Textron GSE recently delivered more than a dozen of its TUG Alpha 4 pushback tractors to launch customer UPS. The vehicle is now in series production and Textron GSE reports brisk sales.
The pushback tractor has a maximum gross vehicle weight of 120,000 lb (54,431 kg) and a maximum drawbar pull rating of 72,000 lb (32,640 kg), which allows it to handle aircraft as large as the B-747 and A340. It has a 125.75 inch (319.40 cm) wheelbase, an overall width of 114 inches (290 cm), and a top speed of 15 mph (24 km/h).
Textron GSE offers the TUG Alpha 4 with either the Deutz TCO 7.8-litre or the Cummins QSB 6.7-litre engines, both of which are six-cylinder turbo-charged diesel powerplants. The Deutz engine has an emissions rating of EPA Tier 4F/EU Stage IV. The Cummins powerplant is rated at EPA Tier 4F/EU Stage V.
A prototype Alpha 4 was displayed with a Cummins engine in October 2018 at the GSE Expo in Las Vegas. The units acquired by UPS came with the Cummins engine package. Textron GSE has yet to sell any Deutz-powered Alpha 4s.
The cab in the Alpha 4 features a centre-mounted operator seat with sight-lines to the hitch, easing operator viewing when attaching to the aircraft. A lifting cab with a swivel seat provides visibility while the vehicle is in reverse. There are two additional seats for wing-walkers. Most routine service points can be reached from the ground for safe maintenance.
TUG Alpha 4 is the first in a new series of pushback vehicles from Kennesaw, Georgia-based Textron GSE, to replace its legacy GT- and DC-series pushbacks. The TUG ALPHA product line will allow ground-handlers to work with a wide range of aircraft, from regional jets to large commercial airliners.
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