as performing the weapons handling and loading tasks of the MHU-83 Aerial Stores Lift Truck, compatible with the internal cargo requirements of the MV-22.  Operations aboard ship will be limited to movement to/from the MV-22 and CH-53 for air transport or movement to the well deck for landing craft movement ashore.  The nominal preliminary requirements are listed below:

Technical Requirements

1.The MULE shall have a lift boom capable of the following.

  • The lift boom and head shall have a minimum Safe Working Load (SWL) of 4,500 lb. (objective) with a similar interface and Degree of Freedom (DoF) as the MHU-83D/E including pitch, roll, and yaw of the boom head.
  • The lift boom shall be able to be configured with fork tines compatible with the MHU-125A/E, palletized ammunition, and rocket FAST packs and shall have a minimum SWL of 4,500 lb. (objective) in this configuration.
  • The lift boom shall be capable of lifting loads off the cargo ramps of MV-22, CH-53, and KC-130 aircraft, the bed of an MTVR, and the deck of the A/M32K-10 Munitions Trailer using a fork tine adapter.
  • The lift boom shall have the reach/clearance to provide a minimum of 36 inches of operator standoff distance (to the centerline of the intake) for hot loading the F-35 internal bomb bay. If necessary, the use of an extension adapter, such as the ADU-1055/E, that reduces the SWL to a maximum of 2,500 lb. (threshold) is acceptable.

2. The MULE shall be cable of towing the MHU-151/M and the CART (P/N 4203AS0100-1) at their max rated capacity, at a max rated speed of 5 MPH. (Heaviest is MHU-151/M at weight of 1,000 lb. with 3,000 lb. SWL)

  • The pintle shall accept a lunette ring with a 3.00-inch diameter eye and 1.63-inch diameter cross-section.

3. The MULE, while at max towing capacity, shall have a maximum speed of at least 5 MPH.

4. The MULE shall have adequate ground clearance, approach/departure angles, and running gear to be able to operate in an austere environment and negotiate 18.5° ramps.

5. The MULE must be capable of running on fuel organic to the Marine Air Ground Task (MAGTF) including diesel and JP-5/8, and be capable of running for a minimum of 6 hours before refueling.

6. The MULE shall be capable of Internal Air Transport (IAT) inside of the CH-53 series aircraft, MV-22 series aircraft, and KC-130 series aircraft in accordance with NAVAIR A1-A1-H53BE-CLG-000, NAVAIR A1-V22AB-CLG-000, and MIL-STD-1791C respectively.

  • This includes, but is not limited to, requirements related to size, weight, and tie down provisions.
  • The width, while being transported inside the MV-22, shall not exceed 64 inches.

7. The MULE shall be capable of External Air Transport (EAT) sling loading by UH-1Y, CH-53, and MV-22 aircraft in accordance with MIL-STD-913A.

8. The provisions for external sling lifting and cargo tie-down shall adhere to MIL-STD-209K.

9. If lithium batteries are used in the system, they shall be in accordance with NAVSEA Instruction 9310.1C, Naval Lithium Battery Safety Program, 12 Aug 2015. Detailed instructions for the approval process including testing requirements are contained in TM S9310-AQ-SAF-010.  In some cases, the testing requirements can be waived if particular conditions are met, per TM S9310-AQ-SAF-010.

10. The MULE shall be equipped with blackout lighting.

Environmental Requirements

1. The MULE shall meet the EME requirements of MIL-STD-464, Paragraph 5.3, Table 1 for flight deck environments.

2. The MULE shall meet the requirements of MIL-STD-461 Table V, RE102, RS103, CE106, CS114, and CS116 for Navy surface ship equipment.

3. The intensity of the EME produced by the MULE shall not exceed the Maximum Allowable Environments (MAE) detailed in Figures 2-1 and 2-2 of NAVSEA OP 3565 Volume 2 when operated near electrically initiated ordnance.

4. The MULE shall meet the shipboard shock requirement of MIL-DTL-901, Grade B.

5. The MULE shall be designed to resist the vibrations associated with operation LHA, LHD, LPD and LSD class ships per MIL-STD-810, Method 528.1, Type 1.

6. The MULE shall operate continuously in temperature conditions ranging from -20°F to +120°F.

7. The MULE shall withstand storage temperature conditions ranging from -65°F to +180°F.

8. The MULE shall operate continuously in an environment with up to 95% relative humidity.

9. The MULE shall operate after exposure to salt fog as specified in MIL-STD-810, Method 509.6.

10. The MULE shall operate continuously in blowing rain consisting of four inches per hour rainfall with 40 mph winds.

11. The MULE shall operate after exposure to blowing dust particles (<149 microns) with wind speeds up to 20 mph and a concentration of up to 10 +/-0.7 g/m3.

12.  The MULE shall operate after exposure to blowing sand (150 to 850 micron particle size) with wind speeds up to 65 mph and a concentration of 2.2 +/- 0.5 g/m3.

Logistics Requirements

1. System operation/maintenance is not to require any special tools.

2. Full Logistics Support Package to include but not limited to:

  • Technical Manual(s)
  • Logistics Product Data in GEIA-STD-0007 format
  • Engineering Data for Provisioning Spare Parts
  • Calibration Documentation
  • MIL-STD-810 compliant Packaging, Handling, Shipping & Transportation information, to include any specialized requirements.

3. Maintenance and repair support for this asset must be readily available and reside within the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) Ground Support Equipment (GSE) work center.  The MALS GSE work center must be able to perform load testing, preventative maintenance, maintain spare parts, and provide a field maintenance kit.  In addition, training and licensing for operators and maintainers must align with Naval Aviation GSE protocols.


The purpose of the request for information is to identify potential contractors and to gain insight into current commercial or military products and/or design concepts that meet the above requirements.  Along with the interest and product information, it is requested that the following topics be addressed:

  1. Estimated price information for Production Units (30) and Pilot Production Units (4).
  2. Estimated Delivery timeframe from design concept to production delivery.
  3. Design features that should be considered for potential inclusion in the performance specification.

Interested companies are requested to provide information on products/services similar in scope and effort.  Respondents to this RFI may provide catalogs, drawings/illustrations, technical manuals, training descriptions/materials, warranty information, testing documentation, brochures and/or any other documentation that describes their capability to design, develop, manufacture and support an effort of the type described herein.  In an attempt to understand where constraints may stand in response to this RFI, the Government is also seeking industry to provide information on capabilities that cannot be met by existing or anticipated products.

In addition, it is requested that respondents identify government and/or commercial customers to whom same or similar equipment and logistics support packages have been delivered.  Provide customer points of contact, including a telephone number, e-mail address/web site, quantities sold along with dates sold, and a description of the unit(s).

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government.  This RFI is issued for the purpose of determining market interest, feasibility, and capability of sources and does not constitute a request for proposal.  Please note that the Government will NOT be responsible for any costs incurred by interested parties responding to this RFI. This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract.  Interested sources should provide the information and related data to John Murtagh by email at john.c.murtagh@navy.mil, no later than 30 days 5:00 EST (with the preference being sooner) after the post date of this RFI. All information sent should reference this RFI number on the subject response line of the emailed response as well as on all enclosed documents. Responses must include the company name, address, point of contact name and email/phone, and company size. Proprietary data MUST be marked on a page-by-page basis and will be kept confidential and protected where so designated. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP.

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