The modified 2.9 tonne capacity UNIC URW-376 mini cranes were painted green and have been specially adapted so they are suitable for working behind enemy lines in stealth mode, Unic said. For work in potentially hazardous lifting locations, the crane’s audio features can be turned off and lights can be dimmed so the operation can be carried out without being detected.
The machine’s traffic light safe load indicator lamps have also been replaced with a sturdier LED light strip.
The MOD chose the Unic models because they are portable and quick to set up, the company said. In addition, their multi-positionable outriggers mean that they can work on uneven terrain and can operate safely in environments ranging from arctic to desert conditions.
As tested at the RAF Brize Norton airbase, these lightweight compact cranes can be transported either inside aircraft thanks to their minimal dimensions, or slung underneath helicopters using chains or cargo nets. A Unic URW-547 mini crane was carried in a cargo net in this way by a Chinook helicopter to a remote lifting location where it helped install a stone monument in honour of Bomber Command in World War Two.
Author; Sarah Ann McCay