TF5 MilSpec

TOWFLEXX TF5 MILSPEC

Developed with the military

The Origin in the Military

The TowFLEXX TF5 MilSpec has its origins in the military. Initially, it all started with an inquiry from the Swiss Air Force (Armasuisse) asking whether we had a solution for fighter jets, specifically for the F18. Even though such a solution did not exist at that time, the development of a new, larger tug started immediately. The result of years of development is the TowFLEXX TF5, an aircraft tug suitable not only for commercial aircraft up to 60 tons, but also for fighter jets such as F15, F16, F18, F22, F35, A10 and many more. On that basis, further refinement of a special military configuration (MilSpec) followed in 2020 in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and other militaries.

Why the Airforce embraces MilSpec?

The term MilSpec already indicates that this is a “Military Specification”, thus a configuration especially for the military. Hence, this particular version of the TF5 has been optimized particularly for daily use on military bases. Where these optimizations originate from? Over the past few years, many TF5s have found their way into military bases around the world, keeping us in close contact with stationed personnel. Consequently, we have heard the voices of those who work with our units every day. Together, ideas and enhancements were developed to make TowFLEXX tugs even easier and safer to use.

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TowFLEXX TF5 Military Specification
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The Center Strip marks the center of the unit, making it easy to pinpoint the exact location for the user when loading an aircraft.

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The front storage compartment provides space for accessories (such as the radio remote control), which are stored in a robust tactical case. Additionally, this is the access for the integrated battery charger and interfaces for programming.

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Two heavy duty castors allow 360° rotation on the spot.

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LED headlights at the front and in the operating area provide the right illumination in poor lighting conditions, but can be deactivated via the radio remote control so that night vision devices are not disturbed.

LED Headlights

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LED position lights indicate where the TF5 is moving. In order not to interfere with night vision equipment, the white status LED has been replaced by a green one.

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eCube, the central control unit where all control elements and computers come together. In the event of a malfunction or in the course of a modernization, it can be replaced with a new eCube within a few minutes, avoiding costly downtimes.

TF5 eCube

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The orange strobe light increases visibility, which is essential in loud environments.

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Extended grip for safe transport of additional equipment (for example chocks)

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Special and more durable coating in military gray.

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Solid rubber tires for maximum safety and traction even in rain and snow. For heavy snow, surface protecting snow socks can be pulled over the tires for even better traction.

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Emergency stops on both sides (and on the radio remote control) stop the TF5 immediately in emergency situations.

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The 360° turntable allows the nose wheel to always be aligned in the direction of travel, preventing expensive damage caused by exceeding the maximum deflection angle. Aircraft can be picked up from the side (90° angle; standard configuration), or from the front. The turntable can be operated electronically via the radio remote control. Turntable

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Reflective nosewheel strap for optimized visibility even in low-light conditions.

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Towing hitches on both sides allow additional GSE (Ground Support Equipment) to be towed. Each hitch has a capacity of up to 3 tons / 6,600 lbs.

TESTIMONIALS

The TF-5 has not only meet the needs to WR-ALC Robins Depot but has made work less laborious. With the TF-5.4 it has reduced time spent waiting for a conventional tug and towbar to move the aircraft into various stands to be worked on.

The TF-5 has provided us with a low cost alternative to the MB-4 tow tractor here at Aviano AB. The small footprint of the TF-5 has given us enhanced options when moving to offsite locations. A single pallet can be utilized to transport via ground or air. At home station we have observed increased towing safety due to the improved visibility, ease of use, precise controls, and quite operation of the TF-5. Additionally, we have seen improved man power utilization as towing with the TF-5 requires one less maintenance member per tow operation when compared to the MB-4 tractor. All around the TF-5 has proven to be a beneficial addition for our F-16 units as we continue to cultivate a lethal, agile force.

With TowFlexx units we’ve taken monumental steps toward a green environmental initiative, all but eliminated risk of injury to personnel, reduced possible aircraft mishaps, reduced tow team personnel, reduced operating costs & increased operational productivity. It’s simple, Towflexx works when you need it, in any environment!

Airmen from the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are using a remote-controlled system to mount an F-16. Each TowFLEXX saves approximately 2,790 man hours annually!

[Pictures with TowFLEXX MilSpec in operation]

TowFLEXX on NATO-Mission

The U.S. Air Force even took their TowFLEXX TF5 MilSpec units on an official NATO mission to Bulgaria. At Graf Ignatievo Air Base, they didn’t want to miss out on their reliable equipment and simply took it with them. A practical feature is that the TF5 MilSpec can be easily parked on a transport pallet and transported with other equipment in aircraft carrier such as the C-130. Unlike conventional towing vehicles, this in turn means that TowFLEXX units can be part of the basic equipment on outbound missions, eliminating the need to rely on other towing solutions in the field.

VIDEOS

Images speak louder than words

Meanwhile, our aircraft tugs – especially the TF5 – are used by military forces all over the world. Leading this field is the U.S. Air Force (USAF), which has deployed TowFLEXX equipment around the planet and continues to expand its fleet. Accordingly, we are always trying to create more publicly usable photo and video footage, but due to the local security regulations of each base, this is often associated with significant obstacles, which is why we can not show all mentioned aircraft in operation.

Current military aircraft in operation with the TF5:

  • McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
  • General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
  • Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
  • Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
  • Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

Osan Airbase (USAF) – South Korea

Aircraft on base operated with the TF5:

  • F16
  • A10

Aviano Airbase (USAF) – Italy

Aircraft on base operated with the TF5:

  • F16

SPECIFICATION & FEATURES OF THE TF5 MILSPEC

Important key data:

Towing capacity: 60.000kg / 132.000lbs MTOW

Lifting capacity: 5.000kg / 11.000lbs

Dimensions (mm): 1900 x 2600 x 500

Dimentions (Inch): 74,8″ x 102,36″ x 19,7″

Weight: 1.900kg / 4190lbs

Battery Power: 48VDC

Battery Life: approx. 8km / 5mi. (1,6km / 1mi. under full capacity)

Standard Configuration

  • unique 360° turntable
  • 10.000W gear motors
  • intelligent CAN-bus controls
  • advanced wireless remote control
  • intelligent built-in battery charger
  • LED headlights (front & rear)
  • adjustable nosewheel mount
  • reflective nosewheel strap

  • built-in pintle hook adapters
  • anti-slip material on the unit
  • Chainguards on both sides
  • amber strobe light beacon
  • tactical equipment case
  • center strip
  • free product training

eCube – the central control unit

The TF5 MilSpec is designed to prevent costly downtime. In the process, a central control unit was developed in which all electronic components and computers come together. In other words, this “eCube” not only protects the components inside, but can also be exchanged and replaced with a new cube within minutes in the event of a malfunction.

For example, this technology also enables modernization of existing equipment! This means that new revisions usually feature technical innovations that were not yet installed in previous models (for example, the line assistant or the NPS system). Simply summarized, by installing a new eCube, an existing unit can be revamped to incorporate new features and expand its capabilities.

In addition, the eCube contains the battery charger for the tug, the battery charger for a spare remote control battery, a data logger that can help with troubleshooting, a display that shows the operating hours and error codes, the central key switch to start up the unit and other interfaces for programming, etc.

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Remote Control of the TF5
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Joystick for forward and backward movement

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Joystick for the change of direction

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Information display

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Load-Limiter

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Speed mode

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Control inversion

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Line Assistant

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Emergency Stop

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Light & Horn Toggle

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Lifting platform up & down

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optional special features

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Turntable mode

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Main switch

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Deadman function toggle

Remote Control of the TF5

The TowFLEXX TF5 MilSpec is operated via a multifunction remote control. In the default configuration, it connects via radio, but if the supplied backup cable is connected between the remote control and the tug, any radio transmissions are disabled, which can be quite important for some locations.

Frequency Overlap & Interference

The radio remote controls used operate on a safety broadcast. Due to the LBT frequency search (Listen before Talk), interference with other devices is almost impossible. Before signals are translated into control commands, it is checked whether the frequency channel is being used. If this is the case, the radio remote control automatically switches to a free channel. This process is handled in miliseconds and is not noticeable to the user.

Technical Details

  • Frequency band: 915,000 – 916,650 Mhz
  • Channels: 67
  • HF-Power: << or = 10 mW
  • Response time: 15 ms
  • Operating Temperature: -20 °C to +70 °C
  • Protection Class: IP65
  • Weight: ca. 1.000g
  • Display: 2,4″ LCD

CONTACT

Ulrich Uli Nielen Sales

Ulrich (Uli) Nielen

Based in Saint Augustine, Florida, Uli has been part of the TowFLEXX team for several years. Since 2020, he has specialized in military and government sales (Airforce, Coast Guard, Navy, Police Department, etc.) and is the primary contact for the entire United States.

contact for:

military USA

government USA

South America

contact info:

c/o Atlantic Aviation

UST – North Florida Regional Airport

4900 US Highway 1 North

Saint Augustin, FL 32086

USA

+1 (904) 770 6183

u.nielen (at) towflexx.com

Phillip Humphreys

Phillip (Phill) Humphreys

With many years of sales experience in a senior role, Phill joined the TowFLEXX team in 2019. Since then, he has been in charge of markets worldwide.

contact for:

military

Europe

Asia

Africa

contact info:

Woestendoellen 95-96

49429 Visbek

Germany

+49 152 0186 89 60

ph (at) towflexx.com