Transportability Engineering

 Transportability Engineering

At the very foundation of force deployability is equipment transportability. Transportability Engineers work closely with requirements writers and equipment developers, including defense contractors, program managers and other government organizations, throughout the acquisition life cycle, to influence the design of systems in favor of efficient transportability per DoDI 4540.07 and AR 70-47.

We evaluate every aspect of an item's transportability characteristics, including: weight, dimensions, lifting and tiedown provisions, interface with required transportation assets and infrastructure, and structural integrity. We accomplish this mission by employing advanced virtual simulations and through participation in live testing. Our efforts ensure that equipment design facilitates rapid force deployment. Once the equipment successfully indicates it meets its transportability requirements, we provide a transportability approval (AR 70-1) and materiel release (AR 700-142).

SDDCTEA has a white paper that explains the transportability engineering process throughout the acquisition process. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has a new transportability engineering module. Designing for Transportability (CLL 045) is now available on the DAU web site:

Access to SDDCTEA documents requires a DISA DoD365-J Guest account. To self register for an account, go to 
expand Transportability Engineering Publication Type : Instructions ‎(11)
expand Transportability Engineering Publication Type : Pamphlets/Modal Instructions ‎(13)
expand Transportability Engineering Publication Type : Papers and Publications ‎(5)

 Transportation Modes and Criteria

​The military transportation environment can be broken down into four general transport modes (highway, rail, marine, and air). Each mode has its own unique design limitations and requirements. In addition, we provide information on commonly used shelters and containers, as well as information on military lifting and tiedown provisions. Additional transportability criteria can be found in MIL-STD-1366 Transportability Criteria and TEA PAM 70-1 located in the Transportability Engineering Publications list above.


  • Highway Transport - Highway is the most common and most flexible surface transport mode and is essential for both strategic and tactical deployment, as well as day-to-day operations. Highway transport can be used to transport military equipment from its current location to ports of embarkation especially if they are less than 400 miles from the origin of the deployment which allows the item to be delivered as close as possible to the point where it is needed.
    • Safety - Code of Federal Regulations (FR) Title 49 provides safety requirements for highway transport, including lights, brakes, and stopping distance.
    • Military Load Classification (MLC) - MLC numbers are calculated for military vehicles and compared to the MLC assigned to military bridges to determine if the vehicle can safely cross.  Classification numbers are mandatory for all military bridges, self-propelled vehicles having a total weight of 3 tons or more, as well as all trailers with a payload of 1 ½ tons or greater (see STANAGs 2010 and 2021; Field Manuals: FM5-170 and FM3-34.343). Trailers with a rated capacity of less than 1 1/2 tons are usually combined with their towing vehicles for classification. Should you require a specific vehicle MLC, please send a request to
      • Should you require a copy of the MLC table, please send a request to
    • Crew Weights - Since crew weight is considered part of the payload for light tactical vehicles (including HMMWV family of vehicles), a materiel developer must plan accordingly to avoid overloading the vehicles.
  • Rail Transport - Rail transport is essential for the shipment and deployment of oversize and overweight equipment, for the land deployment of all equipment transported farther than 400 miles and when many items are to be shipped as rail transport is often cheaper than highway transport. Rail transport of tactical vehicles reduces wear and tear, maintenance, and the time the vehicles must operate during deployment. It minimizes en-route support and places them in the front lines in top operational condition. When railcar-mounted equipment exceeds the maximum limits and restrictions of the clearance diagrams or envelopes, it may be possible in limited cases to transport by rail, but the number of capable rail routes may be severely limited and special train operations might be required.

 Additional Resources

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Modeling and Simulation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

expand Resource Type : Frequently Asked Questions ‎(1)
expand Resource Type : Modeling and Simulation for Transportability ‎(1)
expand Resource Type : Modes and Criteria ‎(6)

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