It Could Have Been: The XC-120 Packplane!

You know when I recently read about this thing I was taken back by how ahead of its time the concept really was. A modular, swap and play type of cargo aircraft makes so much sense for a myriad of reasons. Being able to plug and play different modules that are outsized and customized under certain parameters for the aircraft is really phenomenal because you could actually deliver a hospital ready to go, or a command and control center, or a UAV control pod, or even turn the aircraft into a bomber with a simple module swap. You could literally build a small town in a matter of days for rapid deployment situations! Further, the idea is scalable, something about the size of the XC-120 could deliver modules right to the front lines, while something bigger could literally deliver large building sized components, all in a modular format. Imagine how massive these pods could be utilizing modern jet and aerodynamic technology? We are not talking about roll-on, roll-off components here but full on structures ready for business! Further, a modern version of this aircraft could deliver troops and their barracks one day and support them overhead as a JDAM arsenal ship or ISR platform the next day! We see this mindset in high-end, modern multirole concepts such as the Littoral Combat Ship, whose whole existence is based around plug and play modules tailored to different mission configurations.

Most of this 50’s era stuff is fun to look at and kinda whimsical because it was so naive, although the XC-120 Packplane does not fall fully into this category in my opinion. Like its loosely related little cousin, the Sikorsky Skycrane, who’s full potential was also never fully recognized, I think there may be a business, or strategic case for this type of concept today more than ever…

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3 Responses to It Could Have Been: The XC-120 Packplane!

  1. Alex Jossi says:

    Ain’t that a trip. How cool this could have been.

  2. Pingback: The XC-120 Packplane: One of the USAF’s Best Failed Ideas | Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. | Military consultants | Military consulting | Defense consultants | Defense consulting

  3. Sklutch says:

    What actually killed it? Concept seems solid enough…

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