Mobile Mission Test Units


The Lockheed Martin Mobile Mission Test Units (MMTU)- Rugged, Reconfigurable, and Secure

Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (ADP) “Skunk Works” Special Programs reached out to the team here at Southern Fabrication Specialties needing a rugged, reconfigurable and secure testing facility that can be deployed anywhere on the globe. Using our specialty trailers as the framework, our team manufactured the mobile mission test units (MMTU) shown below, which are as secure as a class-6 safe, are world-wide deployable via a standard semi-tractor and C-5, and they are equipped with enough environmental controls to operate in almost any climate.

Lockheed Martin Mobile Mission Test Units

These 33’6” x 11’ x 13’6” (l x w x h) trailers are rugged due to the following features:

  • The walls, flooring and ceiling are fully encased in A572 steel plate
  • These units have a structural load bearing A572 skeleton of S- beams and square tubes
  • The finite element analysis confirmed <0.2” deflection under 200K lbs payload (estimated 10 times over normal operating capacity)
  • Units are transportable over US roadways fully compliant with DOT standards for 11’ wide semi-trailers

Key features allowing these trailers to be reconfigurable include:

  • Units are designed and welded to completely block out any radio frequency (RF) from entering or leaving unless sent by the team inside the unit
  • Every penetration leading into the secured payload, including power supply leads, have RF filters/gaskets
  • These units can hook up to a generator and is self-sufficient with dual A/C systems, air over hydraulic leveling and 480 power and distribution panels
  • Logistic A-track is installed on both walls for securing any load that is placed inside
  • Units are fully lighted with ceiling mounted, dimmable LED panels
  • The trailer is designed to be used in multiple configurations
    • For instance, the floor panels are removable for wire routing
    • The raised floor system also consists of reconfigurable aluminum HVAC grates to distribute the air where it is needed

These MMTU units are secure, based on the following safety features:

  • To prevent security breaches, the end user’s intrusion / security system can be integrated into the design, with a motion detector and mag-switch on the only door in/out of the compartment
    • The outer door has a deadbolt and keyed handle
    • The inner door is a RCM Model 154 Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) shield room door (proudly built in the USA), which includes a CDX10 spin dial for after work hour security as well.

MMTU Security Door

This project involved highly technical plans, coordination with the Lockheed team, multiple external vendors, numerous fabricators and contractors, security checks, and extensive QA/QC. Two prototype units were built and field-tested.  In total, our team completed 4 MMTUs, that were all ahead of schedule and on budget. In the second half of 2020, we had the opportunity to reconfigure the units to maximize function and performance.

We added the following upgraded features:

  • Electrical Bay Incoming Power Access
    • Enlarged initial power entry access hole to facilitate the size of the power connector & incorporated a closeable, while-in-use, multi-point hinged access door to accommodate multiple incoming sources.
  • Exterior Electrical & Air Compressor Additions
    • Added multiple variations of 1Ø/3Ø & 60Hz/400Hz receptacles for exterior use. Added door activated LED lighting to all exterior access doors.
    • Added an on-board air compressor
  • Data Entry I/O Cabinet
    • Added a custom fabricated S/S Data Entry I/O Cabinet to house fiber optic data connectors. This will serve as exterior connection ports prior to entering the RFI secured interior.
  • Ramp Stow
    • Added a custom fabricated S/S ramp storage to house the custom ramp used to facilitate transporting material in/out of the MMTU from truck transportation.
  • Front Mudflap
    • Added a full width mudflap at forward-most position of trailer
  • Incoming Power Connectors
    • Changed out existing soldered power connectors to a more maintainable terminal lug style.
  • HVAC Plenum II
    • Demoed existing HVAC design due to high static and implemented a custom radiused S/S plenum with serviceable access ports, elevated mounting structure to lessen air flow impedance, increased air handler/evaporator slab size to facilitate cold air exchange across the coils & added a custom S/S air filter housing with a while-in-use evaporator coil inspection window.
  • Custom Labeling
    • All electrical devices & load centers and user operational instructions were changed from a general ‘label-maker’ style label to Polycarbonate Graphic Overlays with 5mil textured laminate coverings.





Jerry Palon, Lockheed Martin Chief Engineer and Senior Program Manager, and Scott Carril, Program / Business Manager, shared the following in a letter of special commendation to our team after the completion of the first two (2) units:

Our decision to select Southern Frac [Southern Fabrication Specialties] as the USAF procurement source of two MMTU trailers was in no small part due to the experience, professionalism and dedication of these individuals [Nathan Bennett, Engineering, Daniel Leonard, Engineering, Lazarus (Bubba) Taylor, Shop Foreman]. Additionally, the USAF customer has requested two additional MMTU trailers be procured based on the excellent work of these individuals and the quality of the product.

. . .To our delight, your engineering staff embraced the required tight tolerance build to print effort normally found only in large military aircraft manufacturing. They were very thorough in their assessment of the task at both the engineering design level and the fabrication / manufacturing level. The Southern Frac [Southern Fabrication Specialties] proposal was not the lowest bid received but it was the highest confidence offer. The two units were delivered on time and on budget. Lockheed is sufficiently please with this procurement process that we have placed another order for two additional units. . .

. . .Employees like these are not easily replaced and are highly sought after in the market. It’s not often we find fabricators that absolutely know what they are doing and strictly do what they know. I (Jerry Palon) as the Lockheed chief engineer for this project almost never have the pleasure of working with people that perform professionally to the extent where the best surprise is no surprise. . .

This product is unique in the defense industry and given some measure of product advertising in the defense periodicals we believe there exists a larger potential market in the DoD community.


The Southern Fabrication Specialities team agrees with Mr. Palon’s and Mr. Carril’s assessments that these types of products will be invaluable for the DoD and defense contractors for the foreseeable future. Units of the same design, without modification, can generally be delivered within 4-6 months after the contract is signed.

To learn more about this MMTU project or to inquire about our other options for specialty trailers, please contact us today.